TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Sandra Bolden Cunningham and Nicholas Sacco to strengthen transparency laws governing the Port Authority of NY & NJ by requiring the board’s meeting standards be at least as strong as the provisions contained within the “Open Public Meetings Act” was approved unanimously today by the full Senate.
The bill (S-550) would establish by state law the requirement that the port authority adequately provide notice of board meetings to the public and the news media, as well as establish clear guidelines regarding public access to meetings. Specifically, the bill would require the port authority to follow the same requirements of the “Open Public Meetings Act” of New Jersey and the “Open Meetings Law” of New York; in the event they conflict, the board would be required to adopt the provisions which provide for the greatest rights to the public and the media.
“The Port Authority handles billions of dollars of public money, and operates a massive transportation network in two states, consisting of some of the country’s busiest airports, bridges, tunnels and ports,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “It is critical that permanent policies are in place to ensure that board actions are fully transparent and that decision-makers are held accountable to the residents who support their operations.”
“Providing the public proper access to authority meetings is vital to ensuring that residents are able to monitor how their hard-earned dollars are being spent,” said Senator Sacco (D-Hudson/Bergen), chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “This bill will ensure that the authority meets strong transparency standards and that these standards are not only part of the bylaws, but established in state law and, therefore, cannot be changed by the board they were created to govern.”