Records that are exempt
- A government record shall not include the following information which is deemed to be confidential for the purposes of P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) as amended and supplemented:
- information received by a member of the Legislature from a constituent or information held by a member of the Legislature concerning a constituent, including but not limited to information in written form or contained in any e-mail or computer data base, or in any telephone record whatsoever, unless it is information the constituent is required by law to transmit;
- any memorandum, correspondence, notes, report or other communication prepared by, or for, the specific use of a member of the Legislature in the course of the member's official duties, except that this provision shall not apply to an otherwise publicly-accessible report which is required by law to be submitted to the Legislature or its members;
Medical examiner records
- any copy, reproduction or facsimile of any photograph, negative or print, including instant photographs and videotapes of the body, or any portion of the body, of a deceased person, taken by or for the medical examiner at the scene of death or in the course of a post mortem examination or autopsy made by or caused to be made by the medical examiner except:
- when used in a criminal action or proceeding in this State which relates to the death of that person,
- for the use as a court of this State permits, by order after good cause has been shown and after written notification of the request for the court order has been served at least five days before the order is made upon the county prosecutor for the county in which the post mortem examination or autopsy occurred,
- for use in the field of forensic pathology or for use in medical or scientific education or research, or
- for use by any law enforcement agency in this State or any other state or federal law enforcement agency;
- criminal investigatory records;
- victims' records, except that a victim of a crime shall have access to the victim's own records;
Trade secrets and proprietary information
- trade secrets and proprietary commercial or financial information obtained from any source. For the purposes of this paragraph, trade secrets shall include data processing software obtained by a public body under a licensing agreement which prohibits its disclosure;
Attorney client privilege
- any record within the attorney-client privilege. This paragraph shall not be construed as exempting from access attorney or consultant bills or invoices except that such bills or invoices may be redacted to remove any information protected by the attorney-client privilege;
- administrative or technical information regarding computer hardware, software and networks which, if disclosed, would jeopardize computer security;
- emergency or security information or procedures for any buildings or facility which, if disclosed, would jeopardize security of the building or facility or persons therein;
Security measures and techniques
- security measures and surveillance techniques which, if disclosed, would create a risk to the safety of persons, property, electronic data or software;
Advantage to bidders
- information which, if disclosed, would give an advantage to competitors or bidders;
Public employee related
- information generated by or on behalf of public employers or public employees in connection
- with any sexual harassment complaint filed with a public employer or
- with any grievance filed by or against an individual or
- in connection with collective negotiations, including documents and statements of strategy or negotiating position
- information which is a communication between a public agency and its insurance carrier, administrative service organization or risk management office;
- information which is to be kept confidential pursuant to court order; and
Honorable discharge certificates
- any copy of form DD-214, or that form, issued by the United States Government, or any other certificate of honorable discharge, or copy thereof, from active service or the reserves of a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, or from service in the organized Militia of the State, that has been filed by an individual with a public agency, except that a veteran or the veteran's spouse or surviving spouse shall have access to the veteran's own records; and
Personal identifying information
- that portion of any document which discloses the social security number, credit card number, unlisted telephone number or driver license number of any person; except for:
- use by any government agency, including any court or law enforcement agency, in carrying out its functions,
- or any private person or entity acting on behalf thereof,
- or any private person or entity seeking to enforce payment of court-ordered child support; except with respect to the disclosure of driver information by the Division of Motor Vehicles as permitted by section 2 of P.L.1997, c.188 (C.39:2-3.4); and except that a social security number contained in a record required by law to be made, maintained or kept on file by a public agency shall be disclosed when access to the document or disclosure of that information is not otherwise prohibited by State or federal law, regulation or order or by State statute, resolution of either or both houses of the Legislature, Executive Order of the Governor, rule of court or regulation promulgated under the authority of any statute or executive order of the Governor.
Higher education exceptions
- A government record shall not include, with regard to any public institution of higher education, the following information which is deemed to be privileged and confidential:
- Pedagogical, scholarly and/or academic research records and/or the specific details of any research project conducted under the auspices of a public higher education institution in New Jersey, including, but not limited to research, development information, testing procedures, or information regarding test participants, related to the development or testing of any pharmaceutical or pharmaceutical delivery system, except that a custodian may not deny inspection of a government record or part thereof that gives the name, title, expenditures, source and amounts of funding and date when the final project summary of any research will be available;
- test questions, scoring keys and other examination data pertaining to the administration of an examination for employment or academic examination;
- records of pursuit of charitable contributions or records containing the identity of a donor of a gift if the donor requires non-disclosure of the donor's identity as a condition of making the gift provided that the donor has not received any benefits of or from the institution of higher education in connection with such gift other than a request for memorialization or dedication;
- valuable or rare collections of books and/or documents obtained by gift, grant, bequest or devise conditioned upon limited public access;
- information contained on individual admission applications; and
- information concerning student records or grievance or disciplinary proceedings against a student to the extent disclosure would reveal the identity of the student.
Biotechnology exemption C.47:1A-1.2 Restricted access to biotechnology trade secrets.
- When federal law or regulation requires the submission of biotechnology trade secrets and related confidential information,
- a public agency shall not have access to this information except as allowed by federal law. A public agency shall not make any biotechnology trade secrets and related confidential information it has access to under this act available to any other public agency, or to the general public, except as allowed pursuant to federal law.
Limits to convicts
- C.47:1A-2.2 Access to certain information by convict prohibited; exceptions.
- Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) or the provisions of any other law to the contrary, where it shall appear that a person who is convicted of any indictable offense under the laws of this State, any other state or the United States is seeking government records containing personal information pertaining to the person's victim or the victim's family, including but not limited to a victim's home address, home telephone number, work or school address, work telephone number, social security account number, medical history or any other identifying information, the right of access provided for in P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) as amended and supplemented shall be denied.
- A government record containing personal identifying information which is protected under the provisions of this section may be released only if the information is necessary to assist in the defense of the requestor. A determination that the information is necessary to assist in the requestor's defense shall be made by the court upon motion by the requestor or his representative.
- Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) as amended and supplemented, or any other law to the contrary, a custodian shall not comply with an anonymous request for a government record which is protected under the provisions of this section.
- C.47:1A-3 Access to records of investigation in progress.
- Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) as amended and supplemented, where it shall appear that the record or records which are sought to be inspected, copied, or examined shall pertain to an investigation in progress by any public agency, the right of access provided for in P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) as amended and supplemented may be denied if the inspection, copying or examination of such record or records shall be inimical to the public interest; provided, however, that this provision shall not be construed to allow any public agency to prohibit access to a record of that agency that was open for public inspection, examination, or copying before the investigation commenced. Whenever a public agency, during the course of an investigation, obtains from another public agency a government record that was open for public inspection, examination or copying before the investigation commenced, the investigating agency shall provide the other agency with sufficient access to the record to allow the other agency to comply with requests made pursuant to P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.).
- Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.), as amended and supplemented, the following information concerning a criminal investigation shall be available to the public within 24 hours or as soon as practicable, of a request for such information:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- information as to the identity of the investigating and arresting personnel and agency and the length of the investigation;
- 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 use of weapons and ammunition by the suspect and by the police; and
- information as to circumstances surrounding bail, whether it was posted and the amount thereof.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, 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 exception shall be narrowly construed to prevent disclosure of information that would be harmful to a bona fide law enforcement purpose or the public safety. Whenever a law enforcement official determines that it is necessary to withhold information, the official shall issue a brief statement explaining the decision.
Continuation of existing exemptions
C.47:1A-9 Other laws regulations, privileges unaffected.
- The provisions of this act, P.L.2001, c.404 (C.47:1A-5 et al.), shall not abrogate any exemption of a public record or government record from public access heretofore made pursuant to P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.); any other statute; resolution of either or both Houses of the Legislature; regulation promulgated under the authority of any statute or Executive Order of the Governor; Executive Order of the Governor; Rules of Court; any federal law; federal regulation; or federal order.
- The provisions of this act, P.L.2001, c.404 (C.47:1A-5 et al.), shall not abrogate or erode any executive or legislative privilege or grant of confidentiality heretofore established or recognized by the Constitution of this State, statute, court rule or judicial case law, which privilege or grant of confidentiality may duly be claimed to restrict public access to a public record or government record.
Access to personnel and pension records
- C.47:1A-10 Personnel, pension records not considered public document; exceptions.
Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) or any other law to the contrary, the personnel or pension records of any individual in the possession of a public agency, including but not limited to records relating to any grievance filed by or against an individual, shall not be considered a government record and shall not be made available for public access, except that:
- an individual's name, title, position, salary, payroll record, length of service, date of separation and the reason therefor, and the amount and type of any pension received shall be a government record;
- personnel or pension records of any individual shall be accessible when required to be disclosed by another law, when disclosure is essential to the performance of official duties of a person duly authorized by this State or the United States, or when authorized by an individual in interest; and
- data contained in information which disclose conformity with specific experiential, educational or medical qualifications required for government employment or for receipt of a public pension, but not including any detailed medical or psychological information, shall be a government record.