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Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick. (Photo: Assembly Republicans.)

Bramnick open to discussing OPRA legislative exemption reform

Sweeney says it isn’t going to happen

By Nikita Biryukov, January 09 2020 8:18 pm

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick said he was open to discussing changes to the legislative exemption in New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act.

“I’m open to discussing anything. I’d have to see what the bill said, what they exactly would no longer exempt in terms of legislators,” Bramnick said. “I’d have to see what the proposal was.”

OPRA provides two broad exemptions for state lawmakers.

The first allows for the nondisclosure of communications between legislators and their constituents.

The second exempts all communications and documents drafted in the course of a legislator’s official duties. That includes documents, emails and other messages exchanged between lawmakers, party officials and lobbyists.

The legislative exemption’s removal is more than unlikely.

Senate President Steve Sweeney has more than once said in clear terms that he would oppose reforms to his members’ exemption, though Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg indicated she was willing to discuss the issue in the context of a separate OPRA reform bill she’s backing.

The legislative exemption isn’t at the top of Bramnick’s mind either.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” he said. “I think OPRA’s got a number of problems to start off with. My understanding is that OPRA is actually problematic in terms of the timing and the automatic attorney’s fees. I’d have to look at that. I’d have to give it some thought.”

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