The Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) reform bill signed by Governor Cuomo today is a huge win for government transparency in New York. As we’ve learned over the years through our work promoting taxpayers’ right to public information, appealing FOIL requests is time-consuming and expensive. And for some, that cost can be prohibitive. By requiring agencies to pay the legal fees of those who successfully challenge a FOIL denial, this new law will make the process more accessible. That means more transparency, openness and accountability—all things we could use more of in New York.
While the governor hasn’t always lived up to his promise to run “the most transparent administration in history,” it is worth noting that the administration has made strides in posting data online, including through the DataNY portal. Combined with Comptroller DiNapoli’s valuable OpenBookNY database, Attorney General Schneiderman’s NYOpenGovernment and NYC’s Open Data site, government transparency in New York has come a long way.