Eleven House of Representative and three state Senate candidates have either signed up or expressed an interest in signing a pledge to protect the Freedom of Information Commission.
In asking candidates to sign the pledge, Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information President Daniel J. Klau said, “A successful democracy requires open, transparent, and accountable government. Yet freedom of information and the public’s right to know about Connecticut state and municipal governments have been under increasing attack in recent years.’’
The pledge asks candidates to support freedom of information in Connecticut in three specific ways:
—Support Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act, including the independence of the state’s unique Freedom of Information Commission, and oppose weakening it.
—Support the Freedom of Information Commission and resist further reductions in its budget, recognizing that the commission has already experienced disproportionate budget cuts and that further personnel reductions will render the commission unable to serve as a meaningful “watchdog” agency for the state, to meet its statutory obligations to decide Freedom of Information Act appeals in a timely manner, and to educate state and municipal officials about how to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.
—Do whatever the candidate can to require that any proposals to weaken or impair the FOI Act be presented for debate at public hearings before any action is taken on them.
Earlier this year, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration backed off its attempt to make watchdog agencies, including the Freedom of Information, save even more money than what was proposed in the budget approved by the General Assembly. A 2004 law largely protects the agencies from unilateral budget cuts, but CCFOI and other advocacy groups believe the law should be strengthen and the issue will undoubtedly be raised during the next legislative session.
To date the following candidates have signed the pledge or expressed their intent to do so, according to Klau:
Senate: Democrat Beth Bye, 5th District; Republican Earle Roberts, 9th District; Republican Michael McLachlan, 24th District.
House: Democrat David Baram, 15th District; Democrat Bob Godfrey, 110th District; Democrat Joseph Gresko 121st District; Republican Robert Samson, 80 District; Republican Todd Schaller, 65th District; Democrat Derek Slap, 19th District; Republican Pam Staneski, 119th District; Republican Scott Storms, 60th District; Green Party Ronna Stuller, 39th District; Republican Joseph Mark C. Taraya, 139th District; Democrat Peter Tercyak, 26th District.
CCFOI will update the list of candidates who have signed the pledge daily. A link to the list of candidates will be available on CCFOI’s website, http://ctfoicouncil.nfoic.net.