FOIL stands for the Freedom of Information Law passed in 1974. FOIL allows citizens to gain access to government records, allowing them to become more knowledgeable about their government officials and the decisions they make. All local and state governmental organizations are bound by the law and must provide access to records unless the records fall into the eleven types of information that cannot be requested (described below).
For more information about the Freedom of Information Act, you may wish to visit the website of New York State’s Committee on Open Government.
FOIL Request Submission Options:
What records can I request using FOIL?
One can request any record from any governmental organization. However, access to a record depends upon whether the record complies with all rules within the law regulating access to records. Some of the limitations are discussed below and for further information on what records can be accessed go to the New York State's Committee on Open Government's website here.
There are two methods one can use to access a FOIL request form. One, an individual can go to the Broome County Office Building and on the sixth floor in the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature obtain a FOIL request form. The other option is to fill out the request form online; the form options can be found near the bottom of the Freedom of Information Law homepage. To submit the form one has four options: email the form to the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature (firstname.lastname@example.org), bring the completed form to the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature, mail the completed form to the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature (PO Box 1766, 60 Hawley Street, Sixth Floor, Binghamton NY 13902-1766), or fax the completed form to the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature (607.778.8869).
The only exceptions to the above directions are requests for records located in the County Clerk's Office, Board of Elections, and the Department of Social Services. To obtain records from these departments, one should request information directly from these departments. In addition, to obtain Coroner/ME records one must request this information from the County Attorney.
Requests should be competed, whether granting access to the record, denying access to the record with an explanation for denial, or sending a confirmation that the request was received with the date the department will make the decision about access, a week from the day the request was submitted (5 Business Days). The date one receives or is denied access should not be greater than 20 days after the request was received by the governmental agency. If an agency needs more than 20 days to complete a FOIL request, the agency must give an explanation for the delay.
There are eleven “categories of information” that one cannot access using FOIL. To learn about the specific subject areas that FOIL does not cover one can go to the following website: https://opengovernment.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/09/righttoknow.pdf. In general, one cannot gain access to information that could “harm” another person or institution.
Additionally, if you are requesting records from the State Legislature or the courts, there are further restrictions on what information can be accessed. To learn more about these restrictions one can go to the following website: https://opengovernment.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/09/righttoknow.pdf.
Furthermore, if your request is denied you will be notified of the Appeals process should you wish to appeal a denial.
The Office of the Clerk of the Legislature can only help with obtaining reports from the Broome County Sheriff and Broome County Government Security. The office does not have access to the New York State Police or local Municipal Police Departments. To obtain records from these departments contact the department directly. Contact information for local municipal police agencies and State Police are as follows:
City of Binghamton Police Department - 607.772.7094
Town of Vestal Police Department - 607.754.2386
Village of Deposit Police Department - 607.467.5188
Village of Endicott Police Department - 607.757.2414
Village of Port Dickinson Police Department - 607.722.1255
Village of Johnson City Police Department:
Accident Reports - 607.798.9561 Criminal Reports - 607.798.9475
New York State Police FOIL Information: https://troopers.ny.gov/foil-requests
How much will it cost to FOIL a document?
If you electronically submitted the FOIL request form, the information, if available in electronic form, will be emailed to you in electronic form free of charge. However, if the records requested are too large to be emailed then there is a $2.00 fee for the records to be copied to a CD. If the records cannot be submitted electronically or you want the documents in paper form there is a $.25 charge per page requested if the request is over 5 pages. However, you may ask to be informed of the charge before copies are made. You can also ask to see the documents, without obtaining a copy, free of charge.
If you have any additional questions or problems, please contact the Records Access Office either by email, email@example.com, or by phone, 607.778.2287, and a staff member can provide further assistance.