Kudos to Representative Ed Jutila (D-East Lyme) and eight other members of the Government Administration and Elections (GAE) committee for voting to send Raised Bill 6750 to the floor of the House for consideration. (Read CT News Junkie’s story about the vote.)
I’ve written about the importance of Raised Bill 6750 in a previous post; it would overrule a bad Connecticut Supreme Court decision that substantially curtailed public access to arrest-related records. The proposed bill would restore the Freedom of Information Commission’s longstanding interpretation of state law, which allowed greater access to such records, subject to important exemptions, including protecting the identity of witnesses and avoiding disclosures that would prejudice a prospective law enforcement action. The bill strikes the proper balance between the public’s right to know and law enforcement’s need to avoid premature disclosure of certain information in order to protect the integrity of investigations and potential prosecutions..
John Dankosky, host of WNPR’s “Where We Live,” has been a very good friend to freedom of information (FOI) in Connecticut, often using his show as a opportunity to educate the public about the importance of FOI. Last week he taped a show dedicated entirely to FOI at Quinnipiac University before a student audience. I was honored to be one of four persons invited to participate in the panel discussion. The show aired this morning. Click here for the link to the show.
UPDATE (5:00 pm): CT-N covered the panel discussion. Click here to watch the CT-N video. (Warning: Many readers may find simply listening to my voice more pleasant than looking at my face.)
UPDATE 2.0: I can’t believe I forgot to mention a silly song I wrote about the FOI a few years back. Click here for a musical history of the state Freedom of Information Act!
(Used with permission of the CT Post)
Most freedom of information (“FOI”) statutes are “reactive” in nature. That is, a person must affirmatively ask the government to disclose a document and the government must then respond. But there is a growing trend towards a “proactive” FOI model, in which state and local (and federal) governments put their documents online, by posting them on a government website, for example.