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NYCLU statement in support of New York City Council Member David Yassky’s bill to strengthen enforcement of the Freedom of Infor

The New York Civil Liberties Union strongly supports measures that make the workings of government more transparent. This is the intent of legislation introduced by Council Members David Yassky, Eric Gioia, and Gale Brewer. The NYCLU endorses the proposed law.

The concept of a government “of, by and for the people” means, at the very least, that the people must have access to information about how the government operates.

The Freedom of Information laws (federal, state, and local) are intended to give people access to that information.

And yet in the last year we have seen the New York State Senate attempt to pass a bill that would bar any Freedom of Information Law request related to a broad range of so-called security matters.

The federal government has enacted legislation that prevents Freedom of Information Act requests related to “critical infrastructure.”

And now we learn, from a report by the City Council’s Investigation Division, that certain city agencies are routinely ignoring requests for information brought under the state’s Freedom of Information Law.

Council Member Yassky’s proposed law tells New York City employees that they have an important legal obligation to respond to FOIL requests. And if they do not, the penalty has become a lot stiffer.

The NYCLU urges the City Council and the Mayor to make the bill into law.

As bold as the spirit of New York, we are the NYCLU.
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Civil Liberties Union