CCFOI Meeting Minutes – Feb. 15, 2017

Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
Minutes, Feb. 15, 2017

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

Present: Dan Klau, Chris Powell, Morgan McGinley, Mitch Pearlman, Jim Smith, Michele Jacklin, Zach Janowski, Dana Whalen, John Bailey, Mary Connolly, Colleen Murphy.

The minutes of the Jan. 18, 2017 meeting were accepted.

Legislative report:  Bailey discussed FOI-related proposals. Once again, a proposal is being considered to allow municipalities to put legal notices on their websites rather than pay to advertise them in newspapers. Because state aid to municipalities is under threat, some form of this proposal may be successful.

Murphy and Bailey discussed continuing interest by legislators in managing the so-called gadflies who use the FOI law to harass public agencies. There are continuing suggestions to charge a fee for filing FOI complaints, something CCFOI has not favored. FOIC and Bailey will continue to work with legislators on legislative language that could be acceptable.

FOIC budget: The $44,000 in funding that was illegally withheld last year is still being withheld. Now the governor’s budget has adopted that $44,000 as a cut in the budget for the next fiscal year. After discussion, it was decided there will be continued efforts to get last year’s “hold back” returned. CCFOI will testify on the budget as well.

CFOG programs: Pearlman said last month’s program, “The Stories Behind the Stories,” was a great success. In bad weather, 75 people attended, showing good public interest in our issues. He said CFOG would like to make this an annual event.

Other business: There was discussion of a pending legal challenge to the practice of making new law through collective bargaining agreements. No decision was made on whether CCFOI would be involved.

Looking ahead: The next CCFOI meeting will be March 15 at noon at Wood-n-Tap.