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The New York State Legislature in the wake of the Watergate Scandal of the early 1970's enacted New York's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) and the Open Meetings Law. The State Legislature declared that it is New York's public policy as follows:

"The legislature hereby finds that a free society is maintained when government is responsive and responsible to the public, and when the public is aware of governmental actions. The more open a government is with its citizenry, the greater the understanding and participation of the public in government." (Public Officers Law section 84)

"It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that the public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens of this state be fully aware of and able to observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy. The people must be able to remain informed if they are to retain control over those who are their public servants. It is the only climate under which the commonweal will prosper and enable the governmental process to operate for the benefit of those who created it." (Public Officers Law section 100)

New York State's Open Meetings Law and Freedom of Information Law protect your access. These laws are overseen by the Department of State's Committee on Open Government. You can access the Committee's main page by clicking here.

Information on New York's Freedom of Information Law with samples letters is available by clicking here.

An example of the pleadings and proceedings of an action to compel compliance with the Open Meetings Law is available by clicking here.