The New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) allows anyone to request records in New York. A statement of purpose is usually not required but several courts consider the requestor's motives prior to granting access to the records. Here is a template for requesting public records in New York in compliance with the New York FOIL.
Name of State Act:
Freedom of Information Law
Disclosures resulting in unwarranted invasion of privacy or business enterprises, names of sex crime victimes, and some law enforcement records and inter-agency materials
5 Business Days
We have curated some of the most commonly asked questions for you.
Who is subject to the Freedom of Information Law?
Every New York State or municipal department, board, bureau, division, commission, committee, public authority, public corporation, council, office or other governmental entity performing a governmental or proprietary function is subject to the Law. Each of those governmental entities is an "agency." The courts are outside its coverage but often must disclose records under other provisions of law. The State Legislature is covered by the Freedom of Information Law, but is treated differently from agencies generally. Private corporations or companies are not subject to the Freedom of Information Law.
What records are available?
All records are available unless an exception permits an agency to deny access. Most of the exceptions are based upon common sense and the potential for harm that would arise by means of disclosure. If disclosure of records would be damaging to an individual or preclude a government agency from carrying out its duties, it is likely that some aspects of the records may be withheld.
What happens if an agency fails to respond within five business days of receipt of my request?
A failure to comply with any of the time limitations imposed by law would constitute a denial of a request that may be appealed in accordance with §89(4)(a) of the Freedom of Information Law. That provision states that an appeal must be made within thirty days of the denial. The appeal should be made to the person designated by the agency to determine appeals or the chief executive or governing body of the agency.
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OpenRecord keeps track of important news so you don't have to.
July 21, 2016
The NJ Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case which may transform the availability of public informationRead News
August 9, 2016
The FOIA Improvement Act pushed agencies to improve their transparency but how can your government meet 21st century standards?Read News
July 6, 2016
In his last few months in office, President Obama goes back to one of his earliest promises - FOIA reform.Read News
June 20, 2016
A record number of FOIA lawsuits were filed in 2015, reflecting a recent trend of increasing numbers of FOIA lawsuits.Read News