Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
Minutes, Jan. 18, 2023
The meeting was via Zoom.
Present: Tom Scheffey, Jacqueline Smith, Mary Connolly, Jeff Daniels, Michele Jacklin, Mitch Pearlman, Chris Powell, Gary Gold, Paula Pearlman, Colleen Murphy, Liz Gemski.
The minutes of the Dec. 20, 2022 meeting were accepted.
Treasurer’s report: Smith reported a balance of $9,636.78, the same as last month.
Legislative report: Gemski gave an update on legislative committee contacts. A proposal to allow an FOI exemption for emails to legislators from constituents is being discussed. Filming by “YouTubers” of employees in town halls is leading to calls for legislative action. YouTube’s pay to these filmers is based on the number of views. They make more money if an incident is filmed with police or public employees objecting to their presence because that attracts more viewers. This is a First Amendment issue, not an FOI issue. Municipal officials can mark what is public and private space. Municipal employees, including police officers, should be trained how
to handle these incidents.
Recruitment: There was discussion of expanding membership. It is hard to attract working journalists, including younger journalists. Our past schedule of meeting at noon in Hartford ended with the pandemic. The switch to Zoom meetings should be more accommodating for those working. Our recent switch to 9 a.m. Zoom meetings also may be a better time for those employed.
It was agreed to have a special committee of the whole meeting to discuss recruitment. It will be Feb. 1 at 9 a.m. via Zoom.
Looking forward: There will be two CCFOI meetings in February. A special meeting on membership recruitment will be Feb. 1 at 9 a.m. via Zoom. The regular monthly meeting will be Feb. 15 at 9 a.m. via Zoom.