New Jersey Gov. Signs Bill Changing Access to Public Records Into Law

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into law on Wednesday which implements several amendments to the Open Public Records Act (OPRA).

The new law introduces changes to how the public can access government records, including new regulations for sharing and protecting these documents. It also requires records to be available online to make it easier for people to access them without having to make formal requests.

The legislation also includes improvements for the Government Records Council (GRC), aiming to update its website for better usability and to conduct meetings via video to increase accessibility.

One contentious aspect is the change to fee-shifting provisions. Currently, if the government fails to provide a requested record and the matter goes to court, the government is obligated to cover the requester’s “reasonable” legal costs. Under the new law, this will only happen if the government is found to have acted in bad faith, knowingly violated the law, or unreasonably denied a request.

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