NJ Citizen Action’s statement on bill S2930 advancing in Senate today

Newark, May 9, 2024: Here is the statement of New Jersey Citizen Action’s Executive Director, Dena Mottola Jabroska, in response to legislators advancing bill S2930 today:

“Legislators advanced bill S2930 today, despite massive opposition from hundreds of organizations, experts, advocates, and countless New Jersey voters. The legislative process was rushed, with little time for the public to review the amendments or give input. This decision goes against a growing grassroots movement seeking greater transparency and accountability in government and politics and would irreparably damage our state’s democracy.  

The latest amendments fail to address the bill's fatal flaws, which include the ability of public agencies to sue requestors, the high level of specificity needed for requests, and especially the changes to fee-shifting provisions. The changes to the last provisions would make it significantly more difficult for many nonprofits, members of the media, and the general public---entities and individuals who don’t have deep pockets-- to find lawyers who could afford to undertake OPRA (Open Public Records Act) cases when public records are unlawfully withheld. Meanwhile, commercial interests can pay special fees to have their requests expedited. 

We urge our state legislators to listen to New Jersey’s residents and vote to halt the bill. We also urge Governor Murphy to safeguard transparency and accountability in New Jersey by pledging to veto the bill should it pass through the Legislature.”