Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
Minutes, April 16, 2014
The meeting was at Wood-N-Tap, 99 Sisson Ave., Hartford.
The minutes of the March 19, 2014, meeting were accepted.
Present: Jim Smith, Dick Ahles, Gary Gold, Mitch Pearlman, Paula Pearlman, Colleen Murphy, Zachary Janowski, Mary Connolly, Chris Powell.
Treasurer’s report: Treasurer George Lombardi was absent. Smith said the balance is about $20,000.
Legislative report: Chris VanDeHoef had to attend another meeting but sent an update to Smith. He’s not sure what will happen in the last couple weeks of the legislative session, but Senate President Don Williams is standing firm in his opposition to the privacy/FOI task force proposal to put new limits on access to documents related to homicides. He said Garvin Ambrose, the state victim advocate and a member of the task force, is lobbying hard for new limits.
VanDeHoef reports the Judiciary Committee killed the state Board of Pardons proposal to keep its applications secret. The bill to apply the FOIA to the UConn Foundation is dead. The bill to allow access to historical records, including the medical records of Civil War veterans, is alive but there is still a dispute over access to the names.
Media watchfulness: Mitch Pearlman said media attention to the task force recommendations helped build opposition to them. Because odd things can happen in the last days of a legislative session, he said the media needs to be alert and keep up the pressure.
Annual meeting: This will be in June, but the place has not been determined. Usually, the annual meeting is at the Hartford Club. Smith said nominations are needed for annual awards and CCFOI officers. The Bice Clemow Award is given to nonjournalists who promote transparency in government. The Stephen Collins Memorial Award goes to journalists who work on open government issues. Champion of Open Government awards also are given. Nominations should be sent to Smith.
Looking ahead: The next CCFOI meeting will be May 21 at noon at Wood-N-Tap.