FOIA Advisor

Q&A: Come on, come through New York

Q&A (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q. Do the federal FOIA laws apply to local municipalities in the state of New York? Are there penalties when they do not respond with complete information?

A. No, the federal statute is irrelevant to records maintained by state or local agencies. Agencies in New York must comply with Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, also known as the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). An agency is not subject to “penalties” for failing to comply with FOIL. If a requester substantially prevails in a lawsuit, however, the requester would be entitled to attorney’s fees and other litigation costs if the court finds that the agency had “no reasonable basis” for denying access.