'Amazing. And scary.'
Here's what some readers are saying about the planned dismemberment of Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission:
Thomas Paine said...
The first objective in almost any military operation is to shut down the opponents command and control, or more simply: Communication. By shutting down the public's access to communications by it's OWN government, the objective of stopping the opposing communication of reporters to the public is achieved. The only information is what the government decides to provide, and maybe even false information. With no real knowledge of what the government does corruption can flourish!
This is just one of MANY changes that are taking place right before our eyes that are eviscerating the rights that centuries of Americans have fought and died over. Pretty soon we can get all our information directly from the government. That would save a lot of money! Sort of like the government sponsored "Pravda" in the old Soviet Union! Was the information valid? Nope, but the government didn't care? In fact, it suited that vile, totalitarian regime just fine. We are perilously close to the same right here in the USA.
As I have always said, "they didn't make it the First Amendment for nothing"!!
I am curious about the civil penalties. I previously filed a complaint with the FOI Commission and it was stated at that time that they rarely impose civil penalties. Do you know if this is true?
andy thibault said...
I believe that is the case.
They can impose fines of up to $1,000 and compel officials to testify by subpoena.
Leadership could try a different approach by making offenders pay and holding them accountable. Also, the Legislature could close loopholes and establish meaningful levels of fines instead of trying to weaken FOI with stupid bills every year.
I think the offending public agency should pay. I know that the first time I went through this, it did seem that even though they did not have any civil penalty, they were not pleased that they were found in violation. However it would make sense to "encourage" agencies to be more mindful if there was a civil penalty. The complaint I have recently filed against a different town agency really should have monetary value placed on it. These government agencies need to understand that they cannot just get away with hiding information. I am glad I found your blog. I just searched for and found SB1009. It appears it was favorably voted out of committee now? Only one (Ben Barnes) supported it in testimony and the rest opposed it. Amazing. And scary.
Cool Justice Editor's Note:
The ludicrous bill to destroy FOI in Connecticut has been blessed by the Legislature's Government Administration and Elections Committee. It remains alive. I'll talk about this today at 9:30 a.m. with Mike Bellamy on WICC radio show in Bridgeport, 600 AM.
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