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New York’s public records law says government is the people’s business and that citizens have a right to review the process by which decisions are made. This law also states that any record kept by a state agency, including an office, board, bureau, division, council or other entity and any public corporation the majority of whose members are appointed by the governor, is available for public inspection. The law defines “agency” as a department, board, bureau or other division of the executive branch of the state government, but does not include the judiciary.

A committee report is a written document prepared by the staff of a legislative committee that sets forth in detail how a bill will affect the public, including any changes in existing laws and the text of bills being repealed or added. The law requires committees to provide a complete and accurate description of the legislation being considered. The reports are important to legislators and the public, but they can be difficult to understand if you don’t know what they mean or haven’t read the actual bills being considered.

The law provides guidelines for deletion of identifying details from certain types of records to prevent unwarranted invasions of personal privacy. It also prohibits an agency from concealing or destroying any information available for public inspection and provides that anyone who willfully hides or destroys any record subject to this law may be guilty of a crime.