Friday, January 14, 2011

No Senate Companion for FOIL Bill

On Wednesday, Assemblyman George Latimer's bill (AB 68) on speeding up the FOIL process, will meet its first hurdle as it goes to the Assembly Governmental Operations Committee.
The bill, which is aimed at expediting the appeals process after a trial court has found in favor of a FOIL request action. Traditionally, this period has been responsible for delays as long as 9 months.
Latimer argued that this delay could create a restriction of rights to an individual or make moot the purpose of a FOIL request.
THe future of this proposition is not in doubt in the Assembly, where it was easily passed twice in the last two years. Even in the Senate last year, the companion version by former Sen. Craig Johnson breezed through committee.
The problem is that Johnson is gone, and no companion bill has yet to be proposed, and that Johnson's measure was basically unsuccessful last Spring. It never actually failed a floor vote, but I've got a feeling that's because it was never given a chance to fail.
Now advocates of reform, like Me and Myself, are worried that the Senate will never champion this cause, as Senate Republicans have never been the saviors of open information. To their credit, though, we have confirmed that Skelos and his white brethren have kept around the Overlord of Openness Andrew Hoppin, the Senate's CIO.
So now we play the waiting game.... The waiting game sucks, let's play hungry hungry hippos!

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