Carveouts and exceptions from FOIA should be considered seriously, with the understanding that a transparent government is the only way to keep and expand democratic freedoms for all of us.

House Bill 5879 seeks to ensure that lists with contact information for constituents created or possessed by state legislators are not disclosable. This bill as drafted excludes entirely too much information that the public has a right to from disclosure. As written, lists of lobbyists or government officials could be exempt from disclosure, even though such information is certainly something that the public has a right to see. Even if the bill were clarified to include only constituents, it would be contrary to open government principles to exclude the information covered in this bill. The contact information the bill seeks to shield reveals important and relevant information about whether a person in contact with a legislator about legislation or public duties is a constituent or not. Past decisions from the Freedom of Information Commission confirm that some of the information covered by this bill is a matter of public record. Because the ACLU-CT believes in open government for the good of democracy, we must oppose House Bill 5494, and we urge the legislature to do the same.



Bill number

H.B. 5494