Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
Special Meeting, March 1, 2023
The meeting was via Zoom.
Present: Tom Scheffey, Jacqueline Smith, Mary Connolly, Jeff Daniels, Mitch Pearlman, Gary Gold, Chris Powell, Karen Florin, David DesRoches, Paula Pearlman, Liz Gemski.
Legislative update: This special meeting was scheduled to keep updated on the legislative session. We’re off to a start with plenty of concern. There was agreement to prepare op-eds to focus public attention on anti-FOI legislative proposals now being considered. Gemski outlined three “bad bills” released by the Government Administration and Elections Committee.
- SB 1153 would establish an FOI exemption from disclosure for certain higher education records pertaining to research or teaching. SB 1154 would implement the recommendations of the auditors of public accounts, including to exempt the disclosure of whistleblower complaints received by the auditors.
- SB 1157 would expand the list of public agency employees whose residential addresses are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. This expansion would include federal and state judges, municipal and state law enforcement officers, employees of the Department of Correction, state prosecutors, state public defenders, social workers in the public defender division, inspectors in the Division of Criminal Justice, firefighters, employees of the Department of Children and Families, employees and members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, employees of the judicial branch, direct care employees of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, members and employees of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, state marshals, judicial marshals employed by the judicial branch, employees of the Department of Aging and Disability Services who determine services, employees of the Office of the Attorney General.
- SB 1155, a “good bill” recommended by the FOI Commission, includes the long-desired clarification that a hand-held scanner definition would allow the use of a mobile telephone, camera or any other portable device to copy a public record.
These bills will be the subject of a GAE public hearing Monday, March 6, at 11 a.m. in Room 2A of the LOB and on Zoom.
Looking forward: The next monthly meeting of CCFOI will be March 15 at 9 a.m. via Zoom.