NYG&B Comments on New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act

Government & Laws

On March 18, 2024, the NYG&B submitted the following comments via email to members of the New Jersey Legislature regarding a proposed bill, Senate Bill No. 2930, that would overhaul New Jersey’s open records law.

Dear Senator Scutari and Senate and Assemblymember colleagues,

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) is contacting you regarding the proposed legislation Senate Bill No. 2930 and its impact on New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA).

National archives shelving, Original uploader was Keycard at en.wikipedia

Founded in 1869, the NYG&B is a nonprofit organization that preserves, documents, and shares family history and stories from across New York State. We engage with genealogists, biographers, historians, and organizations to establish the broader contexts of New York’s past. We actively foster connections between New York’s past and present.  

We would first like to thank you for the current pause on the proposed legislation to further consider its ramifications and enable more discussion among and involvement by key stakeholders, including the genealogy and family history community. Record access—including a timely, transparent process—is essential for genealogists, historians, and anyone else researching their family history. To ensure that this community is not negatively affected, it is imperative that no undue burdens regarding access, cost, or procurement are placed upon those seeking records.

As the second-oldest genealogical society in the United States, the NYG&B serves thousands of members both internationally and nationally, including New Jersey. Our close, longstanding association with New Jersey—both physically and historically—means that the proposed Senate Bill No. 2930 will also directly impact our constituents.

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) has also submitted comments to the New Jersey legislature to share its concerns and advise it to reconsider this proposed bill as it currently stands. We applaud the APG’s advocacy efforts and share some of its concerns regarding the bill’s language that limits access to records as well as how copies are provided, formats, and other specific elements, as outlined in APG President John Boeren’s letter on 3/14/2024.

The NYG&B has long supported efforts to protect open record access and a transparent process for the genealogy and family history community—within New York State and beyond. We respectfully ask that the New Jersey legislature considers the valid concerns of genealogists and family historians as it reevaluates Senate Bill No. 2930. The NYG&B is ready to work with all parties to ensure that our community is not disempowered as a result. Thank you for your time and consideration.


D. Joshua Taylor 
New York Genealogical and Biographical Society