CCFOI Meeting Minutes – March 20, 2024

Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information

Minutes, March 20, 2024

The meeting was via Zoom.

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

The minutes of the Feb. 21, 2024 monthly meeting and the March 6, 2024 legislative update meeting were accepted.

Treasurer’s report: Smith reported a balance of $9,613.46. She said the dues letter has been mailed.

Legislative report: Senate Bill 394 remains a problem for FOI advocates. It would create an exemption from disclosure under the FOI Act for records maintained by faculty or staff of a public higher education institution that were created “out of teaching or research on medical, artistic, scientific, legal or other scholarly issues, including any such records of legal clinics or centers …”

The UConn faculty union testified the exemption is needed to provide protection from “malicious requests that only intend to harass, intimidate, or discredit scientists whose research or teaching they simply don’t like …”  Proponents have claimed UConn will have difficulty attracting new faculty without the FOI exemption. They have not presented evidence that faculty members have resigned because their research records are subject to the FOI Act.

Annual meeting: There was discussion that we should begin planning for our annual meeting in June, the election of officers and the selection of award winners. No decisions were made.

Looking ahead: The next legislative update meeting will be April 3 at 9 a.m. via Zoom. The next monthly meeting will be April 17 at 9 a.m. via Zoom.