CCFOI Meeting Minutes – March 6, 2024

Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information

Minutes, March 6, 2024

The meeting was via Zoom.

Present: Mike Saveno, Tom Scheffey, Jacqueline Smith, Mary Connolly, Jeff Daniels, Michele Jacklin, Mitch Pearlman, Chris Powell, Karen Florin, Jodie Gil, David DesRoches, Paula Pearlman, Russell Blair, Liz Gemski.

We were joined by Russell Blair, the FOIC’s new director of education and communications, a former reporter and editor at the Hartford Courant and the Record-Journal in Meriden.

Legislative update: This was a special meeting to discuss the status of the legislative session. Paula Pearlman outlined a legislative proposal on how FOI requests should be handled when information has been shared by one or more state agencies. The Office of Policy and Management, which did not reach out to FOIC on this, proposes that the FOI request must go to the originating agency. This creates an obstacle, as people trying to obtain public information are being sent from one agency to another.

House Bill 5315: It would require members participating in a municipal public agency meeting by means of electronic equipment be visible when debating or voting, with exceptions for equipment failure.

House Bill 5410: This would create an exemption from disclosure under FOI for records of an investigation or complaint of alleged sexual harassment, discriminatory practice, the name of a person providing such information, and records of a registry of people with cognitive challenges created by law enforcement to assist the recovery of missing or wandering people.

Senate Bill 355: Recommended by the FOIC, this includes language clarifications, including the definition of hand-held scanners. This is the third year the FOIC is seeking approval of this legislation.

Looking ahead: The next monthly meeting will be March 20 at 9 a.m. via Zoom. The next legislative update meeting will be April 3 at 9 a.m. via Zoom.