CCFOI Meeting Minutes – Jan. 20, 2016

Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information

Minutes, Jan. 20, 2016

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

Present: Jim Smith, Chris Powell, Mitch Pearlman, Dick Ahles, George Lombardi, Mike Savino, Zach Janowski, Marc Fitch, Paul Giguere, Dan Klau, Paula Pearlman, Michele Jacklin, Steve Kalb, Mary Connolly, Tom Scheffey.

The minutes of the Dec. 16, 2015 meeting were accepted.

Treasurer’s report: Lombardi reported a balance of $9,917.45. The dues bills went out Jan. 6.

Legislative report: CCFOI representatives met with state Rep. Ed Jutila, chairman of the Government, Administration and Elections Committee. CCFOI honored him last spring with a Champion of Open Government award for his work on the legislative agreement to expand the release of information on arrests.

CCFOI’s legislative agenda was reviewed with the chairman. He expressed support for making historic records available to the public, such as mental health records for Civil War veterans. Because the 2016 session is short, he said there probably won’t be time to consider proposals to bring the University of Connecticut Foundation under the FOI Act. There also was discussion of the continuing problems with the Office of Government Accountability. CCFOI wants clarification that the OGA administrator reports to the executive directors of the member agencies, not the governor, in order to ensure independence.

CTN status: Paul Giguere, president and CEO of Connecticut Public Affairs Network, made a presentation about CTN’s new operational plan. Currently funded and controlled by the legislature, CTN wants to transform itself into a Connecticut version of the national C-SPAN, funded by cable subscribers. This would allow more flexibility in administration and updating of technology. It would come under the regulatory arm of the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority, which would set funding by cable subscribers.

A motion was made to support the CTN proposal. It was unanimously approved.

Detroit Free Press case on mug shots: CCFOI agreed to file an amici brief, written by Klau, in support of the Detroit Free Press, in its fight with the U.S. Department of Justice for access to mug shots. The case is being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th District.

Website links: Smith reported a suggestion by Mike London that we invite member media organizations to put a link on our website to their websites. There was support for the idea and Smith will continue discussions with London.

Looking ahead: The next CCFOI meeting will be Feb. 17 at noon at Wood-n-Tap.