Privacy Study Commission Minutes
September 24, 2004
Chairman Litwin called the meeting to order at 10:24 a.m.
moved to approve the minutes of the July 9, 2004 meeting and September
10, 2004 meeting with a second by Judge Karcher-Reavey. The motion was
adopted on a call of ayes and nays.
Subcommittee – NJ Data Practices Survey
The motion carried 10-0.
Chairman Litwin and Ms. Barber congratulate Ms. Sutcliffe.
Chairman Litwin asked Judge Karcher-Reavey about the public hearings.
Judge Karcher-Reavey acknowledged that a public hearing is scheduled and commented on public attendance at the hearing.
Ms. Barber commented on Commission members getting members of the public to attend the public hearings by making telephone calls.
Judge Karcher-Reavey agreed that telephone calls might be helpful in recruiting members of the public to attend meetings.
Chairman Litwin commented that DCA Communications Office might assist in advertising the December hearings to the public in November.
Ms. Fulton noted that the some members of the public could claim to not have been aware of the public hearings and she is concerned that the Commission does not consider information provided by the public.
Litwin commented that the preamble to the final report could be considered
if the Commission feels that it is necessary.
Chairman Litwin asked for other subcommittee chair comments.
Chairman Litwin asked for staff update.
Ms. Jacobucci commented on the Commission’s ability to include public comment with the final report.
Ms. Fulton brought the NJ League of Municipalities letter regarding social workers to the Commission’s attention.
Chairman Litwin acknowledged that social workers were part of the list.
Ms. Barber commented that the League of Municipalities letter has not been included regarding home addresses; however, there is a long list of persons included in the final report. Ms. Barber further commented that public testimony could be included in the final report.
Ms. Fulton stated that she thought that the list of persons had to be submitted prior to public comment.
Ms. Barber commented that the Commission could submit more categories.
Chairman Litwin stated that the Legislature or Governor could amend the provisions of the Open Public Records Act based upon the Commissions final report.
Chairman Litwin noted that the next meeting would be a longer meeting with more reports to discuss.
Ms. Sutcliffe noted that she would not attend the December 2, 2004 meeting.
Chairman Litwin allowed David Rosenberg from NJEA to publicly comment before the Commission.
Mr. Rosenberg asked the Commission if the Legislature takes up the writing of regulations.
Chairman Litwin referred the question to Mr. Hutchison.
stated that the Executive Branch and Legislature could draft administrative
Mr. DeAngelis noted that the Commission does not have the authority to draft regulations, however, the Governor could issue an Executive Order directing a Department to draft regulations.
Mr. Rosenberg further asked if the Commission is looking to recommend that legislation be proposed or regulations be proposed.
Ms. Jacobucci noted that the Legislature and Executive Branch could act in a few ways based upon the Commission’s recommendations. Ms. Jacobucci stated that the recommendations could become and Executive Order, legislation to change or amend OPRA or the Legislature could task a Department to write regulations. Ms. Jacobucci noted that once the Commission has submitted its final report to the Governor, the Governor or Legislature would determine the path that the recommendations will take.
Mr. Rosenberg, as a follow-up question, asks if a general recommendation would be to make a recommendation to proceed in amending the current law or make regulations or both.
Ms. Jacobucci noted that the Commission would make recommendations such as excluding police officers addresses and telephone numbers; however, it is not the Commission’s position to recommend how this comes about. Ms. Jacobucci further stated that it is the authority of the Governor and Legislature to determine if a regulation, legislation or Executive Order is appropriate.
Mr. Cafferty states that it is important to not lose context with how the recommendation arose and that the Commission was formed as a directive of the Governor to determine the accessibility of certain information.
Ms. Barber asked Mr. Rosenberg if he feels that his question was answered. Ms. Barber noted that the Subcommittee Report on Home Addresses and Telephone Numbers offered many recommendations and that the Legislature should look at different ways of categorizing government records. Ms. Barber noted that a way to do this is to identify the person involved in the record and the groups of people who are exempt from having there home addresses disclosed. Ms. Barber also noted that the Legislature could look at the characteristics of the record and weigh the competing interests in privacy versus disclosure and categorize the records in this way. Ms. Barber stated that the Subcommittee offered many options on how to implement the recommendations.
Chairman Litwin noted that the public comment portion would be included in the final report.
Ms. Fulton asked if there was anything in an Executive Order that may be in conflict with the current OPRA law.
Mr. Cafferty noted that it would not be in conflict because the current law empowers the Governor and the Executive Branch to create further exemptions than those contained in the legislation either by regulation or Executive Order. Mr. Cafferty stated that section one of OPRA empowers those exemptions, however, an Executive Order cannot be created to exempt everything.
Chairman Litwin asked for any additional comments. Hearing no additional comments, Chairman Litwin asked for a motion to adjourn.
Ms. Fulton moved to adjourn the meeting with a second by Mr. Cevasco.