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Government

Bill Would Impose Fee On Excessive FOIA Requests

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In Connecticut a bill before the legislature seeks to limit frivolous complaints to the state’s Freedom of Information Commission.

Republican State Representative Adam Dunsby of Easton proposed the bill. It would impose a $125 fee for two or more complaints submitted to the commission within a calendar year.  

During a public hearing this week, Dunsby said these numerous complaints are not about transparency.  

“The individual who is filing tens or hundreds of complaints is not interested in records. Their objective is to harass public officials.”

Dansby said over the last two years, one person filed 135 complaints. He pointed out that they were complaints and not requests for information.  

Daniel Klau, president of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, a non-profit that advocates for First Amendment rights, spoke against the bill.

“We believe it would have a serious chilling effect, if you will, on the citizens exercising their fundamental right to access public records and meetings of public agencies.”   

Klau agrees there’s a problem with filing excessive complaints but that the fee is an extreme response.  

This report contains information from CRN.