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New York State Laws and Regulations Relevant to State Government Records

  • The text of laws and regulations pertaining to the State Archives are found on our website by clicking on the name of the law or regulation.
  • The links for other laws pertaining to state government records lead directly to the New York State Assembly's website. To locate a particular citation, click on the appropriate law (e.g., "CVP" for Civil Practice Law and Rules), and follow the links to the desired article and section of that law.
  • The links for other regulations pertaining to state government records lead to the Department of State's New York Code, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) page. To locate a particular citation, click on the NYCRR link, and follow the links to the appropriate title, chapter, subchapter, and part.

Arts and Cultural Affairs Law

State Government Records Law (Section 57.05)
Establishes the State Archives' responsibility for the archival records of state government. Also establishes the State Archives' authority, acting on behalf of the Commissioner of Education and with the Offices of the Attorney General and State Comptroller, over approving the destruction or other disposition of such records. State records found in local offices are also subject to this law.

Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR)

Certain sections of the CPLR listed below provide specific statutes of limitation which may affect the retention of records. While these statutes were taken into account when minimum legal retention periods were established by the State Archives, these CPLR provisions should not be used alone to determine how long specific records need to be retained, as other statutes and regulations are often taken into account in determining retention requirements. Please consult your attorney or counsel, and contact the State Archives if necessary, if questions regarding retention schedule items and the CPLR arise.

Section 208
Provides persons who have arrived at "majority" (age 18) an additional three-year period to bring legal action as adults relative to an event which occurred when they were minors. This statute has broad implications and requires retention of many records series long enough to protect the legal rights of minors.

Establishes a twenty-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced for bonds; money judgments, by state for real property; by grantee of state for real property; and for support, alimony, or maintenance.

Section 212
Establishes a ten-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced for possession necessary to recover real property, annulment of letters patent, to redeem from a mortgage, and to recover under an affidavit of support of an alien.

Establishes a six-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced, where not otherwise provided, on contracts; on sealed instruments; on bonds or notes, and mortgages upon real property; by state based on misappropriation of public property; based on mistake; by corporation against director, officer, or stockholder; based on fraud.

Establishes a four-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced for residential rent overcharge.

Establishes a three-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced for non-payment of money collected on execution; for penalty created by statute; to recover chattel; for injury to property; for personal injury; for malpractice other than medical, dental, or podiatric malpractice; to annul a marriage on the ground of fraud.

Establishes a 30-month statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced for medical, dental, or podiatric malpractice.

Establishes statute of limitations of three years from the point of discovery within which certain legal actions must be commenced.

Section 215
Establishes a one-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced against sheriff, coroner ,or constable; for escape of prisoner; for assault, battery, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, libel, or slander; for violation of right of privacy; for penalty given to informer; and on arbitration award.

Abbreviates statute of limitations to one year after notice for actions to recover money and property.

Rule 4518
Allows the admissibility of original records in court, including electronic records, when the records were made in the regular course of business.

Rule 4521
Establishes the means by which public officials can indicate the lack or non-existence of a particular record.

Rule 4539
Also called the best evidence rule. Permits the use of copies in court when those copies were prepared in the regular course of business by a process which accurately reproduces the original records and when those copies are satisfactorily identified. This use of copies is permitted whether the originals exist or not.

Rule 4540
Establishes the means by which public officials can authenticate copies of public records.

Legislative Law

Section 22, 22-a and 22-b
Governs the custody, retention, and reproduction of records of the State Legislature.

Penal Law

Sections 175.20 and 175.25
Addresses the tampering of public records in the second and first degrees. Because such tampering constitutes either a class A misdemeanor or a class D felony, persons can be prosecuted and, if convicted, sentenced accordingly for these offenses.

Public Officers Law

Section 80
Requires that outgoing public officials deliver official records to their successors in office and outlines appropriate legal action if this transfer is not completed.

Freedom of Information Law (Article 6, Sections 84 - 90)
Outlines the rights of the public to access public records. Amendments enacted in 2008 clarify issues that govern access to electronic records.

Personal Privacy Protection Law (Article 6-A, Sections 91 - 99)
Applies to state agencies. Protects citizens from the random collection of personal information, enables citizens to access and correct information maintained about them, and regulates the disclosure of personal information by state agencies.

Open Meetings Law (Article 7, Sections 100 - 111)
Covers public access to meetings of public bodies and outlines requirements for the production and availability of minutes or other proceedings.

Regulations of the Commissioner of Education

Part 188, 8NYCRR
Establishes requirements and procedures for the management and disposition of State agency records, including duties and responsibilities of agency records management officers, procedures for approving the disposition of agency records, use of the State Records Center, the use of microfilm and electronic records, and agency fees for records management services.

State Finance Law

Section 97-ddd
Establishes the Education Archives Account for disposition fees charged State agencies for records management services, and also fees collected for sale of publications and reproduction of documents held by the State Archives.

State Technology Law

Electronic Signatures and Records Act (Article III, Sections 301 - 309)
Ensures that electronic signatures are legally binding, and clarifies the authority of government agencies to create records in electronic format. The Office for Technology is the facilitator for this act.

Internet Security and Privacy Act (Article II, Section 208)
Requires state entities, persons, and businesses in New York who own or license computerized data which includes private information to disclose any data breach to the affected New York residents (state entities must also notify non-residents) and notify the state Attorney General, Office of Cyber Security & Critical Infrastructure Coordination (CSCIC), and the Consumer Protection Board (CPB).

Specific federal laws and regulations

Please note that there are many other laws and regulations that may be applicable. Due to space considerations, only four of the most commonly cited laws have been listed.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (Public Law 104-191)

Protects the privacy of patients' medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. This act also provides patients with access to their medical records and more control over how their personal health information is used and disclosed. For more information, refer to

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99)

Protects the privacy of student education records. The law requires a school district to provide parents with access to their children's educational records, to provide parents the opportunity to request the correction of records they believe to be inaccurate or misleading, and to obtain the written permission of a parent before disclosing information contained in a student's educational record. For more information, refer to

Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring Act (USA Freedom Act) (Public Law 114-23)

This law replaced the Patriot Act, which expired in 2015. Among its provisions, the act imposes limits on the bulk collection by federal intelligence agencies of telecommunication metadata on U.S. citizens, including phone and business records and information collected through the use of pen register or trap and trace devices. For more information, refer to 

Federal Rules for Civil Procedure (FRCP) (28 U.S.C., appendix)

Outlines the rules used to govern civil procedures in United States district courts. Several rules were amended in 2006 to clarify the process discovery as it relates to electronic records, as well as the obligations of litigating parties in discovery actions. For more information, refer to