Malloy’s budget office, legislators backed FOI reduction – Journal Inquirer

By Mike Savino

Legislation protecting communications among members of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority from public disclosure when they occur outside scheduled meetings appears to have the blessing of both lawmakers and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration.

Malloy’s budget office, at the request of PURA, negotiated the language into the bill that implements the state budget.

But the language originated as a provision of an amendment that members of the legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee drafted for a bill to cap, reduce, or eliminate fixed fees on electrical bills as a way to promote energy conservation. That amendment, which was never subject to a public hearing, cleared the Senate but was never brought before the House of Representatives for a vote.

Gian-Carl Casa, the undersecretary for legislative affairs in the state Office of Policy and Management, said the office negotiated the language back into the budget implementer at the request of PURA. The authority is part of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, meaning it is within the executive branch of state government.

Mark Bergman, a spokesman for Malloy, said he was unaware of the language being included in negotiations and declined to comment further.

But PURA spokesman Mike Coyle said the change is necessary because the requirements of the state Freedom of Information Act were interfering [Read More]