LIBERTARIANS FOR TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT, ETC. VS. GOVERNMENT RECORDS COUNCIL, ET AL.A-5563-15T4
In this appeal the court considers whether draft minutes prepared for a public body's approval and adoption must be provided in response to a request under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13. The Government Records Council denied the Libertarians For Transparent Government's OPRA request for unapproved minutes, contending they were records exempted from disclosure under the Act as "advisory, consultative, or deliberative material."
As the exemption under OPRA has been construed to encompass the deliberative process privilege, the court evaluated the documents under the privilege's two-pronged test, and determined that the unapproved minutes were both pre-decisional and deliberative. Because draft minutes are a preliminary document subject to revision, they remain "deliberative material" and exempt from the disclosure requirements of OPRA until approved by the public body.