New Jersey Executive Orders on Access to Public Records

compiled by Paul Axel- Lute, Rutgers-Newark Law Library; last updated August 29, 2002

NOTES: This compilation includes only the operative clauses of the executive orders.  Citations to the original full texts are given with each order.  References within the executive orders to "Chapter 73, P.L.1963" are to the Open Public Records Act (Right to Know Law), as amended by Chapter 404, P.L. 2001, codified at N.J. Statutes 47:1A-1 to 47:1A-13.

For further information, see "OPRA Central" at www.nj.gov/opra/.

Contents

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9 OF GOV. HUGHES (Sept. 30, 1963)

N.J. Laws of 1963, p.1153,
http://www.state.nj.us/infobank/circular/eoh9.shtml
     1. All records, other than records set forth in section 3
hereof or records the subject of a regulation adopted and
promulgated pursuant to the provisions of section 2 hereof
or otherwise excluded under and pursuant to the provisions of
Chapter 73, P.L. 1963, which specifically are required by
statute to be made, maintained or kept by any State or local
governmental agency shall be public records, subject to
inspection and examination and available for copying, pursuant
to the provisions of Chapter 73, P.L.1963.  All other records
of such State and local governmental agencies shall not be
deemed to be public records, subject to inspection and
examination and available for copying, pursuant to the
provisions of Chapter 73, P.L.1963, but such records shall
remain subject to such other provisions of law and regulations
as shall be applicable thereto and this provision shall in no
way be interpreted as to preclude the appropriate State or
local officials from (i) using or making available such records
for any of the purposes for which such records made, maintained
or kept or (ii) permitting any person who demonstrates a
legitimate reason for wishing to do so to examine such records
where such official shall find it is not contrary to the public
interest or an undue interference with the operation of the
office to permit such an examination.

     2. (a) The head or principal executive of each principal
department of State government, with respect to the records 
of his department and any agencies, authorities and commissions
assigned or allocated to such department or under the super-
vision or regulation of such department, is hereby authorized
and empowered to adopt and promulgate, from time to time,
regulations setting forth which records under his jurisdiction
shall not be deemed to be public records, subject to inspection
and examination and available for copying, pursuant to the
provisions of Chapter 73, P.L. 1963.

     (b) The text of any regulation adopted after October 1,1963
pursuant to the provisions of this Executive Order shall be
published at least 15 days prior to the proposed effective
date of such regulation in at least 10 newspapers published
in the State and a copy of any such regulation, with the
approval of the Governor endorsed thereon, shall be placed
on file in the Office of the Secretary of State. No such
regulation shall be effective until it has been so published,
approved and filed.

     (c) Any regulation which has been heretofore adopted and
promulgated by the head or principal executive of a principal
department pursuant to the provisions of Executive Orders
Nos.7 and 8 shall remain in force and effect until modified
or rescinded in accordance with the provisions of this
Executive Order.

     (d) Any regulation which shall be adopted by the head
or principal executive of a principal department of the
State government on or before October 1,1963 shall be fully
effective, without the necessity of publication, if a copy
of such regulation, with the approval of the Governor
endorsed thereon, has been placed on file in the Office
of the Secretary of State on or before October 1,1963.

     3. The following records shall not be deemed to be
public records subject to inspection and examination and
available for copying pursuant to the provisions of Chapter
73, P.L.1963:

     (a) Questions on examinations required to be conducted
by any State or local governmental agency;

     (b) [replaced by Exec.Order No.11 of Gov. Byrne]

     (c) Records concerning morbidity, mortality and
reportable diseases of named persons required to be made,
maintained or kept by any State or local governmental
agency;

     (d) Records which are required to be made, maintained
or kept by any State or local governmental agency which
would disclose information concerning illegitimacy;

     (e) [replaced by Exec. Order No. 69 of Gov.
Whitman]

     (f) Criminal records required to be made, maintained
and kept pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 53:1-20.1
and R.S. 53:1-20.2;

     (g) Personal property tax returns required to be
filed under the provisions of Chapter 4 of Title 54
of the Revised Statutes; and

     (h) Records relating to petitions for executive
clemency.

     4. This Executive Order shall in no way be 
interpreted to replace or affect the right that the
general public has, by common law, judicial decision,
statute or otherwise, to examine and copy public records
and shall be limited in its application to the provisions
of Chapter 73, P.L.1963.

     5. Executive Orders Nos.7 and 8 are hereby rescinded
and any regulations adopted and promulgated thereunder
shall be null and void except to the extent provided
in Section 2 of this Executive Order.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 48 OF GOV. HUGHES (Dec. 18, 1968)

N.J. Laws of 1968, p.1718,
http://www.state.nj.us/infobank/circular/eoh48.shtml
     1. No person having custody of State Police investigative 
files shall turn over the same to any other person who is not
a member of a duly recognized law enforcement agency unless 
ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction or by 
the Governor of the State of New Jersey.
     2. No person shall divulge the contents of those files
to any other person who is not a member of a duly recognized
law enforcement agency unless ordered to do so by a court
of competent jurisdiction or by the Governor of the State of
New Jersey, where the release of such information is likely
to subject witnesses or other persons to physical harm, 
threats of harm, bribes, economic reprisals and other
intimidation.  No information shall be divulged where the
maintenance of secrecy regarding informants is required for
effective investigation of criminal activity or the
protection of confidential relationships and privileges
recognized by law.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 11 OF GOV. BYRNE (Nov. 15, 1974)

N.J. Laws of 1974, p.765,
http://www.state.nj.us/lps/dcj/agguide/exec11.htm
     2. Except as otherwise provided by law or when essential to
the performance of official duties or when authorized by a 
person in interest, an instrumentality of government shall not
disclose to anyone other than a person duly authorized by this
State or the United States to inspect such information in 
connection with his official duties, personnel or pension records
of an individual, except that the following shall be public:

     a. An individual's name, title, position, salary, payroll
record, length of service in the instrumentality of government
and in the government, date of separation from government service
and the reason therefor; and the amount and type of pension
he is receiving;

     b. Data contained in information which disclose conformity
with specific experimental [thus in original; should be
"experiential"], educational or medical qualifications
required for government employment or for receipt of a public
pension, but in no event shall detailed medical or psychological
information be released.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 79 OF GOV. BYRNE (Oct.1, 1979)

N.J. Laws of 1979, p.1917
[T]he following specific categories of records, due to their
confidential nature, shall not be deemed to be public records
under the provisions of Chapter 73, P.L.1963; and thus shall
not be subject to examination, nor available to the public 
for copies or review:

     1. Procurement documents of any State department or
agency, concerning surveillance equipment and investigatory
services, when disclosure of the equipment type and the
subject matter of the services could make known to the target
of an investigation the fact that an investigation is in
progress.

     2. Procurement documents of any State department or
agency, concerning installation of intrusion and detection
alarm systems, when disclosure could facilitate illegal
entry.

     3. Procurement documents of any State department or
agency, concerning studies of computer system security,
including final reports, when disclosure could facilitate
fraudulent use of the information.

     I further ORDER that the Department of the Treasury
and the Department of Law and Public Safety annually
review the list of records which have been excluded from
public examination pursuant to this Executive Order and,
when both agree, make available for public examination
any records which no longer will impair law enforcement
or security operations. 

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 110 OF GOV. BYRNE (Oct. 9, 1981)

N.J. Laws of 1981, p.2419
...I...do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
     1. The Superintendent of the State Police to make the
investigative files, records and exhibits within his custody
relating to the investigation of the Lindbergh kidnapping
available to the public, and subject to inspection and
examination and available for copying 45 days from the
promulgation of this order.

     2. The Superintendent is empowered in accordance with
the provisions of section 2 of P.L. 1963, c.73 (C. 47:1A-2)
to establish procedures to insure that there is no risk of
damage or mutilation of such files, records and exhibits
and to insure that public access and right to copy such
files, records and exhibits shall be during regular 
business hours to the extent that such access is compatible
with the economic and efficient operation of his division
and the transaction of its public business and to provide
and assure payment of such costs as permitted by law.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 34 OF GOV. KEAN (Feb. 16, 1983)

N.J. Laws of 1983, p.2356
     All individual or personal responses furnished as part of
the Agent Orange Commission's data-gathering survey
questionnaire and any confidential questionnaires developed
as part of the Dioxin Pilot Study, Cancer Incidence in
Vietnam Veterans Study and Death Records Study to be
undertaken by the commission shall be exempt from public
disclosure under the Public Records Act, as provided for
by C. 47:1A-2.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 69 OF GOV. WHITMAN (May 15, 1997)

N.J. Laws of 1997, p.2320; 29 N.J.Register 2729 (July 7, 1997);
http://www.state.nj.us/infobank/circular/eow69.htm
        2.  The following records shall not be deemed to be public
  records subject to inspection and examination and available for
  copying pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 73, P.L. 1963, as
  amended: fingerprint cards, plates and photographs and similar
  criminal investigation records that are required to be made,
  maintained or kept by any State or local governmental agency.

        3.  Notwithstanding the above section 2, the following
  information shall be available to the public within 24 hours, or
  sooner if practicable, of a request for such information:

            (a)  where a crime has been reported but no arrest
  yet made, information as to the type of crime, time, location
  and type of weapon, if any;

            (b)  if an arrest has been made, information as to the
  name, address and age of any victims, unless there has not been
  sufficient opportunity for notification of next of kin of any
  victims of injury and/or death to any such victim or where the
  release of the names of any victim would be contrary to existing
  law or court rule.  In deciding  on the release of information
  as to the identity of a victim, the safety of the victim and the
  victim's family, and the integrity of any ongoing investigation,
  shall be considered;

            (c)  if an arrest has been made, information as to the
  defendant's name, age, residence, occupation, marital status and
  similar background information and the identity of the complaining
  party, unless the release of such information is contrary to
  existing law or court rule;

            (d)  information as to the text of any charges, such as
  the complaint, accusation and indictment, unless sealed by the
  court or unless the release of such information is contrary to
  existing  law or court rule;

            (e)  information as to the identity of the investigating
  and arresting personnel and agency and the length of the investigation;

            (f)  information of the circumstances immediately surrounding
  the arrest, including but not limited to the time and place of the
  arrest, resistance, if any, pursuit, possession and nature and useof
  weapons and ammunition by the suspect and by the police; and

            (g)  information as to circumstances surrounding bail,
  whether it was posted and amount thereof.

            The term "request" shall mean either a written or oral
  request; provided, however, that all requests are made with
  sufficient clarity so as to enable a reasonable person to understand
  the information that is being sought. The law enforcement official
  responding to oral requests should make best efforts to respond
  orally over the telephone; however, it shall not be unreasonable to
  require the requester to appear in person to receive the information.
  Unless the parties note otherwise, it shall be understood that there
  is no duty to release or obtain information that is not in the
  possession of the law enforcement agency at the time of request.

            4.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this Executive
  Order,  where it shall appear that the information requested or to be
  examined will jeopardize the safety of any person or jeopardize any
  investigation in progress or may be otherwise inappropriate to
  release, such information may be withheld.  This section is intended
  to be narrowly construed to prevent disclosure of information which
  would be truly harmful to a bona fide law enforcement purpose or
  public safety if released.  It is also intended to prevent such
  release that would violate existing law regarding confidentiality
  in areas including, but not limited to, domestic violence and
  juveniles.

            5.  Each county prosecutor shall prepare a plan outlining
  the procedures for providing and/or disseminating the information
  required by this Executive Order and shall submit same to the
  Division of Criminal Justice for its review and filing. Each prosecutor
  shall consult with the police departments within his or her county
  and to the extent possible, include within the prosecutor's plan the
  local procedures for responding to informational requests.  The
  Division of State Police  shall submit its plan to the Office of the
  Attorney General.  Whenever any changes are made in any such plan,
  said changes shall immediately be forwarded to the appropriate
  county prosecutor and/or the Division of Criminal Justice or Office
  of the Attorney General for review and filing.  In addition, each
  county prosecutor's office shall designate a person(s) who is(are)
  responsible for responding to requests for public information by
  the media on nights, weekends and holidays.  The name of the
  person(s) so designated shall be available at the communication
  center in each county.

            6.  The Attorney General, as chief law enforcement    
  officer of the State, or his designee, or where appropriate, the county
  prosecutor, as chief law enforcement officer of the county, shall
  promptly resolve all disputes as to whether or not the release of
  records would be "otherwise inappropriate" between the custodian
  of any records referred to herein and any person seeking access
  thereto or similar disputes.  Where the Attorney General or the
  county prosecutor determines that the release of records would be
  "otherwise inappropriate," he or she shall issue a brief   
  statement explaining the decision.

            7.  The terms of the Order shall be carried out in the
  spirit of Chapter 73, P.L. 1963, as amended, and shall not relate
  to requests pursuant to Chapter 60, Section 4, of P.L. 1994.  It
  shall be carried out by keeping in mind the right of citizens to
  be aware of events occurring in their community.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 21 OF GOV. MCGREEVEY (July 8, 2002)

,
http://www.state.nj.us/infobank/circular/eom21.shtml

1.At all levels of government - State, county, municipal and school district -- the following records shall not be deemed to be public records under the provisions of Chapter 404, P.L. 2001, and Chapter 73, P.L. 1963, and thus shall not be subject to public inspection, copying or examination:

2. [rescinded by Exec.Order No.26]

3. [rescinded by Exec.Order No.26]

4.In light of the fact that State departments and agencies have proposed rules exempting certain government records from public disclosure, and these regulations have been published for public comment, but cannot be adopted prior to the effective date of the Open Public Records Act, State agencies are hereby directed to handle all government records requests in a manner consistent with the rules as they have been proposed and published, and the records exempted from disclosure by those proposed rules are exempt from disclosure by this Order. Once those regulations have been adopted, they shall govern all government records requests filed thereafter.

5.Executive Orders No. 9 (Hughes), 11 (Byrne), 79 (Byrne) and 69 (Whitman) are hereby continued to the extent that they are not inconsistent with this Executive Order.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 26 OF GOV. MCGREEVEY (August 13, 2002)

, http://www.state.nj.us/infobank/circular/eom26.shtml

1.Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Executive Order No. 21 are hereby rescinded and replaced with the following paragraphs.

2.In addition to those records of the Office of the Governor that are exempted by the provisions of the Open Public Records Act, the following records maintained by the Office of the Governor, or part thereof, shall not be deemed to be government records under the provisions of Chapter 404, P.L. 2001, and Chapter 73, P.L. 1963, and thus shall not be subject to public inspection, copying or examination:

3. No public agency shall disclose the resumes, applications for employment or other information concerning job applicants while a recruitment search is ongoing. The resumes of successful candidates shall be disclosed once the successful candidate is hired. The resumes of unsuccessful candidates may be disclosed after the search has been concluded and the position has been filled, but only where the unsuccessful candidate has consented to such disclosure.

4. The following records shall not be considered to be government records subject to public access pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., as amended and supplemented:

5.The Privacy Study Commission created by Chapter 404, P.L. 2001, is hereby directed to promptly study the issue of whether and to what extent the home address and home telephone number of citizens should be made publicly available by public agencies and to report back to the Governor and the Legislature within six months.

6.The remaining provisions of Executive Order No. 21 are hereby continued to the extent that they are not inconsistent with this Executive Order.