Connecticut Freedom of Information Act
The Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, enacted in 1975, is a series of laws that guarantee the public access to public records of governmental bodies in Connecticut. Public records include 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. This data or information can be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
Anyone may request public records and a purpose does not need to be stated. There are no restrictions on the use of the records and the allotted response time for Connecticut open requests is four days.
The Connecticut Open Meetings Law, which is included in the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, defines meetings as all gatherings of or communications to a quorum of members of a multi-member public agency with the intention of discussing or deciding on public policy. Some exemptions are employment search committees for executive positions, chance meetings, collective bargaining, single party caucus meetings, if the group does not constitute a quorum.
If the Connecticut Open Meetings Law is violated, Individuals have 30 days to file an appeal with the Freedom of Information Commission from the date it became known that the public agency had violated the law. The Commission must hold a hearing within 30 days of receiving the appeal and must decide within 60.
Exemptions to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act 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”
- 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 correctional facilities, infrastructure, telecommunications or the security of any individuals
- Home addresses of anyone within the Address Confidentiality Program
Closed in meetings: Certain personnel matters; collective bargaining and negotiating sessions; administrative staff meetings; certain real estate transactions; security strategy; and pending litigation negotiations.
Visit, Connecticut Sample FOIA Request, to view a sample FOIA request for the state.