New York State public agencies subject to the Open Meetings Act must now post on their websites, or provide upon request, “at least 24 hours” before any public meeting, any material that will be discussed or considered at of these public meetings.
Under Chapter 481 of the 2021 Act, language allowing for the disclosure of documents for the first time “at” a public meeting has been removed. Although the statute still retains language that states that records should be provided “to the extent practicable,” Chapter 481 removes the phrase “as determined by the agency or department.” This removes a barrier to legal challenges to the discretion of public bodies to determine what is “workable”.
This provision is effective November 18, 2021 for state and local governments and their departments, agencies, authorities, and other public bodies. This includes, but is not limited to, agendas, legislation, resolutions, reports, demands, statements, drawings, maps and photos. Governor Hochul, who is committed to prioritizing state transparency, signed into law Chapter 481 on October 19, 2021.
Ballard Spahr advises government entities throughout New York State. If you would like to discuss the implications of Section 481 further, please contact one of our New York attorneys.