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  Wayne Adult Community Center

Feature article from the January, 2003 Newsletter


Your Right to New Jersey Government Records


OPRA, the Open Public Records Act, is a new state law enacted last year to give the public greater access to records maintained by government agencies in New Jersey. The public has the right under OPRA to examine or obtain copies of those public records that are not subject to exceptions from disclosure.

All levels of New Jersey government are required to produce records, when properly requested.

Certain records are considered exceptions, but OPRA expands the intent of the existing Right to Know law by re-defining what records are available to the public, by setting standards for accessing those records, and by establishing penalties for failing to disclose them.

Citizens who want to obtain public records should contact the “custodian of records” of the public agency that holds the records they want. At the municipal level, that person will be the municipal clerk; at other public agencies, that person will be an official designated by the particular agency or governmental unit.

Each agency has a records request form to be used under OPRA. The records request form includes the name, address, and phone number of the requester and space for a brief description of the record sought.  The written request provides a paper trail; in the event of a denial, this written record can be very important when making an appeal to the Government Records Council or to Superior Court.

There is a 7-page pamphlet intended to provide the public with an overview of the New Jersey Open Public Records Act.  The pamphlet is available for viewing at the WACC.

To get more information, you can contact the Government Records Council, at:

Government Records Council
PO Box 819
Trenton, NJ 08625-0819

Information is also available via the Web site:  http://www.state.nj.us/opra/


W. A.. Shapiro


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