NewsGuild-CWA Calls on NJ Gov. To Protect Free Speech and Access to Public Records


May 16, 2024

Contact: Rebekah Entralgo, (202) 304-2241

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday May 13, the New Jersey Legislature advanced S2930/A4045, a bill that would overhaul the Open Public Records Act and greatly harm access to public records for journalists and communities across the state.

The NewsGuild-CWA – the largest union representing journalists and media workers across the country – sent a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy, urging him to veto the legislation to protect free speech and access to public records.

“As a nation with democracy, we must protect the public’s right to information, support the responsibility of the press and stand for free speech,” wrote Jon Schleuss, President of The NewsGuild-CWA, in the letter. “I urge you to do so by vetoing S2930/A4045.”

If signed into law, S2930/A4045 would:

  • Allowing government officials to deny requests based on overly broad qualifiers.
  • Imposing new, narrow parameters for journalists and other requestors to access even basic correspondence, while also excluding email and call logs from any request.
  • Letting commercial requestors and data brokers skip the line by paying an extra fee to receive records faster than the press and members of the public.
  • Introducing discretionary fee-shifting, potentially leaving journalists and members of the public on the hook for legal bills related to a request for public records, even in a victorious case.
  • Assuming all fees and services charged for records are reasonable, thus creating an obstacle for journalists and members of the public who may attempt to challenge outrageous bills.
  • Giving government entities the right to sue record requestors deemed to be “substantially interrupt(ing)” government functions with OPRA requests.

Throughout the public hearing process, numerous NewsGuild-CWA members traveled to Trenton, NJ on multiple occasions to voice their opposition to the legislation.


The NewsGuild-CWA is a labor union founded by newspaper journalists in 1933, representing over 27,000 members in newsrooms, online publications, and non-profit organizations across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.