Final Decision FIC2013-051
In the Matter of a Complaint by
||Docket #FIC 2013-051|
Edward Meyer, Member, State of
Connecticut, Connecticut State Senate,
April 22, 2015
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 20, 2015, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. For purposes of hearing, the above-captioned matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2013-062, David Godbout v. Andrea Stillman, Member, State of Connecticut, Connecticut State Senate.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
2. It is found that on January 22, 2013, the complainant made a multi-part request to inspect records relating to “SB122,” which referred to legislation proposed by the respondent. It is found, in particular, that the complainant’s request included a request for printed records, electronic records and other records, and included a request for responsive records of the internet browsing history of the respondent’s aide and all records pertaining to a certain website (http://forum.opencarry.org
3. By letter filed February 4, 2013, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to permit him to inspect the records he requested.
4. Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:
Public records or files means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, …whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
5. Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides, in relevant part:
Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. .
6. It is concluded that the records requested by the complainant are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.
7. It is found that on February 13, 2013, the respondent replied to the complainant. It is found that the chief legal counsel for the Senate Democrats supervised the search. It is found that the attorney met with the respondent’s senate aide and reviewed the request. It is found that the aide searched for responsive records, and met with the respondent to determine whether he maintained any responsive records that the aide did not discover in his search.
8. With respect to Items 1 and 2 of the complainant’s request, which seeks records that relate to SB122 in general, the respondent provided a link to a report on the website of the Office of Legislative Research, as well as copies of e-mails.
9. With respect to Item 3, which seeks copies of the internet browsing history of the respondent’s senate aide, it is found that at the time of the complainant’s request, the respondent did not retain internet browser histories.
10. Similarly, it is found that the respondent informed the complainant that he does not maintain any records containing a directive to “spy…or otherwise examine websites that are thought to or are or may be opposed to SB122 and other gun control bills.”
11. It is found that the respondent informed the complainant that he maintained no records of an internet search or examination of any websites related to SB122 or other gun control bills, including http://forum.opencarry.org
12. It is found that the respondent informed the complainant that his senate aide received a “Google Alert” that the senator was mentioned in a post on the website referenced in paragraph 11, above, but it is found that the respondent did not, and does not, maintain a record of such “Google Alert.”
13. It is found that the respondent complied with the complainant’s request.
14. The Commission, in its discretion, denies the complainant’s request that the Commission subpoena the respondent’s aide to testify about the scope of his search.
15. It is concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 22, 2015.
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
15 Cardinal Road
East Lyme, CT 06333
Edward Meyer, Member, State of Connecticut,
Connecticut State Senate
c/o Philip Miller, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
State of Connecticut,
Office of the Attorney General
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission