Businesses Burying NJ Municipalities with Requests for Public Records
More and more companies asking towns to supply lists used in marketing and sales efforts
This is probably not what lawmakers had in mind when they enacted New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA):
A pet company asks Woodbridge’s municipal clerk to supply a list of all property owners with a licensed cat or dog. Meanwhile, a home-improvement company based in Washington state has requested copies of all building permits issued in Woodbridge since January 1, 2000.
The companies are taking advantage of a loophole in the law, which puts no limits on public-information requests by commercial entities.
What’s the problem? For one thing, if municipal clerks are busy fulfilling those kinds of information requests, it’s taking up time that might be used to comply with requests filed by private citizens right here in New Jersey.
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