CCFOI legislative accomplishments for 2023

By Michele Jacklin, CCFOI legislative co-chair

In 2023, which was a 5-month legislative session, CCFOI – in collaboration with its lobbyist, Liz Gemski – was involved on many fronts and with many committees. Board members met with key legislators and testified on bills to enhance and protect the Freedom of Information Act and oppose bills to dilute the FOIA and diminish government transparency. With the exception of one measure, CCFOI was extremely successful in defeating proposals that would have hampered your ability to access information.

Here is a sampling of what CCFOI accomplished:

  • Working closely with Sen. James Maroney, CCFOI was instrumental in helping to pass groundbreaking legislation (SB 1103) that will boost transparency regarding the state’s use of algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI). In addition, a CCFOI representative and a Freedom of Information Commission official were named to a 21-member working group that was asked to provide guidance to the legislature on the use of AI, including best practices and the equitable use of AI in state government.
  • Helped win approval of a measure (SB 1221) that increases the FOIC’s ability to penalize organizations and government bodies that violate the FOIA.
  • Helped defeat a dangerous and far-reaching bill (SB 1153) that would have exempted from public disclosure virtually all records, documents and research at public universities and colleges.
  • Helped defeat a bill (SB 1157) that would have exempted from public disclosure the residential addresses of nearly all state and municipal employees.
  • Helped defeat a bill (SB 1222) that would have exempted from public disclosure certain police body and dashboard camera footage, including footage taken in private homes.
  • Helped defeat a bill (HB 6912) that would have exempted from public disclosure residential addresses of most election workers.
  • Won approval of additional funding that allowed the FOIC to hire badly needed staff.

Despite exhaustive efforts to block passage of SB 1154, the bill was enacted and signed into law. It exempts from public disclosure all whistleblower complaints filed with the state auditors. CCFOI is working this year on compromise language that would allow summaries of the complaints to be made public.