Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
Minutes, Sept. 21, 2016
The meeting was at Wood-n-Tap, 99 Sisson Ave., Hartford.
Present: Dan Klau, Dick Ahles, Morgan McGinley, Chris Powell, Mitch Pearlman, Mike Savino, Michele Jacklin, Jeff Daniels, Zach Janowski, Tom Scheffey, George Lombardi, Mary Connolly, Colleen Murphy, John Bailey.
The minutes of the June 15, 2016 annual meeting were accepted. CCFOI did not meet in July and August.
Treasurer’s report: Lombardi reported a balance of $11,067.09. There was discussion of dues. Letters requesting payments are usually sent in October. Klau suggested representatives of CCFOI visit member organizations to update them on what we are doing and what they get for their dues payments.
Lobbying contract: The lobbying contract with TCORS Capitol Group is up for renewal. There was discussion of inviting bids from TCOR and other lobbying firms, as has been done in the past.
Legislative Committee report: Co-chairs Daniels and Jacklin presented recommendations for the 2017 legislative agenda. It was unanimously approved. It includes budget independence for watchdog agencies, access to historic records, FOI use in quasi-governmental agencies and authorities, and the problem of FOI nullification in collective bargaining contracts.
The FOI Pledge will once again be circulated to legislative candidates requesting their commitment to FOI. The request will be sent to candidates the first week of October.
Anti-SLAPP efforts: Lombardi reported the Connecticut Broadcasters Association would welcome CCFOI’s support for its efforts against SLAPP lawsuits. SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” These lawsuits are used by corporations, developers and wealthy individuals as a means of intimidating critics who publicly question their activities. News organizations also have been targets for simply reporting the criticism. Nationally and in the states, SLAPP opponents are seeking laws that will discourage such lawsuits, which can quickly bankrupt someone who becomes a target. A motion to support CBA’s efforts on this was unanimously approved.
Looking ahead: The next CCFOI meeting will be Oct. 19 at noon at Wood-n-Tap.