Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christie: Proposed OPRA exemption rules have force of law

In 2008, the Government Records Council (GRC) ruled that OPRA exemptions proposed by state agencies as far back as 2002--but never enacted--indefinitely constituted a lawful basis for denying OPRA requests. On June 4, 2010, the Appellate Division reversed the GRC's decision and set a November 5, 2010 deadline for agencies to enact rules exempting certain classes of records from public disclosure under OPRA. My The June 5, 2010 blog posting regarding the ruling is on-line here.

Since the Appellate Division's ruling, five state departments--Law and Public Safety, Corrections, Military and Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection, and Community Affairs--have proposed new rules exempting certain records from OPRA. In early November, Governor Chris Christie issued Executive Order 2010-47 which gave the force of law to the exemptions set forth in the proposed regulations. Christie determined that the proposed rules "cannot be finalized prior to the deadline of November 5, 2010 established by the court [and that] it is in the public interest that these exemptions do not lose their force and effect during the pendency of the rulemaking process."

Executive Order 2010-47, along with the five agencies' proposed rules, is on-line here.

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