Senate Does Not Want Legislature Subject To Transparency Law

The Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) gives citizens access to public records. In the text of the law, the legislature declared that “government is the public’s business and that the public, individually and collectively and represented by a free press, should have access to the records of government.”

This law’s biggest flaw? It does not apply to the state legislature.

That’s right, lawmakers in Albany are not subject to New York’s Freedom of Information Law.

In his Good Government and Ethics Reform Article VII Legislation, Governor Cuomo proposed amending the law to incorporate the state legislature into the provisions of FOIL.

What a great recommendation! Who could possibly be opposed to a more open, accessible government?

Answer: The New York State Senate.

In their budget proposal, the Senate denied the Executive proposal to subject the legislature to FOIL. Their justification? “The legislative process is inherently open to the public for input, scrutiny, and review.”

The Senate should reconsider its decision to exempt itself from disclosure when entering final budget negotiations. New Yorkers deserve insight into what lawmakers are doing on their behalf.