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The Editorial Board: Hochul bringing sunshine to New York government

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21.09.2021

Gov. Kathy Hochul's directive to state agencies will require new transparency in government.

In New York, open government laws have often been perverted into ways to keep secrets. Gov. Kathy Hochul took office in August vowing to make transparency a hallmark of her administration. This week she started turning words into action.

Hochul’s administration on Monday distributed a memo directing all state agency heads to submit plans for increasing the transparency of their work. Agency chiefs were given until Oct. 20 to detail their plans, reported News Albany Bureau Chief Tom Precious.

Among the memo’s suggestions:

• Improve response time under the Freedom of Information Law.

• Reduce or eliminate fees charged for public records.

• Post documents related to public meetings when agendas are posted.

• Participate in Project Sunlight, a 10-year-old public database that was supposed to report activities involving executive branch officials and outsiders. The database mostly falls short.

The Freedom of Information Law is an example of how state and local agencies in New York have turned a law meant to open government into one that frustrates citizen access to information.

In many places across the country, access to police reports is routine. Walk into the police department and look through a stack of reports. Or sit........

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