Connecticut Freedom of Information Act
The Connecticut Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies in Connecticut. The law was first enacted in 1975.
The Connecticut Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.
Statues 1-200 through 1-259 define these transparency laws.
To learn more about how to make a public records request in this state, please see: Connecticut FOIA procedures.
- See also: Connecticut transparency headlines
- Milford mayor again declines to release report 2009-05-29 11:04:39
- FOI officer recommends city victory 2009-05-29 11:02:15
- Ex-official claims selectmen held illegal meetings in Winsted 2009-05-29 10:59:38
- Friends of Open Space consider their options after commission ruling 2009-05-29 10:51:41
- FOI officer: Winsted violated Freedom of Information law 2009-05-27 18:48:14
- HARTFORD: Commission Orders City To Surrender Records 2009-05-27 18:29:03
- Small-Town First Selectmen Want Website Law Repealed 2010-11-24 09:47:23
- Towns seek relief from state Web site rule 2009-05-29 10:45:32
- FOI Commission rules for Herald 2009-05-29 10:42:48
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Relevant legal cases
- See also: Court cases with an impact on state FOIA
Here is a list of lawsuits in Connecticut. For more information go the the page or go to Connecticut sunshine lawsuits.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please click the icon to the right of the Year heading)
|Board of Trustees of Woodstock Academy v. FOIC||1980|
|Coalition to Save Horsebarn Hill v. FOIC||2002|
|Connecticut Humane Society v. FOIC||1991|
|Domestic Violence Services. v. FOIC||1998|
|Hallas v. FOIC||1989|
|Lieberman v. State Board of Labor Relations||1990|
|Shew v. FOIC||1998|
|Valvo v. Freedom of Information Commission||2010|
|Wilson v. Freedom of Information Commission||1980|
We do not currently have any legislation for Connecticut in 2011. To add some, please see WikiProject Proposed state sunshine legislation.
Here are a list of 30 random bills from Connecticut from 2010. For a full list, please see Connecticut transparency legislation.
- House Bill 5009  would allow towns more time to post minutes from public agency meetings on their web sites.
- House Bill 5314  would relieve municipalities of costly mandates by authorizing the posting of legal notices on municipal web sites.
- House Bill 5365  would provide meeting minute online posting mandate relief to towns and cities.
- House Bill 5368  would delay the implementation of the mandate on municipalities to post information on web sites.
- House Bill 5371  would provide local taxpayer relief from an unfunded mandate regarding posting of municipal information on web sites.
- House Bill 5379  To provide mandate relief to towns and cities regarding posting meeting minutes online.
- House Bill 5384  would provide mandate relief by delaying implementation of requirements requiring the posting of town minutes and agendas on the Internet.
- House Bill 5953  would enable towns to post required legal notices on their web sites rather than in newspapers.
- House Bill 5954  would establish a government transparency website to enable the public to track state spending and to promote transparency.
- House Bill 5957  would accommodate warrant scanning technology by permitting the copying of public documents using a portable scanner.
- House Bill 5959  would require the Office of Policy and Management and the Office of Fiscal Analysis each post the state budget on their respective web sites.
- House Bill 5960  would require state agencies to post their regulations on their web sites.
- House Bill 5962  would establish a searchable online database of state expenditures.
- Senate Bill 68  would provide relief to smaller municipalities from certain requirements under the Freedom of Information Act.
- Senate Bill 201  seeks to acknowledge that state funded group homes perform an important government function and that the public has a right to know how such homes are being managed and operated under the purview of the Freedom of Information Act.
- Senate Bill 333  would relieve towns of the burden of posting meeting minutes and agendas on their web sites.
- Senate Bill 340  seeks to enable easier public examination of all state contracts.
- Senate Bill 521  would require full disclosure and transparency in state contracting.
- Senate Bill 523  would establish a state website tracking the award of state grants and contracts.
- Senate Bill 772  would revise the requirement that minutes from a public agency's sessions be posted on such agency's web site within seven days of such session.
- Senate Bill 912  would ensure access to certain court records under FOIA, except those records that relate directly to decision-making in individual cases.
Transparency report card
A 2008 study, BGA - Alper Integrity Index, conducted by the Better Government Association and sponsored by Alper Services, ranked Connecticut #14 in the nation with an overall percentage of 57.40%. 
A 2007 study, Graded state responsiveness to FOI requests, conducted by BGA and the NFOIC, gave Connecticut 53 points out of a possible 100, a letter grade of "F", and a ranking of 18 out of the 50 states.
Features of the law
- Compare States: Sunshine variations: Click on the heading to compare your state's law to other state's transparency laws.
The Connecticut Freedom of Information Act does not contain a declared legal intention or statement of purpose.
"Public records or files" means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method" (Chapter 14, section 1-200).
Exemptions to open records include:
- Preliminary drafts or notes whose disclosure does not outweigh the public benefit of withholding them
- "Personnel or medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy" (see section 14.1-210.2)
- Records of law enforcement agencies which are still currently in pre-trial or trial phase or which would place victims or culprits in danger.
- Strategy or negotiation concerning pending litigation.
- Trade Secrets
- Financial information, freely given and not required by statute
- Licensing tests and statements of personal worth.
- Collective bargaining records and reports.
- Personal information including names and addresses of students enrolled in any school
- Adoption records
- Records of complaints
- Any information that would jeopardize security at corrections facilities, infrastructure, telecommunications or the security of any individuals
- Home addresses of anyone within the Address Confidentiality Program
Connecticut has a legislatively adopted exemption for working papers with the intention of protecting the free flow of information and opinions. The exemption covers all levels of government including the executive, legislative, judicial and even local government. 
The FOIA covers almost all political bodies and institutions within Connecticut including committees, employees, and all governmental departments. The exemptions include the Division of Criminal justice and any committee composed individuals who are outside of the government, which, through petition, has been declared exempt by the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission (see section 14.1-201 and 1.202). 
The Connecticut State Legislature is subject to the provisions of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act according to Connecticut General Statutes 14.1-200.
Board of Trustees of Woodstock Academy v. FOIC established that a private entity must:
- Perform a public function.
- Receive public funding.
- Be controlled or managed by a public entity.
- Be created by a governmental entity.
In order to be considered a public body and be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
Status: Presumed/Judicially confirmed Popular Exemptions Research Donors Examinations Course Materials
The definition of public body presumably includes public universities within the state. This presumption was confirmed in Polman v. UConn School of Law which held that the University of Connecticut School of Law was a public body. Names and addresses of students are explicitly exempted. 
According to Connecticut law, anyone may request public records (see section 14.1-210). 
There is nothing in Connecticut law that requires a purpose to be stated.
There is nothing within the law that restricts the use of open records.
- 4 days
The allotted response time for Connecticut open records requests is four days.
Fees for records
Connecticut allows for charging fees which include duplication fees . Fees may be exempted if it is deemed that the person making the request cannot afford them, if the request is made in the interest of the general welfare or if the person making the request is an elected public official requesting the information on behalf of his office (Connecticut FOIA 1-212.d).
Connecticut allows for charging fees which include the cost of employee time in searching for the requested documents.
There is currently no provision within the state open records law that empowers the State Department of Law to enforce the right of the public to access governmental records.
The Connecticut public records law also requires there to be a Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission. This commission consists of 5 members appointed by the Governor, paid $200/day that they take part in commission hearings or other duties.
The Commission's primary responsibility is to review allegations of FOIA violations, and issues orders pertaining to them.
The CT FOIC has already seen more than 800 complaints in 2008, up from only 716 in 2007, making this the busiest year since the commission's formation. 
- To read more about open meetings laws in Connecticut, pleas see: Connecticut Open Meetings Law
"The meetings of all public agencies, except executive sessions, as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-200, shall be open to the public. The votes of each member of any such public agency upon any issue before such public agency shall be reduced to writing and made available for public inspection within forty-eight hours and shall also be recorded in the minutes of the session at which taken, which minutes shall be available for public inspection within seven days of the session to which they refer."
- Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission
- Connecticut FOIA procedures
- Connecticut transparency headlines
- Connecticut transparency advocates
- Connecticut transparency legislation
- Private agency, public dollars-Connecticut
- Connecticut Open Meetings Law
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5009
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5314
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5365
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5368
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5371
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5379
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5384
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5953
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5954
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5957
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5959
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5960
- ↑ Text & Status of HB5962
- ↑ Text & Status of SB68
- ↑ Text & Status of SB201
- ↑ Text & Status of SB333
- ↑ Text & Status of SB340
- ↑ Text & Status of SB521
- ↑ Text & Status of SB523
- ↑ Text & Status of SB772
- ↑ Text & Status of SB912
- ↑ 2008 BGA-Alper Integrity Index
- ↑ States Failing FOI Responsiveness, National Freedom of Information Coalition, October 2007
- ↑ Freedom of Information in the USA, 2002
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 25.7 25.8 Connecticut FOIA
- ↑ Deliberative process exemption-Connecticut
- ↑ Private agency, public dollars-Connecticut
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 RCFP Open Gov. Guide, CT
- ↑ Business booming for FOI Commission, September 30, 2008
- ↑ Chapter 14, section 1-225
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