Don’t let’em do it

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

You should all unite, regardless of party, in opposing this latest attempt to keep the public out of the public’s business.

SB 1148, AN ACT REDEFINING “MEETING” FOR PURPOSES OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (GAE)
> (To exempt certain negotiations between the leaders of political parties from being considered a meeting for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act.):
>
> Under Section 1-200(2) of the FOI Act, “meeting” would not include…(E) negotiations between members of different political parties who are in a leadership position, with respect to proposed legislation or a proposed action of the public agency to which such members belong, notwithstanding that such members also constitute a quorum of a public agency” and therefore would not be subject to the FOI Act.
>
> http://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/TOB/S/2013SB-01148-R00-SB.htm
>

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6 thoughts on “Don’t let’em do it

  1. Richard

    Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win.

    Syriana (2005)

    Imagine the shame. Forcing these guys to do business in parking lots and rest rooms in-between campaign stops like that soon-to-be-indicted what’s his name.

    Bring on the grand prize: The best Manila envelope of the year award!

  2. Reader

    I don’t always agree with you, Colin, but on this, I couldn’t agree with you more. It is bad enough that discussions within political caucuses remain sealed – now they want to seal off discussions *between* political caucuses? This isn’t open government, it’s closed government, and it’s wrong.

  3. peter brush

    I can’t be bothered to make out the law for the legalese. I can see that what’s being considered is open/closed meetings of particular sorts. I love this one: “…an administrative or staff meeting of a single-member public agency…”

    Open proceedings are desirable, but the FOIA, as with other laws, can be cumbersome, interfere with practical living. I can’t tell in this instance. A hypothetical example would help.

    On the other hand, it is apparently difficult to get information about the substantive results of meetings of Ct. economic development outfits. As characterized by the Courant, anyway, I’m with Mr. K. Lembo on the desirability of mandatory access to information about who got what money, under what terms, and with what public policy results.
    ————————————
    This year’s skirmish involves a bill supported by state Comptroller Kevin Lembo that would establish, among other things, a publicly accessible online database for all state tax credits and economic assistance programs.

    Mr. Lembo, a champion of transparency, believes taxpayers have a right to know who gets how much assistance, its purpose, its promises in terms of jobs and economic impact and the actual results. He’s right. “In this environment, we must make every effort to ensure that the dollars we spend, or forego, in an effort to generate greater economic output are well spent,” the comptroller said in written testimony to the legislature’s Finance Committee.
    http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-lembo-right-on-transparency-in-ec-developmen-20130318,0,1524718.story

  4. Thomas Cosgrove

    I get the gist of this bill but don’t totally understand the import of the wording due to its legalese. Nevertheless I feel passionate that FOI is too all inclusive. I have been on the Bristol Downtown Development Corporation for 5 years. Our first 2 meetings were basically taken up by the minutia of FOI. We were paying an attorney several hundred dollars an hour for this “instruction”. Where a couple of phone calls could have speeded our process, it was not allowed by FOI. FOI probably costs tens of millions of dollars statewide.

    Our project is to get a developer and oversee the development of a 17 acre parcel of land downtown. We are succeeding but the bureaucratic nightmare of FOI has made hiring a law firm, a parking consultant, an environmental engineer et.al. very difficult and costly. A former member had a relative working for a possible developer. Nobody would bring the fact up in public and FOI prevented us from addressing the problem in private.

    Does every single little municipal commission have to follow every provision of FOI????? I think it has to be reined in. I am a firm believer in government regulation but everything should have limits.

  5. peter brush

    Transparency may not require bureaucratic complexity, but they often go hand in hand.
    —————————–
    A majority of bankers interviewed by FDIC reported that their banks are increasingly relying on outside consultants and lawyers to help them interpret and understand the new rules.
    Many fretted that they weren’t clear what was required to comply with the law and whether they would pass bank examinations.
    Wall Street banks, meanwhile, are hiring small armies of outside advisers to navigate the hundreds of new rules. They are expected to spend nearly $4 billion on compliance technology alone.
    The law has spawned a cottage industry — dubbed Dodd-Frank Inc. — just to cope with all the new rules.
    The regulatory onslaught is a boon only for lawyers and government workers.
    Implementing Dodd-Frank required 2,850 additional federal employees just in its first two years — at a cost to taxpayers of $1.3 billion.
    Of course, hiring consultants and compliance officers instead of loan officers and underwriters won’t help the economy over the long run.
    In fact, Dodd-Frank contributed to slowing the recovery by creating hundreds of business uncertainties that froze the financial sector and the flow of credit to industries.

    Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/032113-648962-fdic-says-dodd-frank-hurting-small-banks.htm#ixzz2OH58HFM6

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