Amd 102, Pub Off L (as proposed in S.1625-a & A.924-a)
Amends the definition of a "public body"; adds the requirement that entities created to perform a necessary function in the decision-making process, must require a quorum in order to conduct public business and consist of 2 or more members, in order to meet the definition of a "public body".
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A8703
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the public officers law, in relation to amending the
definition of a "public body"
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
The purpose of this bill is to make changes to Chapter 676 of the Laws
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
This bill makes changes to the definition of the term "public body" in
the Public Officers Law to include entities created by a public body
which require a quorum.
It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that the
public business be performed in an open and public manner; and the citi-
zens of this State be fully aware of and able to observe the perform-
ances of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and
decisions that go into the making of public policy; and the people must
be able to remain informed if they are to retain control over those who
are their public servants; and the Open Meetings Law requires every
meeting of a public body shall be open to the general public." This
directive, an excerpt from Executive Order first issued in 2007 and
reaffirmed by Governor Cuomo was issued in an effort to achieve openness
and transparency in access to the governmental decision-making process.
Nevertheless, there are a number of bodies created by executive order or
created to perform functions in the governmental decision-making proc-
ess, that are not subject to the Open Meetings Law. Due to this, these
bodies conduct business behind closed doors and have excluded interested
parties who have attempted to attend its sessions. In keeping with
recent legislative initiatives aimed at greater transparency, these
bodies should be open to public scrutiny. The work of our state's public
bodies has a profound effect on the functioning of government and it is
essential to our democratic process that members of the public are fully
aware of and have the opportunity to observe the deliberations and deci-
sions that go into the making of public policy. This legislation will
ensure that those bodies which play a key role in the decision making
process are covered by the Open Meetings Law, even if they do not have
the authority to make final and binding decisions.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
This act shall take effect on the same date and in the same manner as a
chapter of the laws of 2021 amending the public officers law relating to
amending the definition of a "public body", as proposed in legislative
bills numbers S. 1625-a and A. 924-a, takes effect.
STATE OF NEW YORK
January 10, 2022
Introduced by M. of A. PAULIN -- read once and referred to the Committee
on Governmental Operations
AN ACT to amend the public officers law, in relation to amending the
definition of a "public body"
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 102 of the public officers law,
2 as amended by a chapter of the laws of 2021 amending the public officers
3 law relating to amending the definition of a "public body", as proposed
4 in legislative bills numbers S. 1625-a and A. 924-a, is amended to read
5 as follows:
6 2. "Public body" means any entity, for which a quorum is required in
7 order to conduct public business and which consists of two or more
8 members, performing a governmental function for the state or for an
9 agency or department thereof, or for a public corporation as defined in
10 section sixty-six of the general construction law, or committee or
11 subcommittee or other similar body consisting of members of such public
12 body, or an entity created or appointed to perform a necessary function
13 in the decision-making process for which a quorum is required in order
14 to conduct public business and which consists of two or more members. A
15 necessary function in the decision-making process shall not include the
16 provision of recommendations or guidance which is purely advisory and
17 which does not require further action by the state or agency or depart-
18 ment thereof or public corporation as defined in section sixty-six of
19 the general construction law.
20 § 2. This act shall take effect on the same date and in the same
21 manner as a chapter of the laws of 2021 amending the public officers law
22 relating to amending the definition of a "public body", as proposed in
23 legislative bills numbers S. 1625-a and A. 924-a, takes effect.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.