Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
Minutes, March 15, 2023
The meeting was via Zoom.
Present: Tom Scheffey, Mitch Pearlman, Gary Gold, Jeff Daniels, Michele Jacklin, Jacqueline Smith, Mary Connolly, Chris Powell, Karen Florin, Colleen Murphy, Paula Pearlman, Liz Gemski.
The minutes of the Feb. 15, 2023 monthly meeting and the March 1, 2023 special meeting were accepted.
Treasurer’s report: Smith reported a balance of $14,036.78.
Legislative report: Daniels reported it has been a busy couple of weeks and too many bad bills to fight. He met with the Connecticut Legislative Black and Puerto Rican Caucus on our advocacy of transparency on the use of algorithms in public policy decisions. He said caucus members were interested in the issue but asked about CCFOI membership and our work. Daniels said this is a reminder of the importance of recruiting a diverse board membership. Conversations continue on proposals to expand the list of public agency employees whose residential addresses are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Gemski pointed out anyone can go on the internet and learn a lot more about a state employee than a residential address. Murphy updated the status of legislative support for increasing the fines available to the FOIC to punish agencies that do not follow the FOI Act. At the same time, she said, legislators are “giving away exemptions” from the FOI Act, such as the proposal on exempting more residential addresses. There was agreement that more op-eds need to be published to focus attention on pending anti-FOI legislative proposals.
Looking ahead: The next special meeting will be April 5 at 9 a.m. via Zoom. The regular monthly meeting will be April 19 at 9 a.m. via Zoom.