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Summary of Proposed Rules - Access to Records

The rulemaking package in support of these amendments was filed with the Secretary of State on November 18, 2005. The amendments will become effective on December 7, 2005, the date they will be published in the State Register.

The proposed rule will amend, repeal, and replace sections of Part 616, as it currently appears in 6 NYCRR. These amendments will update information such as Department addresses and internet access. In addition, the amendments will clarify and conform section 616.7 to existing law. Section 616.7 governs access to records that are identified as containing trade secrets, confidential commercial information, or critical infrastructure information. In 2003, the Legislature amended Public Officers Law (POL) section 89 (5)(1-a) to address handling of agency records containing critical infrastructure. To be consistent with this statutory amendment, the Department has proposed this rule change.

Persons submitting records to the Department may identify records or portions of records as containing critical infrastructure information pursuant to POL section 89(5)(1- a). The statute sets forth procedures for handling these records so identified. POL sections 89(5)(1-a) – (3).

The proposed rule will bring the regulatory definition of trade secrets into conformity with POL section 87(2)(d).

The amendments also make the Department’s Access to Records regulations current with Laws of New York 2005 with respect to agency obligations to respond to freedom of information law (FOIL) requests.

The amendments provide that the Department in accordance with POL section 87(3)(c) law will update its subject matter lists “periodically, but not less than twice per year.”

The amendments conform the regulations to section 94 of the Personal Privacy Protection Act of the POL with respect to duties of the Department’s privacy compliance officer and staff with respect to handling of personal information.

The proposed rule also clarifies, consistent with law, that requests for access to records must be in writing and that in situations in which the description of the records sought is so unclear that the Department cannot retrieve the information without resorting to extraordinary means that the Department staff shall so notify the requester pursuant to POL section 89(3).

The proposed rule amendment also makes gender neutral certain language concerning appeals.

The Department is authorized by Environmental Conservation Law section 3-0301(a), General Functions, Powers, Duties and Jurisdiction and POL sections 87 and 89, Freedom of Information Law and POL sections 92, 94, 95 and 96, the Personal Privacy Protection Law to make these regulatory amendments. These laws govern state agency responsibilities with respect to providing the public with access to agency records.

These amendments will ensure that the Department’s regulations governing access to records are in accord with New York State law. The benefits to these amendments are that they will eliminate confusion engendered by any current disparities between the law and the Department’s regulations and will clarify the obligations of the Department and its protocols with respect to FOIL requests.

The complete text of the express terms may be found at www.dec.state.ny.us/website/regs/part616.html. For more information: contact Helene G. Goldberger – (518) 402-9003 or e-mail: hggoldbe@gw.dec.state.ny.us

New York State Department of State 41 State Street, 9th floor Albany NY, 12231
Environmental Protection Fund
New York State Quality Communities Program 2005-2006

Eligible applicants: Counties, Towns, Cities, Villages, Local Public Authorities, Public Benefit Corporations, Indian Tribes/Nations, and Not-for-Profit Corporations.

Funds are available for planning projects which revitalize downtowns, develop strong economies and protect environmental resources. Eligible applicants may apply for grants by submitting proposals that incorporate one or more of the following programs: Intermunicipal Growth, Community Growth, Community Open Space, Mountain Communities and Community Center.

Request for Applications and forms along with other pertinent information are available for downloading from the: Quality Communities Clearinghouse Web site: www.qualitycommunities.org,. For other information please call, 518-473-3355 or email QC@dos.state.ny.us.

Application Deadline has been extended to DECEMBER 5, 2005