CCFOI Meeting Minutes – Dec. 16, 2015

Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information

Minutes, Dec. 16, 2015

The meeting was at Wood-n-Tap, 99 Sisson Ave., Hartford

Present: Jim Smith, Chris Powell, Mary Connolly, Marcia Chambers, Tom Appleby, Mitch Pearlman, Dana Whalen, Mike Savino, Zach Janowski, Dan Klau, Gary Gold, John Bailey, Michele Jacklin, Jennifer Frank, Tom Scheffey, Jeff Daniels, George Lombardi.

The minutes of the Nov. 18, 2015 meeting were accepted.

Treasurer’s report: Lombardi reported a balance of $8,638.22.

Legislative report: Bailey said he is in the process of making appointments with the committee chairs who will be handling legislation on our issues. He said concern continues to grow about the “gadfly” problem. A small group of individuals is abusing the use of the Freedom of Information Act by filing hundreds of complaints that are meant to overburden public agencies and do. Legislation to address this will be difficult to write without undermining public access, but CCFOI agreed to work on the issue with legislators to seek a solution.

Free speech on campuses: There was discussion of recent protests on campuses in Connecticut and other states. The protests often started with student concerns about fairness and equality and ended with students demanding to have a “safe space” on public property from journalists. Is this a lack of understanding of the First Amendment or is this a lack of support for the First Amendment? Discussion on this will continue, along with discussion about whether CCFOI or the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government can take on a new project in response to these campus protests.

Looking ahead: The next CCFOI meeting will be Jan. 20, 2016 at noon at Wood-n-Tap. Happy New Year!