elcome to the Committee on Open Government, a unit housed in the Department of State that oversees and advises the government, public, and news media on Freedom of Information, Open Meetings, and Personal Privacy Protection Laws. The Committee offers guidance in response to phone inquiries, prepares written legal advisory opinions, and provides training to government and other interested groups. Recommendations to improve open government laws are offered in an annual report to Governor and the State Legislature.

About the Committee on Open Government

The Committee is responsible for overseeing and advising with regard to the Freedom of Information Law, the Open Meetings Law and the Personal Privacy Protection Law (Public Officers Law, Articles 6, 7 and 6-A respectively). Staff of the Committee gives advice by telephone, email, written advisory opinions, and training classes conducted throughout the state. Advice is offered to the government, the public and the news media.

The Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) pertains to the public's right to gain access to government records. See the FOIL Advisory Opinion Index. The Open Meetings Law (OML) concerns the public's right to attend meetings of public bodies. See the OML Advisory Opinion Index. Both statutes are based upon a presumption of access and, since their initial enactment, have undergone significant changes based largely upon recommendations made by the Committee.

A basic guide to the Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Laws, Your Right to Know, includes sample letters of request and appeal and is available on our Publications page.

The Personal Privacy Protection Law (PPPL), enacted in 1984, pertains to personal information collected and maintained by state agencies. State agencies are required to meet standards of fair information practices regarding the collection, maintenance, use and disclosure of personal information.

The Committee is required to submit a comprehensive annual report to the Governor and the Legislature describing the Committee's experience under each of the statutes and recommendations for improving them. See our latest Annual Report (pdf) .

The Committee and the laws it oversees have gained national and international recognition as models for other jurisdictions. Its work and experience have been shared with access professionals at international conferences, and it is represented through membership in the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws and participation on the Media Law Committee of the New York State Bar Association.