While most states have clear guidelines over whether out of state requests can be rejected, others aren’t so clear - in New Jersey, the Open Public Records Act and governing entities often have contrasting views.
When a dolphin died in New Jersey’s South River last year, MuckRock’s Carly Sitrin - a Garden State native herself - wanted to know what killed it. So she filed a public record request to the state’s Department of Agriculture for the necropsy results. Just this last week, the DOA finally responded, and to make an already weird story even weirder, barred the release of the record on medical privacy grounds.
Harry Scheeler is a citizen vigilante requester, conducting his own audits of New Jersey’s FOI law, the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), and helping others in their records retrieval. Last week, MuckRock caught up with Mr. Scheeler to talk about about citizen requesting, the politicization of public records, and how you can help.
The battle for access to New Jersey’s Open Public Record Act (OPRA) logs carries on, even after last month’s Superior Court ruling.
As part of the media whirlwind surrounding “Bridgegate,” New Jersey state agencies began issuing unusual rejections of standard requests for their OPRA logs. Now the ACLU has taken up the cause of citizen requester, Harry Scheeler, to reestablish the right of the citizens to access these documents over the desire of the Christie administration to keep them private.