Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation boosting transparency in state and local government.
The “Making Documents Available Prior to Open Meetings” law makes documents to be discussed at open meetings available to the public at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
The Open Meetings Law is intended to empower the public through the accessibility of meetings of public bodies. The law requires them to make available to the public relevant documents, such as any proposed rule, regulation, or resolution. However, the current law only requires documents to be made available prior to meetings “as determined by the agency or department.”
This standard has resulted in some government bodies failing to make materials available in advance of meetings, reducing transparency. This new legislation requires any proposed resolution, law, rule, regulation, policy, or amendment to be made available upon request and to be posted to the body’s website at least 24 hours in advance of their discussion at an open meeting, giving the public access to these important documents in advance.