Government Records Request
OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS ACT (OPRA)
N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.
The Open Public Records Act (OPRA) is a State statute that replaces the old “Right to Know Law” which governs the public’s access to government records in New Jersey. OPRA was enacted to give the public greater access to records maintained by public agencies in New Jersey by balancing the public’s interest in government records, respect for personal privacy, and the efficient process of government.
- Government records shall be readily accessible for inspection, copying or examination by its citizens, with certain exceptions, for the protection of the public interest.
- Any limitations on the right of access to government records must be interpreted in favor of the public’s right of access.
- A public agency has a responsibility and an obligation to protect a citizen’s personal information that is in the possession of a public agency when disclosure of that information would violate the citizen’s reasonable expectation of privacy.
COUNTY & STATE GOVERNMENT RECORDS:
If you are seeking Salem County or State of New Jersey government records, the request must be made directly to the county or state.
The Government Records Council’s website www.state.nj.us/grc contains useful information on the law, including summaries of exceptions to disclosure, copies of gubernatorial Executive Orders, lists of statutes containing exceptions, and a search engine of all prior GRC decisions. The public is urged to check the website when questions arise and should also feel free to submit their questions to the Council via the toll-free information line (1-866-850-0511), e-mail Government.Records@dca.nj.gov, or regular mail (P.O. Box 819, Trenton, NJ 08625-0819).
Here is a Citizen’s Guide to the Open Public Records Act that has been prepared by the Government Records Council to help the public understand the requirements of the State of NJ. This guide is intended to familiarize those who want access to public records of their rights and of the responsibilities of the public agencies that hold those records, but is NOT to serve as a legal reference. Citizen’s Guide to OPRA (Third Edition – Updated May 2020)