Accessing New York Public Records: What You Need to Know

The New York Freedom of Information Act (FOIL) allows agencies to deny requests for lists if they would be used for commercial or fund-raising purposes. However, once obtained, there are no restrictions on how public records can be used. The New York State Archives, part of the Office of Cultural Education, is responsible for preserving and ensuring access to records created by the state government that have been determined to have lasting value. Unless otherwise prescribed by law, the Public Officials Act (section 87) authorizes an agency to charge a fee of 25 cents per copy for copies of records up to 9 x 14 inches, or the actual cost of reproducing a record.

For more information on FOIL, visit the New York State Open Government Committee website. The full text of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Act can be found on the New York State Assembly website and on the Senate website. The mission of the New York State Archives is to preserve and ensure access to records created by the state government that have been determined to have lasting value. These rules and regulations are found in the Rules of the Commissioner of Education of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR), Title 8, section.

The applicable sections of the Education Commissioner's Regulations can be found on the New York State Archives website. The New York State Archives provides access to its records in accordance with state and federal laws, in as open and timely a manner as reasonably possible. The most requested restricted records in the State Archives are psychiatric patient records and correctional center inmate records. This policy and procedure statement is intended to inform researchers and the general public about laws and regulations related to access to State Archives records, about legal and other restrictions on access to some of those records, and about the procedures for requesting access to restricted records.

The law also authorizes the State Archives to acquire and make available the records of local government entities, as well as public benefit corporations. Mark Longtoe, Assistant Counselor, New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance 40 North Pearl, 16th Floor, Albany, NY 12243. This page includes links to public record document portals, as well as links to some frequently requested or specific agencies in New York City. Summary information on current and recent inmates at correctional centers in New York State is available online through the DOCCS website. This law gives the public access to all records of the executive branch of the state government, as well as to local government records, unless their release is harmful to a person or prevents a government agency from performing its functions.

The ease of access to public records also varies; some are available online, while others are only available on paper and require the submission of an application by mail to the specific government office where they were filed. It is important for individuals seeking access to public records in New York State to understand their rights under FOIL. Knowing what documents are available and how they can be accessed is essential for anyone looking for information from state agencies or local governments.

Rory Rabinovich
Rory Rabinovich

Hardcore beer fanatic. Avid zombie lover. Certified zombie aficionado. Infuriatingly humble social media scholar. Passionate pop culture buff.

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