Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You Can Now Use E-Mail to Get Documents Covered Under the Freedom of Information Law in New York

The so-called sunshine laws, which in theory open up the workings of government agencies to the light of day (also known as public scrutiny and accountability), are violated all the time, particularly at the local level, often out of ignorance and laziness but sometimes because the people we elect are more comfortable if we don’t know what they’re doing.

But in New York State, one of those laws – the Freedom of Information Law, or FOIL – just got easier for the public to use. People can now request documents from government agencies via e-mail, and can receive their replies via e-mail.

Governments generate and keep a tremendous amount of basic, unfiltered information on environmental issues and problems in their communities, and the rule is that if the information exists either on paper or in an electronic file, it’s available to the public. There are some exceptions, but not many (and not as many as local governments would like you to think there are).

I haven’t heard if a similar e-mail provision to the Freedom of Information Law is in the works in Connecticut, but it should be. Details of New York’s e-mail regulations are here, and a news story is here.


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker