CHAIRMEN: Senator Musto

Representative Jutila

MEMBERS PRESENT:

SENATORS: McLachlan, Meyer

REPRESENTATIVES: Hwang, Conroy, Labriola,

Lemar, Lesser, Miller, Molgano, Rebimbas, Sear

SENATOR MUSTO: Good afternoon. We're going to convene the public hearing for the GAE Committee.

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So we have a public hearing today on several bills and what we're going to do is we have some of our elected officials and other state officials signed up to speak. We'll have an hour of testimony from them and to the extent that we don't finish them we'll go back and forth from the public list to the officials list.

First up is our state Controller, Kevin Lembo, Comptroller.

Good afternoon, Mr. Comptroller.

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: Good afternoon, Senator. And I promise not to use a lot of time on your agenda but the ball is in your court ultimately. So if you don't keep me here, I'll be out of your hair.

Senator Musto, Representative Jutila, members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to be with you today and to talk about a bill that you raised again this year, as you did last year, that makes some technical changes that relate to the Office of State Comptroller.

I've submitted written testimony so I won't read through it and I will just highlight a couple of the sections. Section 1 changes the report on the status of the core financial system from every year to every two years.

The system is about -- more than 10 years old now. It's very stable. It just went through a very successful upgrade and we feel like the -- the time that it takes to do the report is probably best placed in other activities and so every other year will give you the same picture as it does on an annual basis. So as an administrative burden would lighten things up a bit.

Section 2 raises the threshold on state-owned property to $5,000 consistent with the federal guidelines. This number hasn't been updated for inflation in 15 years and there's plenty of best practice associated with this new number and there will be no loss to the state but rather will help us to really focus on the articles of owned property that we want to pay close attention to versus every single laser jet printer on someone's desk that costs about 120 bucks today.

The third section, it -- it makes some changes that are consistent with other changes you've made in the past. This one the Insurance Risk Management Board used to be under the Comptroller's office. It is now over at DAS and this aligns that section of the statute to be consistent with that change that was already made.

The fourth section clarifies the Comptroller's role on the Retirement Commission. You'll remember a number of years ago you added the Treasurer as an ex officio member, inserted language that allowed her to have a designee and this just synchs up the language with what you did in the Treasurer's section so there's no question about the roles that the Treasurer and the Comptroller have at the Retirement Commission, both being ex officio and both having the opportunity to appoint a designee to that Commission should the need arise. From time to time if I'm unavailable and the Deputy is unavailable, we simply can't send anyone else because of the restriction in the statute.

The fifth section, the Risk Management Board again is over at DAS. Responsibility for buying insurance for the Connecticut building at the Big E needs to go with that change.

The sixth section changes the due date on the report of the flexible spending accounts so we can give you the most accurate data in the cycle that it's in. If we make this change, it will give you more up-to-date information.

Seven section is just a -- a pointing change and it -- in the statute now it points to the incorrect statute and we need it to point not to 4a-72 but -- or to 4a-72 not to 4a-71.

And finally section eight eliminates the CORE policy board which was the implementation board for the CORE financial system. There is a CORE Steering Committee now that is in place. It's made up of all stakeholders from the various agencies related to the CORE financial system and they meet on a weekly basis, if not more often, but the implementation board is no longer needed so would like to just clean up the statute and strike it.

And with that I will stop talking and thank you for your attention.

REP. JUTILA: Thank you for your testimony. Good to see you.

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: Good to see you, Representative Jutila.

REP. JUTILA: Just one quick question. On the item on the designee for the Retirement Commission --

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: Uh-huh.

REP. JUTILA: -- I -- I assume that you're looking for someone who can actually fill in at the meeting for you and -- and participate in taking action. I mean I'm assuming that it's a public meeting and anyone could come and sit in if they wanted to.

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: Yes it is a public meeting and it would not be a permanent designee, Representative, it would just be in the case of again in the situation where I nor the Deputy, neither one of us, could be there which has happened once but I think it's better to have the contingency in place so I could send, for example, our general counsel or someone who is familiar with the operation of the Board and the Agency.

REP. JUTILA: And then that person would be able to act on your behalf --

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: That's correct.

REP. JUTILA: -- and vote and -- if votes come up (inaudible).

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: They would have all the powers that I would have in that seat, correct.

REP. JUTILA: Great, all right, thank you.

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: Appreciate it.

REP. JUTILA: Any other members? Questions?

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you, Comptroller Lembo. I -- I just have a couple of questions because I'm not sure I understand what some of these things do so I want to make sure I ask you while you're here.

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: Certainly.

SENATOR MUSTO: The section four again that Representative Jutila just mentioned I believe, are you currently on that board or is this new language that would add the Comptroller designee?

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: No the Comptroller is there as an ex officio member. It just synchs up the language in the Comptroller's section to that that you put in the Treasurer's section under more recent action. But the Comptroller sat ex officio on the board -- or the Retirement Commission rather for many, many years.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay and is that in a different section that's not in this bill or is it -- or -- because I haven't had a chance to read the whole section here. Is -- is the Comptroller in the current language in this bill or is it in a different section that's not in the book here?

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: It -- it -- the Comptroller is in the section of the statute that relates to the Retirement Commission.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay.

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: Yes, again it's just a change not an add.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay, all right, thank you. And the section five is shifting some responsibility from the Comptroller to the state Insurance and Risk Management Board. Is that -- it deals with fire and casualty insurance so I imagine it's an appropriate shift. Have you discussed that with the State Management Board?

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: We have.

SENATOR MUSTO: The Insurance Risk Management Board.

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: And DAS supported the -- the bill last year. The Insurance and Risk Management Board lives at DAS now and so the responsibility and authority for that piece of what they used to do at my office should have gone with them when we made the original change but did not.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay maybe it was just an oversight from last year so we're just going to fix that up.

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: Right.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. And the -- a similar question on section three. It -- it's shifting some responsibility from the Comptroller to DAS and that's something DAS fully supports.

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: In the same situation, just synching up with what you've done in the past.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay, thank you. That's -- that's really all I had.

Any other questions from members of the Committee?

All right, sir, thank you very much.

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: Thank you.

SENATOR MUSTO: You were telling the truth that was quick.

COMPTROLLER KEVIN LEMBO: I appreciate it.

SENATOR MUSTO: Second is Patricia Rehmer from DMHAS and I'm sorry, did I pronounce your name correctly?

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: You did.

SENATOR MUSTO: Oh good, thank you.

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: Good afternoon, Senator Musto and Representative Jutila and members of the Committee.

I'm Commissioner Pat Rehmer from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and I'm here today to voice some concerns regarding House Bill 5124, AN ACT CONCERNING THE PRESERVATION OF HISTORICAL RECORDS AND ACCESS TO RESTRICTED RECORDS IN THE STATE ARCHIVES.

I want to thank the Committee for allowing me the opportunity to speak to you about this proposed bill and also propose to you some revised language that would negate the consequences of the bill as proposed, the consequences that it would have on the privacy of the individuals and families that we serve.

H.B. 5124, as proposed, would reverse the very protections for individuals served by DMHAS this Committee and Legislative -- Legislature put in place in the 2011 Legislative Session.

Section 37 of Public Act 11-242 protects the clinical patient relationships that occur in state operated settings. As you know, DMHAS is a healthcare agency that provides services to individuals with behavioral health disorders, mental illness and substance abuse diseases.

Most often our clients are poor, uninsured, underinsured and usually have chronic diseases which require long-term care and ongoing care. The Legislature, in 2011, agreed with this position and those protections were put in place.

In order to maintain those protections but allow for the bill to move forward we would ask that you remove the language in Section 2c of the proposal. Removal of that language would continue to protect the privacy of healthcare records belonging to the individuals served by state.

Currently the Department receives many requests for patient records and with properly signed releases and proper redaction of identifying information, we do allow records to be accessed in certain circumstances. Sometimes, however, we do deny access to those records because of state and federal regulations and federal confidentiality laws.

Even though the individuals in this House Bill are deceased, we believe that it still is a problem, could be a problem for family members, and I think equally important it creates a system that is uneven.

So if you -- I worked for 17 years at the Institute of Living, if you're hospitalized at the Institute of Living, nobody will ever have access to your psychiatric records. But if you're hospitalized at a state hospital, a state facility, this would allow people to have access to those records.

And frankly we can give people access with proper redaction. So why do -- why would somebody need to know somebody's name for example. And -- and this is a position that we feel pretty strongly about that this is really a violation of the individual's rights and the family's rights to confidentiality.

So I'd be happy to answer any questions that you have about that. You have my written testimony but I went a little off.

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you.

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Commissioner, for your testimony and for being here today. We've certainly had this discussion quite a lot over the last several years. Could you expand for us a bit on the dynamic of federal HIPAA laws and this topic.

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: Actually our Connecticut statutes are more restrictive than federal HIPAA laws so do you want me to talk about Connecticut's then? So our statutes are very clear that for the purposes of ongoing treatment, discharge planning, I think those are the two circumstances under which you do not need a release of information signed by the individual being treated.

So if you need to get information about somebody that was treated at a previous hospital, the medications they were on, those sorts of things, if it's related to current treatment, you are able to get those records.

You are able to get records as it relates to discharge planning as well but beyond that our HIPAA laws are very clear that you cannot see records for behavioral health without a consent -- an informed consent signed by the patient. And I would say that the federal statute that actually trumps the HIPAA law is the CF 42 for substance abuse which is even stricter in terms of release of records and information. They -- they do not want you, under any circumstances really, to release those records.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you and -- and so are you suggesting that we have more homework to do to be sure that the federal HIPAA law is not going to run interference with this proposal?

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: With the proposed bill as it stands or with our change in language?

SENATOR McLACHLAN: As it stands or with the change of language.

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: I don't think that -- I mean we can certainly look at that. I don't know that we've looked at it from that level so that would be something else we would have to look at. I believe there's a length of time associated with the HIPAA law so I -- I would need to look at that and we can get that information for you.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you, thank you, Commissioner.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you.

Are there any other questions from members of the Committee?

I just have a question. If there is -- you're not sure what the federal HIPAA statutory timeframe is.

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: No I'm not.

SENATOR MUSTO: Do you think it's anywhere near the 50 years? Is it around that 25, 100?

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: I believe it's actually between 25 and 50.

SENATOR MUSTO: Twenty-five and fifty?

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: Right.

SENATOR MUSTO: Is there any length of time that would -- we could substitute for the 50 years that you think would be appropriate?

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: I know 50 years sounds like a long time but I've had some experiences over the last few years where people have tried to obtain records for reasons that -- first of all I don't think the families would want the records shared and they are in no way in the best interest of the individuals, the families or, in my opinion, the issues that the mental health world, if you will, or substance abuse world deal with as far as discrimination and the way that we are portrayed.

For example in movies and books and sometimes that's the reason people are asking for records. Again if we could redact names, I think that that would be a different issue. But I think that utilizing names and actual information is really problematic at any time.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay so names certainly don't -- you don't believe they have any place in this legislation.

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: Right.

SENATOR MUSTO: You know they -- I probably think -- part of the impetus for this legislation is to study the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder from people as far back as the Civil War and trying to figure out what relationship that has to folks today and if there's a way we can help.

And so the -- the underlying genesis of the legislation I think is something we can agree is probably a good idea, at least as far as helping current veterans. This may not be the right way to do it could be your concern.

So what I'm wondering is how do we make this rule other than redacting names? I mean what other suggestions would you have other than simply doing away with Section C? If that's not an option for us, if we decide not to do that, what would you think would make this legislation better? Redacting names, maybe making a timeframe a little longer, certainly being compliant with the federal law as Senator McLachlan stated. We -- we don't want to be violating federal law, we can't in any case.

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: Right, right.

SENATOR MUSTO: So do you have any other suggestions on how to make this legislation better other than simply striking Section C?

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: I think that there are many ways to gather that kind of information with a redacted record. I mean I think there's -- you know -- I think you can look at symptoms, I think you can look at diagnosis without an individual's name.

And I think that when we do redaction because obviously we are -- we're pretty careful about making sure that there is no information that would either be a HIPAA violation and that's anything that identifies the individual which is a -- it's a surprisingly broad range and I think that that's the -- the area that we have to be very careful about.

To use information specifically about post-traumatic stress disorder I think can be done without having somebody's name. You may need their diagnosis but I don't think that -- I think there's a lot of information -- in the olden -- in the older records there may be more information that is not considered part of the medical record.

Correspondence -- other -- with family members, with the superintendent of hospitals, there's a lot of information that is kept in the medical record that may not, by definition, be a part of the medial record but also contains healthcare information.

And -- I mean I'm in a healthcare study. I'm in a long-term healthcare study. I signed consents for that. I sign a consent for it repeatedly and I'm willing to share my information. That's an informed consent. But to not have people do that I think really, with the amount of discrimination that people with behavioral health disorders still experience, is a dangerous and slippery slope.

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you. We'll take those comments into account certainly.

Are there any other questions from members of the Committee? No?

Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER PATRICIA REHMER: Thank you.

SENATOR MUSTO: First Selectman Leo Paul from Litchfield. We understand he's got a little delayed. Maybe he'll be here a little later.

And Paula Perman, excuse me, Pearlman. Where's Paula? Oh there she is, hi.

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Good afternoon, Senator Musto, Representative Jutila and distinguished members of the GAE Committee. My name is Paula Pearlman. I'm a staff attorney with the Freedom of Information Commission and I am here today to discuss our support of House Bill 5124 and 5127 and our opposition to House Bill 5125.

House Bill 5125 prohibits the disclosure of the personal records of probation officers including discrimination complaints and security investigation of those probation officers.

We believe that this proposal is unnecessary because there is already an exemption within the FOI Act for the nondisclosure of personnel, medical or similar files if disclosure would constitute invasion of privacy. In addition, no one has articulated a reason, to our knowledge at least, why this restriction is necessary.

With respect to House Bill 5124, that bill opens up access to certain records retained in the state archives after a certain amount of time has passed. Under the proposal, government records that have been deemed to be confidential, classified or private would be accessible to the public 75 years after the record is created.

Medical records will be acceptable 50 years after the death of the individual who is the subject of the record.

This proposal provides greater transparency. It ensures that all citizens have access to records of historical value. The preservation availability of these records is essential to understanding the historical context that government activities, functions and policies have on the democracy, history and culture of Connecticut and its people.

As the law currently stands, even records of treatment of Revolutionary War veterans, the Civil War veterans, are not available even for research purposes.

With respect to House Bill 5127, that particular bill subjects the UCONN Foundation to the FOI Act and to the audits of -- by auditors of public accounts. Under current law foundations like the UCONN Foundation are not public agencies considered under the FOI Act.

The UCONN Foundation, however, clearly serves a public function. As its mission states the Foundation operates exclusively to promote the educational, scientific, cultural, research and recreational objectives of the University of Connecticut.

Thus arrangements between the UCONN Foundation and the University of Connecticut are part of the conduct of the public's business and not to be subject to greater public scrutiny under the FOI Act.

In addition, an important part of the Foundation's success in carrying out its mission is tied to its credibility with the public. The public perception of propriety is essential if Connecticut citizens are to trust in the administration of UCONN and the Foundation.

And in order for public confidence to be fully achieved the UCONN Foundation should be considered a public agency and be subject to the provisions of the FOI Act.

Thank you for your consideration. You also have our -- the Commission's statement that we submitted earlier. And I'd be happy to answer any of your questions.

REP. JUTILA: Thank you for your testimony on -- on each of those bills for and -- and opposed.

On House Bill 5124 that the speaker prior to you testified in opposition to, or at least to parts of it, the notion of modifying the bill to provide for redacting of names or something like that came up during the -- the course of the dialogue here. Do you have any view on that? Any comments on -- on that kind of proposal?

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: I -- I think I -- we'd have to consider it further. One of the -- as Senator Musto mentioned earlier, I think this proposal came out of an individual who was seeking access to Civil War records. He was attempting to do some research and was denied access to -- to certain records.

And I understand in -- in those records that he was seeking, wanted the names and the treatment that was being provided. So I do have to look into it further to see if it would make a difference. The idea is to be able to access these records, especially in terms of having a historical value and -- and, at this point, I'd have to look into it further to see whether or not the names would contribute to -- to that value.

REP. JUTILA: Okay, thank you.

Other members of the Committee, any other questions?

Senator Musto.

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Regarding 27 -- 5127, the -- if you'll excuse me I have to pull it back up here because I -- I changed it when I was talking about 5125. Can you just -- can you just give us a little more rationale for why this Foundation is -- or you -- or you believe should be more subject to scrutiny.

And what -- has -- has there been a problem with it? Has there been any issue with it that you're specifically concerned about that was the genesis of this particular bill or is it just a general statement that because UCONN Foundation supports UCONN that -- that, you know, it should be more open to public scrutiny?

I'm just -- I'm just curious as to what -- what -- why this issue is coming up at this time.

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: I believe in the past there had been issues regarding intermingling of funds and exactly what the funds were being used for. In terms of why the -- it's coming up at this point, I don't know of any recent incident but I think just the general idea that, you know, this is -- it's an organization that does perform a public function with the University that receives a lot of state funding so I think that information should be made more available to the public.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay, specifically in Section 1 of the bill, it -- it has two provisions in it. The first is that it shall be considered a public agency for FOIA, basically, and the second is that it shall be subject to the auditors of public accounts.

Do you know does the UCONN Foundation currently undergo audits and, if so, are those audits generally published, made public?

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: I -- I do -- that -- I -- I do know that under the statutes that it does go -- undergo an audit but it's not by the state auditors. It's by an independent auditing company. I believe that maybe some of the information that's in there is available, however, the statute explicitly provides that any books or records that those auditors are -- are relied upon in order to -- to come up with the audit, they are not subject to FOI. They are not made available.

I -- I apologize I don't have the statute right in front of me so I can't point to the section.

SENATOR MUSTO: No that's -- that's fine. I mean I imagine when General Electric gets audited or some other large company gets audited that, you know, the audit itself is made public. The auditor gives an opinion as to whether they're following correct principles, GAAP or -- or government or whatever the -- the appropriate principles would be and then the audit itself is -- is made public and that's sort of the purpose for investments certainly at some place like GE.

I'm just wondering if there's a similar provision for UCONN Foundation where there is information made available to the public regarding for example are they following best practices? Do we know how much of their -- how much of the donations are being used for students as opposed to administration? If any of the money is going -- you know missing. For example you said there was some misuse or commingling of funds.

So that's -- that's really what I was looking at. Do you have any specific information about the audit itself? How it's done or -- or what information -- really what information is public from the audit.

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Unfortunately I do not. I can look into that, do some research, and get back to you with respect.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay I imagine, you know, if it's a problem -- I'm not sure is -- I don't see anyone from UCONN testifying about this one right?

A VOICE: I think there will be.

SENATOR MUSTO: Not -- not on our list yet.

Okay so the first provision talks about that it would be a public agency for the purposes of FOIA which is really I -- I think would be your bailiwick, right, or --

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Correct.

SENATOR MUSTO: -- that's where you're from. All right. And FOIA has all sorts of implications regarding meeting notices and public hearings, right? I mean we're -- we're all subject to it here and local legislatures, local officials.

So is there a specific concern that's been raised that something the UCONN Foundation is doing, meeting in private making decisions, not -- not really giving a basis for its decision, something where they're using public money but they're making decisions behind closed doors, a star chamber type situation that -- that's really been brought to your attention or again is this just sort of -- it's a big thing, it's got a lot of money, someone should be watching it?

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Well I -- well I can answer in terms of what's been brought before the FOI Commission. So we haven't had a complaint that's been filed. So this more -- just a move in terms of providing greater transparency.

SENATOR MUSTO: All right. Thank you.

Any other questions from members of the Committee for this -- yes, Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Ms. Pearlman, for being here today. Are there other similar entities like the UCONN Foundation that FOI is aware of in Connecticut that have raised questions about why their operations are not subject to FOI?

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Not that I'm personally aware of. But again I -- I'd be more than happy to look into and get back to you.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you. And you say that there have been no requests, FOI requests, related to the UCONN Foundation at your agency?

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: No I'm sorry I meant -- if I said complain -- I meant complaints, any recent ones filed against UCONN. We had a case a few years back that went up to the Supreme Court but that was with respect to not just the UCONN Foundation but information pertaining to ticket sales and library donors but that's the last case with respect to UCONN that I'm aware of.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: That particular case was UCONN in -- in general, the umbrella UCONN, not the UCONN Foundation per se by itself.

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Correct. There -- they were seeking some information pertaining to UCONN Foundation but, because of the current status of the law, that information wasn't accessible.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: And this being a nonprofit organization, it -- it's my understanding that some of that information is still available by way of IRS filings. Is that your understanding as well?

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Based on what I saw on the UCONN Foundation site, it does say that some of their information would be available through IRS but I'm not personally familiar with what information is available through the IRS.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SENATOR MUSTO: Questions from members of the Committee?

Okay, thank you very much.

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Thank you.

SENATOR MUSTO: Has Leo Paul from Litchfield made it here yet? Mr. Paul.

First Selectman Paul, welcome.

LEO PAUL, JR.: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the Committee members. Thank you very much for this opportunity. My name is Leo Paul. I'm the first selectman of the Town of Litchfield and I'm here on behalf of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, CCM, and I'm here to testify on S.B. 94, AN ACT CONCERNING THE PUBLICATION OF MUNICIPAL LEGAL NOTICES IN NEWSPAPERS.

CCM supports S.B. 94 which would provide significant relief from a long-standing costly and outdated mandate on towns and cities by modifying the requirement to post the full text of all legal notices in local newspapers.

Municipalities are not seeking a complete repeal of the law but rather a reasonable modification as specified in S.B. 40. The bill allow for -- will allow for publishing notices of the availability of a document in local newspapers along with a summary and clear instruction as to how to obtain additional information on the complete text of the public document.

CCM supports amending S.B. 40 to require that newspapers have a designated section of all public information on governmental actions and issues that may impact them.

In this end local governments spend millions of dollars every year publishing lengthy documents in their entirety in local publications. In the 21st century, the quickest, most transparent and cost-effective way to get information to the most amount of residents is via the Internet.

The Internet is where people shop, communicate, do their banking and share general information. Municipal and state websites have become a critical lifeline that link living rooms to their government instantly.

Just like the rise of local cable access stations, the Internet and municipal state websites have allowed governmental activities to emerge even further into the public spotlight. Despite these obvious advances in 2014, Connecticut's hometowns continue to be mandated to post their legal notices in printed newspapers with dwindling circulations.

The Internet has become a tool widely used for the dissemination of a wide array of information on all levels. The State itself has moved to a paperless system in similar ways. The General Assembly, several years ago, stepped -- stopped printing certain bills and legislative documents. PA 12-92 require proposed state agency regulations to be placed online instead of paper form.

It is important -- important to keep in mind the Internet is accessible to everyone. All local libraries are equipped with computers at no cost to the users. Newspapers must be purchased to be read.

Internet sites can be accessed from anywhere in the world at any time. Newspapers are purchased in the region that they serve. Public notices placed on Internet sites can remain there indefinitely, making the information available for a greater amount of time and notices placed in newspapers are only there for the allotted time paid for.

No one is seeking to hamper the public right to know, rather towns and cities are seeking a more cost-effective and efficient manner in which to provide information.

Newspapers have had a captive client in municipal government for years and have taken advantage of this mandate by often charging their highest advertising rates for postings. In addition, these legal notices are used as filler throughout the paper to take up excess space. They are not placed in a coordinated manner to allow readers ease of access to the information.

Municipalities continue to make sacrifices and explore ways to be more efficient in saving money. Now is the time for the Legislature to enact meaningful mandates relief for towns and cities at no cost to the state.

CCM urges the Committee to support legislation to allow 1) for publishing notices about the availability of a document in local newspapers along with a summary and clear instructions as to how to get additional information or the complete text of the public document. Primarily they would be posted on our websites.

Allow notices to be published in free weekly newspapers and 3) require newspapers to have a designated section of all public notices to be listed for the benefit of readers along with a listing of the publication's table of contents.

There is just one other thing. A few years ago the Legislature passed a -- a bill that was mandating that communities place all of their agenda meeting minutes and -- and agendas on the websites of the town and many towns at that point, or a lot of towns at that point, including Litchfield, had a very limited access type of a website so we put our website down.

Since then the law has been amended and Section 8-23(f)(e) of the General Statutes now allows that only the plan of conservation and development be posted on the website and any planning and zoning commission planning documents be posted on the website.

It seems that the Legislature is trying to push communities in the same direction that the state has taken and that is to become electronic and paperless and that's all that -- that's all that we're asking is that -- is that communities have that opportunity to do the same as the state and allow us to post any of our listings for meetings and -- and those types of things on -- on the website.

Or, at the very least as the bill is proposing, is allowing us to shorten the amount of language that we have to put in the newspaper directing the public to our websites or to other locations within the town hall where that full document would be available for viewing.

It would cost -- you know, just -- just as an example for the Town of Litchfield over the last two years we've budgeted 16,000 in -- in this year and last year we budgeted $15,800 and that's a rather costly venture for a town the size of Litchfield and it would help a great deal if we could relieve communities of this mandate and allow us to shorten the amount of text that we have to put into those papers.

I'm available for any questions. I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to sit here before you and explain our view. Thank you.

REP. JUTILA: Thank you, Mr. Paul, for coming all the way in from Litchfield today on a day where the weather is not exactly perfect although not quite as bad as it's been certain days in recent times. So we're glad to have you here today and thank you for your testimony.

I had a question but I think toward the end of your comments I -- I probably got the answer and that was you talked quite a bit about, you know, going paperless and -- and moving to electronic which I -- I think is generally a good thing.

But one of the arguments -- in -- in fact this bill is -- this is not new. This bill or similar bills have been here before.

LEO PAUL, JR.: Right.

REP. JUTILA: And one of the arguments we've heard in opposition to it is that there still are some people who don't have access to the Internet, are not computer savvy and they often mention senior citizens, although I know a lot of very savvy senior citizens, but I -- I think I heard my answer to my question which was, you know, would you be in favor of an amendment to this bill that would also require the towns to make available a paper copy somewhere in the town hall that anyone who wants to see it and have access to it that way would be able to.

LEO PAUL, JR.: Yes sir. The cost comes in, as -- as you're all aware, is the length of the -- of the posting that we have to put in the paper and if it includes putting the, you know, the listing or -- or the entire description of a piece of property let's say or we're doing an easement of some type and we've got to post that listing in the paper, it requires -- it's a pretty lengthy -- pretty lengthy cost and a pretty lengthy posting that we have to put in the paper.

If we were able to just say Litchfield planning easement this piece of property, please see the documents on the Litchfield website or in the town hall, that would reduce the amount of costs that -- that the town would have to incur.

We're not requesting that this law be completely repealed. That's not what we're -- what we're looking to do. We're just looking to -- it has to be modified as you suggested, Representative. Thank you.

REP. JUTILA: Okay, great. Again appreciate your coming up.

Representative Lesser has a question.

REP. LESSER: Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you for your testimony. Mr. First Selectman, question. I'm reading your written testimony. You asked that this bill be modified to require that newspapers create a special section for public notices.

Is there any -- you aware of any precedent in our General Statutes that would allow us to tell a newspaper what they can and cannot write and how they organize themselves?

LEO PAUL, JR.: No I'm not. I -- I think -- I think it's more of a -- of a suggestion or a recommendation on the part of the Legislature suggesting to the newspapers. I don't think -- I don't know. I'm not an attorney. I don't know if you can mandate to the Hartford Courant you will create a -- a section for municipal postings.

But it would seem logical to me that the newspaper, in its efforts to make the -- the information available to the public, would want to do that type of -- that type of -- of customer service. To be honest with you I never read -- I never read that stuff. The only time I've ever read those parts of the newspaper is when I retired from the Air Force in '95 and was looking for other employment. I went into the employment section.

But honestly I -- I never read that part of the paper and I -- I -- you know I suspect that most people that do would appreciate a section in the newspaper that says municipal listings or municipal postings, Litchfield, Harwinton, whatever -- whatever they are. That's a suggestion. I -- I -- I'm not an attorney. I don't know if you guys have that authority. I honestly hope you wouldn't have that authority.

REP. LESSER: I'm -- I'm not an attorney either and I -- I would just -- it sort of occurred to me that there might be some First Amendment issues with that but I will --

LEO PAUL, JR.: I -- I agree.

REP. LESSER: -- I'm sure the -- the Newspaper Association will appreciate that -- that advice. Thank you.

LEO PAUL, JR.: Thank you.

REP. JUTILA: Other questions?

Representative Sear.

REP. SEAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Hi, Leo, how are you?

LEO PAUL, JR.: I'm doing good.

REP. SEAR: I do know when I was first selectman locally that there was an ordinance change that we were able to make that changed our obligation for publishing the -- in its completeness the town budget every year and there was a mechanism for us to do -- it wasn't to the extent that we're talking about that would say the budget is available and that would be it.

But instead of having, you know, where the revenue was coming from and all the itemized expenses and everything, there was a local option that we were able to -- it passed in my town, that -- that gave us the right to do more of a summary or whatever.

And I don't know if this has been considered but a possibility might be that it -- a mechanism in this would be for a -- a local town, by ordinance, to decide whether it wanted to reduce that with the newspaper because I -- I think we're talking at this point about a one size fits all that would say this is automatically what the town would do and maybe if it's an option of the town to do that, you're basically telling the town what it wants to -- an option for the town rather than mandating exactly what has to be put in the newspaper if that makes sense.

LEO PAUL, JR.: My understanding of what the law states is that we must post it in its entirety in the newspaper. We too did the same thing. We didn't do a local ordinance but we at Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen decided, in our approach to save money, because the posting of our budget took an entire page, and we were able to pretty much get it a little less expensive because at one point we had a weekly newspaper and we advertised it or placed it in that weekly newspaper.

But now we don't have a weekly newspaper so we're -- we have to go to a daily and it's far more expensive to post our budget and -- which takes up the whole page. So we decided that we would do the same thing as you, do an abridged version of our -- of our budget which hit all of the key aspects of it and when we had our -- when we have our town hearing we make the full budget and all of its documents associated with it available at the hearing or at the town hall at -- at any time and that's also posted on the bottom of -- of our abridged budget.

REP. SEAR: Thank you.

LEO PAUL, JR.: I would believe -- I believe that's the concept that -- that CCM and -- and we propose.

REP. JUTILA: Other questions?

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you for your testimony. You mentioned something that have -- I was familiar with the merits of this debate for the last few years being here but something in your testimony that you mentioned that I was unaware of was your rate that you are charged for publication in a newspaper is higher than for other types of postings in a similar section.

Didn't know if you could expound upon that. Like how much are you charged per line or per column inch or -- and like how do you know what the comparable rate structure is for something similar? Just I'd like to understand that a little bit more specifically.

LEO PAUL, JR.: I can't give you the specific numbers, I'm sorry, I didn't bring that with me today. But I know if we advertise for or post for a job opening, which we just did, it -- it seems to get a less cost than it does when we post our listings.

And -- and specifically our -- our primary -- our primary group that does most of the listings are -- are both our Public Works Department and the Planning and Zoning, the land use area. They do most of the listings.

We do it for town meetings and when we do one listing for the town meeting and all we're -- all we're identifying is the areas that we're going to cover, unless it's -- unless it's something to do with a piece of property, transfer or sale or something like that, then we have to list the whole -- we list the whole description of the property and it ranges anywhere from two to three, four hundred dollars for a posting of a town meeting.

The last one I think was $300 and again it depends, sir, on -- on how many items that we're going to address in the town meeting. If it's just one item, it's about 200 bucks, maybe $250.

REP. LEMAR: So it's as if the newspaper industry has recognized that you're forced by law to take out this advertisement and have no need to discount in any way to solicit your business.

LEO PAUL, JR.: I'm not here, sir, to -- to discourage anybody or make any insinuations like that. I'm just suggesting that the best approach here is to maybe give us an option where we would not have to put in our full description, you know, for our posting, just a -- maybe, you know, a couple of lines that tell people where to go to get that information and it would be the web or hard copy available at the town hall or somewhere else.

REP. LEMAR: Terrific, thank you very much for your testimony.

LEO PAUL, JR.: Thank you, sir.

REP. JUTILA: Other questions from members of the Committee? Any other questions?

All right, thank you again.

LEO PAUL, JR.: Thank you very much for your time, sir.

REP. JUTILA: That is the end of the public officials list. So we will now go right to the general public and the first speaker will be Carmen Roda.

CARMEN A. RODA: (Inaudible). In 2011, 18-101f was modified to include the Public Defender's Office. I have attached a copy of Public Act 11-220 to my written testimony.

It is interesting that in the public testimony of those bills, former acting Corrections Commissioner, Brian Murphy, and former Pardon and Paroles Chairperson, Robert Farr, articulated that inmates are using FOI as a means to intimidate staff. This is no small part because of the daily and direct contact corrections officers -- or corrections staff have with inmates. Moreover, it was stated that the corrections function and parole function are not always agreeable to those in custody. I have attached Mr. Murphy's and Mr. Farr's testimony to my written testimony.

It is these same issues that confront probation officers. We have direct daily contact with criminal offenders. The probation function is not always agreeable to those being supervised. Because of that, we are subject to intrusive inquiries of our employment records through the Freedom of Information Act.

I will admit that this bill does not shield our records from the general public nor are we asking for that. Rather we are asking to be protected from FOI requests from those criminal offenders we supervise and those who are incarcerated for violating their probation. We are looking for the same protections afforded to other public servants. Bill 5125 does just that and is similar to that of Connecticut General Statute 18-101f.

As public safety professionals we are asking for your help to protect our information while we continue to protect the citizens of Connecticut. Please pass Bill 5125.

Again, thank you for your time and for this opportunity. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

REP. JUTILA: Questions from members of the Committee? Any questions?

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I'm having trouble finding your written testimony here. So Mr. Roda, correct?

CARMEN A. RODA: Yes, sir.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. So you said attached to your written testimony was --

CARMEN A. RODA: I have copies if you would like.

SENATOR MUSTO: No -- no I got it here, thank you. I just don't why I couldn't find it. And you're -- you're saying that 18-101f is a similar provision for Department of Corrections officials.

CARMEN A. RODA: Yes, sir.

SENATOR MUSTO: And -- and it looks like others as well.

CARMEN A. RODA: Public defenders.

SENATOR MUSTO: Public defenders and it's got Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in here as well. I think those are the three that seem to be -- so you're looking for the -- pretty much the same protections as those folks.

CARMEN A. RODA: Yes, sir.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. All right, thank you.

Any other questions from members of the Committee?

REP. JUTILA: I've got one.

SENATOR MUSTO: Yes.

REP. JUTILA: Yes, Mr. Roda, thank you for testifying today. When the Freedom of Information Commission testified earlier, they argued that this would be unnecessary because there's already an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act that you would be able to take advantage of that would protect the -- the privacy of the individuals and they cited Section 1-210(b)(2).

Are you familiar with that and, you know, would that not be a viable mechanism for you to achieve what you're trying to achieve through this proposed bill?

CARMEN A. RODA: I am not familiar with the specifics of that, however, our belief is that that does not protect us. I believe -- and shortly you will hear testimony how the loophole was used against a probation officer that will testify later on today.

REP. JUTILA: Okay, fair enough.

Other questions from members of the Committee?

Okay, thank you again.

CARMEN A. RODA: Thank you for your time.

REP. JUTILA: The next speaker is Sarah Basford followed by Raphael Podolsky.

SARA BASFORD: Good afternoon. First let me begin by saying thank you, Senator Musto, Representative Jutila and the members of the Government Administration and Elections Committee for the opportunity to be heard. My name is Sara Basford. I'm an adult probation officer with the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch.

I am assigned to the Danbury office. I have been employed by the Judicial Branch for over 12 years. As a probation officer I supervise people convicted of a wide variety of crimes. It is the mission of the Court Support Services Division to reduce the number of people who reoffend all the while keeping offenders accountable for their actions. It is this accountability that needs to be addressed and Bill 5125 does just that.

Bill 5125 would not permit those persons on probation or those incarcerated for violation of probation to access my personnel file through the Freedom of Information Act. Similar protections currently exist for corrections officers and others with close contact with inmates. I have close contact with offenders and have been harassed by inmates simply because I've done my job as a probation officer.

In June of 2012, an inmate who was incarcerated for violating his probation, made a Freedom of Information Act requesting my personnel file and other employment records. I was not informed of the request. Subsequently information about me from my personnel file was sent to the inmate.

A year after I began receiving love letters from another inmate being held in the same correctional facility as the inmate that requested my information through the Freedom of Information Act. A copy of the letter I received is attached to my written testimony.

In that letter it says that he received the information from another inmate. The inmate that had my information and who sent me the letter is a reported member of a notorious street gang.

The release of this information was done without my knowledge and in compliance with current loopholes in the law. I am asking that these loopholes are closed as they have been closed for other public servants. Passing Bill 5125 would close these loopholes.

As a public safety professional, I am asking to help protect our information while I continue to protect the citizens of Connecticut.

Again, thank you for your time and for this opportunity. I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

REP. JUTILA: Representative McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Ms. Basford, for your service. You certainly do have a difficult job and -- and I'm glad you're in Danbury.

SARA BASFORD: Oh thank you.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: I would say -- I wonder if you are getting feedback from your peers that the current Freedom of Information exemption for other law enforcement personnel, is that exemption working and eliminating the experience that you've had?

SARA BASFORD: I do know prior -- correctional officers and I was a correctional officer before I was a probation officer and as a correctional officer inmates cannot get your private information. Yet we deal with the exact same people just once they're released. Whether they're incarcerated or they're out in the public, they committed the same crime. We just supervise them in a different capacity where actually they have access to us because they are now in the community. So while they are incarcerated they don't have access because they're behind bars. Yet they're released, they have access to us and then they can get our personal information.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: It's interesting that you have the viewpoint of also having been a correction officer and when you were a correction officer did you have this problem or this experience?

SARA BASFORD: No they knew they couldn't do that. They knew that they -- that they -- there was no attempt to try to get our personal information because they knew they wouldn't get it. And -- and I have to say that was over ten years ago where Freedom of Information wasn't as a hot topic as it is now.

But I will say in the jail, like my -- my personal information was sent to an inmate in jail so he therefore passed it around to all the other inmates which they don't have much to do other than read and fester and think about what they want to do when they are released and they're angry because we sent them to jail on a violation of probation. So they have personal vendettas. They, you know, they have time.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: And it was your experience that this individual began writing to you and contacting you at home.

SARA BASFORD: No it was at work.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Okay. Well thank you for your service and thank you for your testimony today.

SARA BASFORD: Thank you.

REP. JUTILA: Questions from other members of the Committee?

Representative Sear.

REP. SEAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Just in general category, what is the -- what is the information in the file that makes you vulnerable, just in general terms, not your file?

SARA BASFORD: General in the file they -- they request our performance appraisals. They request -- they are allowed to get anything in the personnel file even though our home address may be redacted. They got my original application from 12 years ago when I lived at home so my mother's address where she still lives alone was given to the inmate.

My -- copy of my driver's license. My Social Security number was redacted but it was redacted differently on every document so if you line up three documents, my entire Social Security number was there because it was redacted differently.

My marriage certificate for insurance reasons, children's -- children's birth certificates, my personal birth certificate, anything personal. Letters I wrote to human resources. Anything in my personnel file they have access to. So just because your home address may be redacted, your entire personal history, my college transcripts. Anybody -- just anything really. Any personal information and it's in your personnel file.

REP. SEAR: Thank you.

REP. JUTILA: Other questions?

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

To follow up on that, it -- it sounds like the information is something we would all -- seem like it would be unreasonable --

SARA BASFORD: Yes.

SENATOR MUSTO: -- for someone convicted of a crime to have.

SARA BASFORD: Yes.

SENATOR MUSTO: And certainly largely irrelevant for someone convicted of a crime to have. But there are arguably things in your file that would be relevant --

SARA BASFORD: Sure.

SENATOR MUSTO: -- and perhaps appropriate for someone who you're supervising to have. Is there anything like that that you would consider to be relevant and appropriate that should not be exempted from FOIA in this case?

SARA BASFORD: They can have our -- our start date, our hire date, our salary. Personally they could have my performance appraisals. I mean that could be public knowledge. I have no issue with that.

I -- I would -- it's the -- it's the -- anything that's job related is perfectly fine. It's when it come -- when it's not job related there's absolutely no reason for -- for an inmate or anybody to really have access to that.

You know if you chose to have your number not listed in the phone book or you have a suppressed driver's license or you chose to be private on social media, you know, you have a right to -- to keep your -- your personal life private. Yet an inmate can have access to your entire file of your employment history is ridiculous to me.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay so when the -- the legislation specifically says a personal or medical file, or similar file and the similar file let's forget about for a second because we could -- you know that could mean anything.

When you're talking about a personnel file, you're talking about things like personal information, your -- your high school diploma and your college transcripts, things like that, parent's names, reference names, maybe you put down, you know, a brother or something as an emergency contact and something like that.

That's -- that's what you consider a personnel file. Is that fair? And -- and a bunch of other things you mentioned before.

SARA BASFORD: Yes.

SENATOR MUSTO: I'm not trying to limit it just to that.

SARA BASFORD: Sure.

SENATOR MUSTO: Those kinds of personal identifiers and those kinds of personal records information, et cetera, that -- that identify you personally and -- and identify maybe family members, your address, driver's license, things like that. Everybody is nodding behind you too so I guess this okay. So that's your personnel file.

SARA BASFORD: Yes.

SENATOR MUSTO: Medical file I think we -- we were talking a little bit before about medical records from Civil War veterans and we had -- so, you know, medical checkups, any medications you may have had, you know, records of medical treatment, checkups, things like that, that's medical, that's also not job related. I think that's fair to -- maybe if you have some sort of --

SARA BASFORD: If it's job related, I mean I will say when I did go through my file due to all of this, there were some letters. I was in a car accident and took time off due to a car accident. All of that was in the file and that was released to the inmate.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay.

SARA BASFORD: So there are some things in your, you know, personnel file that relate to medical but it wasn't like a diagnosis.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. And then there's this similar file which I'm not quite sure what that means. Is there anything else that you would consider out of bounds here like a personal or medical file that you would sort of lump into the similar file category? It's words -- words like that give me pause. You know we're not quite sure what they mean. They may mean something different to different people and we're try -- you know one of the reasons we go through the public hearing is try to define what's in the statute.

SARA BASFORD: Well there are three files in the Judicial Branch that are kept at -- three different personnel files that are kept at three different locations.

In our home office, where for instance mine is Danbury, my chief would have a personnel file on me in -- in his desk with probably time sheets, performance appraisals, basic things.

Then there's another master file up in Hartford that has everything from the very first day I applied 15 years ago, my very first application or interview and everything there. And then there is another file at our central office which has other documents in it. I'm not sure exactly what documents are in it but when I did review one of my files, any e-mail that I'd ever sent to human resources in the past 12 years was printed out and in that.

So there was a lot of different information in there and -- and things like that were not redacted. The inmate has access to that.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay so it sounds like, and you know again correct me if I'm wrong, and we're trying to get to the -- the good line here. It sounds like what you're talking about is things that are -- maybe personal and medical file isn't really the terms we should be using. Maybe it's any type of personal information identifiers, addresses, Social Security numbers certainly, everything that is personal as opposed to job related and certainly medical is -- would -- would fall under that category as personal as opposed to job related.

That's the sort of thing you're saying it's -- it's irrelevant to my job, it's irrelevant to how I do my job and there's no rational reason why this person whom I'm supervising should have it.

SARA BASFORD: Correct.

SENATOR MUSTO: That you believe should be excluded --

SARA BASFORD: Correct.

SENATOR MUSTO: -- and not subject to FOI. But things like job performance assessments, things like that, you don't have -- and -- and again if I say things like that, I shouldn't use that language either, it's a similar file.

But when you talk about job performance issues, discipline, you know, if you were investigated for discrimination against a certain class or race or religion, things like that, it should be in the file and those should be available.

SARA BASFORD: That's fine.

SENATOR MUSTO: You don't have a problem --

SARA BASFORD: That's related to job function, that's fine.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay, all right.

Questions from members of the Committee?

Thank you very much.

SARA BASFORD: Thank you.

SENATOR MUSTO: Just -- I'm going to take a minute here as the Chair and ask Ms. Pearlman, could you hang around a little bit after this? We're going to want some feedback on this, at least I will on this issue. Thank you.

Next up Mr. Podosky -- Podolsky, excuse me.

RAPHAEL L. PODOLSKY: Thank you very much. I'm here in a -- different from my usual role on behalf of a state advisory board known as the Advisory Council to the Superior Court Housing Session. The Board goes back to 1978 when the first housing court was created and at the time -- and until last year it was known as the Citizens Advisory Council for Housing Matters.

The -- the Advisory Council has been very much involved in how courts handle housing matters and has been a -- a long-time advocate for making the court user-friendly and accessible to pro ses. Back in the 1980s the -- the Advisory Council was a pioneer in pushing for pro se forms in that part of the court system.

I'm here on behalf of the Council because last year Public Act 13-299, which is an omnibus bill on government agencies, in Committee you added some changes. You changed the name of the Council. You changed the size.

The Council, unfortunately, never noticed this bill at the time and only noticed it afterwards and asked for this bill to make two what I think are small changes in the Council.

One is they ask for the -- for the -- its name to be changed to something closer to its old name. The reason is housing matters, the Council on Housing Matters, adequately describes what it does so that phrase was in its old name.

The new name, which refers to it as an advisory board to the Superior Court, doesn't really reflect anywhere near all of what the Advisory Council does and -- and we have some concern that it's going to lead unintentionally to a restricting of its functions.

The second thing is Council had a huge membership, 36 members, and last year's bill cut it to 12. There's no question that there's no need for 36 members on the board but what the bill asks is that we add -- that you add back six members to the size and the reason for doing that is it allows it more effectively to function in sub-committee in housing court districts.

It would put five people instead of three people on each of the three major regional sub-committees.

That's really all that we're asking. I don't know that anybody cares about this other than the Council itself and I would hope you would be willing to do that. I think it will make the Council function more -- more efficiently, more effectively and will more -- and will -- will better more correctly state what the Council is about and what it does.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you'd like. The Council is on the Judicial -- on the State of Connecticut website. It's -- does biannual reports. They're all on the website. Its minutes are all on the website. There is no staff connected with this board at all. No one is paid. Members basically function on their own -- function with their own resources.

Thank you.

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you. Good timing, Raph.

For those -- we didn't announce it before but generally during this session we allow people three minutes to speak. No -- so far you're the only one that's rung the bell so that's good news.

Are there any questions from members of the Committee? No?

Thank you.

RAPHAEL L. PODOLSKY: Thank you very much.

SENATOR MUSTO: Real quick, Mr. Roda, would you sit down there for a second? Mr. Roda, you had heard what the -- the lady after you, Ms. Basford, had mentioned.

Do you -- you were nodding sort of in the background along with some of your colleagues. Is that pretty much your understanding as well as to how this should work per 50 --

CARMEN A. RODA: Yes.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. I just wanted to confirm, you know, before -- it seems like there are a lot of people here about it. It seems like an issue. I want to make sure everybody is sort of on the same page.

CARMEN A. RODA: It is -- it is an issue. We are not opposed to our job performance appraisals being out to anybody. We are not opposed to our job functions, whether it was -- somebody was unfortunately disciplined being offered to our clients.

What we are opposed to is our personal information. For example, I'm recently married with two step-children. My wife's name and my step-children's names are in my personnel file. We don't believe that our family's information or things that would lead to our families should be given or our clients have access to that information.

We all believe that we took this job, we chose our job, to help protect the citizens of Connecticut. Our families didn't. They should have some kind of protection against the people we supervise. We take great lengths, even in our training, to make sure that there's an arms distance away.

SENATOR MUSTO: Are there any follow up questions from members of the Committee based on Mr. Roda's statement? No?

Thank you.

CARMEN A. RODA: Thank you, sir.

SENATOR MUSTO: Next person up is Andrew Schneider. Mr. Schneider? All right we'll skip over Mr. Schneider for now.

Claude Alpert -- Albert.

CLAUDE ALBERT: Good afternoon. Senator Musto, Representative Jutila, thanks for letting me appear. I'm Claude Albert. I'm the legislative chair of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information. We're an organization that's been committed to furthering government transparency and accountability for more than 50 years now.

I'm here to strongly support Bill 5124, the act concerning historical records and Bill 5127 concerning the UCONN Foundation.

On the historical records bill, we think that this proposal, proposed by the State Librarian, is both reasonable and balanced, provides a reasonable and balance time limit for historical, medical and other records. It would put Connecticut in harmony with federal law including HIPAA which has a 50-year privacy limitation now and the practice of other authoritative institutions such as the National Archives.

We think the present law in Connecticut stifles legitimate and valuable historical research. It was enacted under murky circumstances in the last minute rush in 2011 when sweeping language which had failed to make it out of this very Committee but got tucked into a 98 section Public Health bill at the last minute.

You've heard about the research that prompted the bill. I think nobody would argue that it's both relevant and valuable. So in sum, we think Mr. Wiggin's proposal takes a big step forward to addressing this problem in a balanced way. Preserves the legitimate privacy interests of individuals during their lifetime and for a long period afterwards.

At the same time it would allow historians and other researchers to mine the historical record for that understanding of the past that enriches and informs our present and we think it's an opportunity for the Legislature to correct an overreaction, frankly, with a thoughtful law that serves both privacy and history.

As far as the UCONN Foundation goes, we've long been concerned about delegating government functions to private or quasi-public agencies without assuring sufficient transparency. We appreciate the role of the Foundation in providing resources that elevate the University. We understand it's increasingly going to rely upon the Foundation and its fund-raising to grow its endowment and support its ambitions as a research university of the first rank.

We understand the University has to compete in a sophisticated way for resources and talent that enable it to reach those goals. They are laudable goals but we also believe that the Foundation thus performs a public function and is so intertwined with the University that the blanket FOI exemption is no longer warranted.

We believe the Foundation acts largely as a surrogate for the University -- one more minute -- in fund-raising, marketing, investing and grants administration. It manages hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of the school. It raises money on behalf of the school.

It was created in 1962 at UCONN's behest and, among other things, it pays part of UCONN President Susan Herbst's compensation. The public deserves enough detailed information so it can judge whether the Foundation has invested well, allocated resources wisely and fairly and transacted business prudently, efficiently and without impropriety.

The Foundation can avail itself of exemptions already existing in the Freedom of Information Act to cover justifiable confidentiality requirements. There have been serious improprieties in excess -- and excesses disclosed at similar foundations in other states in recent years. I don't know of any in Connecticut. Well excess is in the eye of the beholder I guess but I don't know of any improprieties.

And we just think Connecticut should increase the public's ability to scrutinize the Foundation as one way to both increase public confidence in the Foundation and diminish any potential for missteps here.

Thank you.

REP. JUTILA: Thank you, Mr. Albert, for your testimony.

Are there questions from any members of the Committee? Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Mr. Albert, for your testimony and I -- I wonder if you could elaborate a bit more on the UCONN Foundation topic. The -- the issue of certain areas where the UCONN Foundation would likely be able to take advantage of points of the Freedom of Information Act to not disclose information, could you expand on whether you think that might be appropriate for them?

CLAUDE ALBERT: Yes just guessing, but I would imagine that proprietary information is, you know, an exemption that might come into play in that. That -- that's -- I think that's the -- providing a caveat in case I'm wrong here, but I think that's the exemption that came into play in the Supreme Court case that Ms. Pearlman mentioned regarding season ticket holders.

Now that -- that case involved UCONN but I -- I think proprietary information is probably the exemption that would apply.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: So you would envision then proprietary information would likely include contributor information.

CLAUDE ALBERT: Don't know. I mean various states take various positions on that and I've -- I've had a chance to do a little research on it, very little, but in some states it's open and in some states it's closed and in some states they have criteria for what -- when donor information is available.

For instance, I believe one state makes it available when the donor is also the recipient of -- of a contract from the -- from the university within a given time period, that kind of thing.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: And -- thank you. And would -- would it make sense for this Legislature if they're going to entertain this idea, I might add that apparently this idea has been floated times in the past, especially the audit idea back in 2005 and that -- that idea crashed and burned quickly, but would you agree that if this Legislature were to entertain this idea they certainly should and could carve out contributor exemptions and make it a clear picture for UCONN to go forward under FOI?

CLAUDE ALBERT: Well they certainly could. Whether they should I think is a matter of -- requires some study before I would agree to that. I -- I really think I would want to hear more justification for when contributor information should be private and for what reasons.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you and on the expenditure side --

CLAUDE ALBERT: Uh-huh.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: -- is it your general understanding that Freedom of Information should probably make that totally in the sunlight?

CLAUDE ALBERT: Yeah I -- you know I can't think of any exceptions off hand that -- that I would say clearly warrant any -- any kind of special exemption, you know? Yeah I think -- I think basically the -- you know the Foundation is a big leg on the stool supporting the University of Connecticut right now.

We all know the state contribution as a percentage of the school's resources is going to -- has been and is going to decline over time and, you know, what do -- what the Foundation spends I think should be completely public.

You know at some universities I understand there have been actual policy and power disputes between their foundation and -- and the school. One foundation tried to get its -- its president -- the school's president fired.

So it's -- it's a very close relationship and I think, you know, the maximum scrutiny is warranted.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you. Thank you for your testimony.

CLAUDE ALBERT: Uh-huh.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you, Senator.

Any other questions from members of the Committee? No.

Thank you very much.

Mr. Claude Albert is next.

CLAUDE ALBERT: That was me.

SENATOR MUSTO: Oh sorry. Who is -- I'm sorry, did Andrew Schneider show up?

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yes.

SENATOR MUSTO: Yes, thank you. Welcome.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Thank you. Good afternoon distinguished members of the Government Administration and Elections Committee. My name is Andrew Schneider. I'm the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut and I'm here to testify against Raised Bill Number 5125, AN ACT LIMITING ACCESS TO CERTAIN INFORMATION REGARDING PROBATION OFFICERS UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.

In 1996, Richard Straub was charged with more than 100 accounts -- 100 counts of of sexually abusing boys and young men. Most of them under his supervision as a probation officer. Police searched four probation offices in their investigation and found piles of documents showing that Straub was suspected of sexually abusing teenagers in his office and that these suspicions had been reported to his supervisors over the course of the preceding seven years.

According to the Hartford Courant, the police found complaints from coworkers and internal investigation reports, files, notes and other documents written by Straub's supervisors. These are the very kinds of documents the bill seeks to conceal, the very documents that the victims could have used to get help. And those victims were the only individuals, outside the Court Support Services Division, to know that these -- those documents might exist.

I remind you of this horrific story because it shows why an individual under the supervision of a probation officer or in prison for violating probation could have a legitimate, indeed a crucial, interest in such documents. The police investigation of Richard Straub revealed, by the way, that he often used the threat of a probation violation, of sending his victims to prison as a way to coerce them.

Of course the vast majority of probation officers could never be suspected of committing such horrible crimes. And it's understandable that the Committee wants to protect those hardworking and innocent probation officers from any harm.

Fortunately the Freedom of Information Act already does that. As Section 1-210 of the Connecticut General Statutes states quote nothing in the Freedom of Information Act shall be construed to require disclosure of personnel or medical files and similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute invasion of personal privacy, unquote.

Under the -- under this provision the Freedom of Information Commission has carefully and reasonably protected the privacy and safety of government employees without fail.

That's why this proposed exemption is unnecessary, a solution in search of a problem where none exists. It is an attempt to further erode the Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act without justification. There is no legitimate interest here that is not already protected. There is nothing to balance against the public's right to know.

Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act is intended to allow all of us who are subject to government authority to hold the government accountable for how it exercises that authority.

And none of us is more thoroughly subject to government authority, monitoring and supervision than individuals who are incarcerated or on probation. Nothing -- nobody is more vulnerable to the abuse of that authority. To exclude them as a class from access to information about the official conduct of the people who wield that authority over them is to invite injustice.

I respectfully ask you to reject this legislation. Thank you.

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you, Mr. Albert. I have a couple questions.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: It's Schneider.

SENATOR MUSTO: Mr. Schneider, sorry. Guess everybody is out of order today. Mr. Schneider, I apologize.

So you're -- you're referencing 1-210(b)(2) in your statement as the exemption. Is that correct?

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yes.

SENATOR MUSTO: That's when we were talking about, we've heard that before.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yes.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. The standard there seems to be if it's an invasion of personal privacy. What -- how is that evaluated? Is that -- there's a -- there's certainly a standard for unwanted invasion of personal privacy that FOIA law currently governs. Is that the same standard for that provision as for other personal privacy?

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yeah I mean I -- I think it -- you know there's -- there's a certain sort of common sense that, you know, where there's official responsibilities, official public conduct, that ought to be transparent and made available to the public. Where it's personal information, you know, addresses, medical information, you know, that clearly is personal and private.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay the -- the standard invasion of personal privacy, if -- if I remember correctly, is something like it has to be outrageous or -- or offensive to a person -- to a reasonable person, and maybe Ms. Pearlman can help me with this later, but I believe it's somebody that has to be -- and -- and have no completely -- be completely devoid or have no public relevance.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Uh-huh.

SENATOR MUSTO: Something like that. Again I'm trying to do this from memory and I'm not as familiar with it as I'd like to be. Is that the standard that you believe applies there as well?

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: I mean I believe that standard has served us well. I -- you know I -- I don't think that there needs to be any -- any changes to the existing law.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. The case you cite of -- of the individual who was abusing young children, there was no prohibition at that time on that information (inaudible) it being released. Is that correct?

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yes as -- as far as I know.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. So this -- and you don't believe this law would change that? That that information would still be available under FOIA.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Well I think that this law -- that this proposed legislation could restrict that information from the public.

SENATOR MUSTO: In what way? If it -- if it's complaints from coworkers and evaluations and things like that how would --

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: And -- and the personnel file is being exempted from access to a FOIA request from a probation -- person on probation then I think that that could -- that information could be restricted.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. Would you agree or disagree with the two probation officers who testified that the issue of what is personal information is -- if we just -- if we define personal information, and -- and I know it says personnel and that's -- we're trying to get --

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yeah, yeah.

SENATOR MUSTO: -- to the root. Okay. So if we define it instead as personal information, birth dates, Social Security number, address, family, you know, college transcripts, things like that, and medical, sir, I think you even said medical --

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yes, yes.

SENATOR MUSTO: -- should be something that's exempt.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yes.

SENATOR MUSTO: Anyway if we define it in that way, would you object to the bill?

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: I think that sounds a lot more reasonable than a -- this blanket exemption that's -- that's proposed in the -- in the bill --

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: -- as written.

SENATOR MUSTO: And then if -- if 1-210(b)(2) applies as you're saying it does, what is the purpose of the exemption for public defenders, corrections officers, et cetera? Why is that not redundant of that 1-210(b)(2)?

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: And what is not -- why is (inaudible)?

SENATOR MUSTO: One of the -- Mr. Roda I think, one of the probation officers, testified earlier said that they're looking for the same protections that corrections officers, DMHAS officials and public defenders are given in the Statute 18-101(f).

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yeah.

SENATOR MUSTO: It seems to me that that statute, since it's sort of -- it's almost identical to what we're talking about here today, if that statute provides additional protections for those classes of people, why is it not redundant of the exemption that your citing in 210(b)(2)?

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: You mean because the -- those exemptions go through those other classes. Why -- why can't we provide it here?

SENATOR MUSTO: Yeah why do we need both in the first place for those classes of people if two (inaudible)?

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yeah I -- I think -- in fact I -- I recall testifying against the -- the bill to restrict that blanket information for corrections officers a few years back.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. So you think that 18- -- the -- the one for corrections officers, 18-101(f) --

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yeah.

SENATOR MUSTO: -- you think that that goes farther than --

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Than we would like.

SENATOR MUSTO: -- than 210(b)(2).

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yes.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. So -- okay. So what we're trying to do here obviously is -- is define those -- draw those lines.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Find that balance.

SENATOR MUSTO: Right.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Yeah.

SENATOR MUSTO: And it seems like you would agree -- and it sounds like so far the probation officers would agree that personal information, all the things we talked about, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, family information, marital status, his -- education, history, those things, are -- should be exempt -- or you wouldn't have an objection if those were exempt from FOIA?

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Anything that -- that doesn't have a bearing on their official conduct --

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: -- that is -- is strictly personal and private information.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. All right. Thank you.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Thank you.

SENATOR MUSTO: Well hang on, hang on.

Any other questions from members of the Committee? No?

All right. Thank you very much.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER: Thank you very much.

SENATOR MUSTO: Chris VanDeHoef. Good afternoon.

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Good afternoon, how are you?

Senator Musto, Representative Jutila, members of the GAE Committee, my name is Chris Vandehoef and I'm here today as the Executive Director of the Newspaper Association here in Connecticut testifying in opposition to Senate Bill 94, AN ACT CONCERNING THE PUBLICATION OF MUNICIPAL LEGAL NOTICES IN NEWSPAPERS.

You all have a copy of my testimony and so I'm going to -- I'm going to spare you from reading it but I do want to hit on a couple of highlights and I also want to speak to something First Selectman Paul from Litchfield said earlier.

Most important thing about public notices is that they must establish a proper record to verify that a notification was carried out in a timely manner. Traditional elements include publication in a forum that's independent of government, such as a local newspaper, that provides accessibility by all segments of society, verifiability as -- as to an affidavit of publication that the requirements of notification were met or archivability is in a secure and readable format.

We believe the proposal, if adopted, would reduce the accountability of local government officials to their residents. Posting on a government site deprives the notice of the independence that protects against tampering, alteration, political bias and after-the-fact publication, i.e., posting of the notice after a legal deadline.

It would be disingenuous for us not to mention obviously that some of our interests in this issue is affected by the impact on our bottom line. The newspaper industry is, however, retooling and adapting to the ever changing news world.

CDNA feels strongly that newspapers remain the most vibrant local news gathering operation of any medium out there so we feel that -- that passage of this proposal ultimately would put some smaller newspapers in the state on the brink.

I want to go back to a couple of things Representative Lesser had asked First Selectman Paul about suggestions and his comments about a specific place in the newspaper for public notices.

That does exists in newspapers that publish notices certainly and for those of you that followed this issue last year remember that -- that we had agreed, I don't remember specifically which Legislator requested it, but we had agreed to put in the index of every newspaper in the state what page and where the public notices are listed and we decided to do that -- we started doing that last year and all 17 papers in the state do that.

I -- I believe that was -- oh yeah and one other thing here I just had noticed online that somebody following along -- following this along in CTN had noted that -- that it costs Litchfield $16,000 per year for their public notices or they budget that. I don't know if they've spent all that and that their Grand List is $1.1 billion.

And so, you know, when -- when we're looking at what is available for -- for the public, it's our -- it's our contention that these things need to be in more places not less and that newspapers aren't simply just charging whatever it might be to charge to do this.

This costs newspapers money to do and they're providing a service to the towns by being an independent third party arbiter of these notices.

I'll stop there.

SENATOR MUSTO: Good timing, thank you.

Questions from members of the Committee?

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Chris, for your testimony. There was a contention that Mr. Paul made regarding the rate for placement for municipal listing versus if you were to put a job posting or a vehicle for sale.

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Sure.

REP. LEMAR: And that they're listed essentially in the same section of the paper but in that he's required by law to make this placement, I think that's what he is suggesting, and he's required by law to make this placement, the newspaper itself is charging him a much higher rate per column inch for that placement.

And can you speak to that or whether or not newspapers are, in fact, charging higher rates for this mandated service that municipalities are forced to comply with than they would if they were placing in another section of the paper?

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Right. I -- unfortunately I can't speak to directly to that scenario and I -- I don't know specifically what each paper charges for public notice but it is listed on every paper's rate card and it's certainly something that we could gather and I could provide for you. That's public information you can ask the paper for the rate card, be happy to give it to you.

In terms of Mr. Paul's example, I don't -- I don't know actually what paper he publishes in. I assume it's probably the Register Citizen of Torrington. So I don't know specifically what their -- what -- what that is.

But you know one of the things that we've been asked over time on this issue is where can you compromise and I think one of the things that we're looking at doing is -- is the size of the notice.

You know a lot of papers have worked with towns around the state to -- specifically for town budgets. I think Representative Sear had mentioned the town budget. A lot of papers understand that, you know, especially for major cities, the town budget can take up two or three full pages.

There's an understanding obviously that that might be a little much and so we're looking at areas where we might be able to downsize it and -- and so I've met -- and obviously unfortunately I can't answer your question directly but I am aware of what you're suggesting and I can -- I would be happy to put together at least a rate card for that area and see if we can't take a look at that.

REP. LEMAR: And -- and you hit on the -- what the second portion of my question was going to be. You know I represent the City of New Haven which we publish our budget every year and it's about 585 pages.

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Uh-huh.

REP. LEMAR: So I imagine if the City of New Haven was forced to take out an ad in The New Haven Register it would be quite pricey and I know you've worked with communities and municipalities to kind of redetermine what those regulations mean, how you can accommodate them and it seems to me that there is this push that, you know, passes the smell test to me and I think for my constituents where if you put and had in the paper saying there is this important public hearing on, you know, XYZ Main Street, for more information please go city hall or town clerk's office or follow along online, we kind of hit what we're trying to hit.

We will kind of make sure that people are given proper notice in a variety of different formats and in that The New Haven Register still is a paper record in my community and it reaches more people than the New Haven Independent or anyone else, it makes sense that we're using that tool.

Would you think the newspaper industry would fight that sort of amendment the same way that they fight just a blanket (inaudible) forced to have time?

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Sure. Well that's -- I mean that's sort of along the lines of I think of what this bill does. I -- you know one of the things that I think would be a concern about that is accessibility of course is always something that we would argue that not everybody has access to the Internet and so while listing a notice but then providing a link you can't click on a link that's in the newspaper obviously.

The second thing I think that we need to take a look at, and it's a -- and I think it's a cooperative thing with the Legislature and the towns and the cities, is the -- the verifiability of the actual notice itself.

What this bill would seek to do would be to notice the notice, right? That here's the notice about the notice when in actuality there is legal ramifications and parameters of what the actual notice must say.

And I think when you take that out of -- out of a printed - a printed paper and you put that online where it can be -- can be changed, it can be remanufactured and something can happen to it, and obviously the Internet changes in a whim's notice and is not an archive of something, I think that there's some concern there.

So it -- it is certainly better than the blanket no more public notices and we're going to go to the towns websites only and I think there are probably areas to maneuver here frankly. But I -- you know I -- we certainly wouldn't support it on its -- on its face and love to talk about it more.

REP. LEMAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Chris.

REP. JUTILA: Representative Hwang.

REP. HWANG: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Chris, welcome.

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Thank you.

REP. HWANG: Can you take us through what you had mentioned earlier as kind of a -- a compromise that the newspapers are undertaking the indexing? Can you describe that a little bit more as to what you're doing?

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Sure. So one of the arguments that has been made in the past is that certainly people don't necessarily get the newspaper, open it up -- on a general -- on a general basis open it up to look for the public notices. But one of the arguments that has been made is that if they were, there's nothing on the newspaper, at least on the front page of the newspaper, that says where they were.

And so one of the ideas was raised that if we would agree to start printing on the -- in the index which is at the bottom of most newspapers, you know, Connecticut section, Section B, sports Section 3, et cetera, that if we added public notices to that then that would be a -- that would be a good thing and -- and frankly I thought maybe we were doing it already.

But to find out some papers were, some papers weren't and we agree there's an association to -- to start doing that on every paper. So every paper now has, in the index, public notices and whatever section they might be in.

REP. HWANG: Have you found that to -- to raise more awareness and -- and letting people know of these notices or -- or is it a cost savings measure?

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: To be perfectly honest with you more people read public notices actually than I had originally understood before I started doing this and when there's been threats in the past on -- on more aggressive pieces of legislation, we've -- we've used our -- our medium to -- to battle that and let the public know that this proposal was out there.

And I've -- I've heard from -- from many members of the Legislature or their staffs about how they've gotten letters in the -- in the mail with the ad taken out and written on it keep my public notices.

And I've heard from some smaller contractors who say that, you know, they use the newspaper for -- for small landscaping or snowplowing, et cetera, for those types of public notices that might pop up that they don't look on a town website.

And so I've always been surprised, to be honest with you, how many people look at them and I certainly believe a lot more people will look at them -- or do look at them in the newspaper than would online.

REP. HWANG: Is there -- is there another concern with regards to posting it online that there's -- there's obviously a timeline to have these notices posted with advance warning and -- and requirements under law? Sometimes when you post that online, it -- it doesn't meet the deadline or -- or it gets a little late and it gets missed.

Can you shed some light on some of that experience if you've had it?

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Well I would -- I would -- I mean I would certainly argue that -- you know that something that's printed in today's Hartford Courant, February 19, 2014, is always going to have been in today's Hartford Courant and that would meet a deadline because it's in the paper today.

You might put something that needs to be made available today by 5 p.m. on your website but if you don't make it by 5 p.m. and you make it at 5:01 p.m., it doesn't meet the deadline and it's also changeable.

You could make that look like it's been posted before it was or you could post it for a short period of time. It's not to suggest that any first selectman or mayor in the state is seeking to do such but if you miss the deadline, which could just be truly by accident, there's easy ways to change that on the Internet.

There's no way to change that. If you need to publish something in the Hartford Courant by today and you haven't done it, then you didn't do it and if you do it online you can change it up so it looks like it was done that way.

REP. HWANG: That's an interesting perspective.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

REP. JUTILA: Thank you.

Any other questions from members of the Committee?

Just one -- one more thing. You mentioned further compromise as a possibility and I think that it's safe to say that the towns already believe that something along the lines of what we have in front of us is -- is a fair compromise in -- in their eyes.

So, you know, we're -- I think I can speak for the Committee in saying that we're always receptive to new ideas and better ways to do things. So we would welcome -- at least I personally would welcome anything that you want to suggest to us in the -- the way of -- a way to further compromise on this and remind you what you don't need to be reminded of that this is a short session and things are moving very quickly so if you're going to do that, the sooner the better.

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Absolutely and -- and in our meetings we -- we constantly -- I constantly remind them of how -- how these issues continue to come back up and over time these are going to -- eventually we're going to roll and we need to figure out ways to compromise.

And so we're looking at that and one of those things, as I mentioned to Representative Lemar, is some of the size things. We're looking at maybe changing the way that the size, the parameters of the notices is -- is published in the newspaper.

But I'm happy to talk to my friends over at TCM as well and -- and, as I'm sure you all know, the Planning and Development Committee has a hearing on this exact issue and almost the same bill next Monday to where they will be asking the same thing. So we're happy to sit down, of course, and -- and work this out.

REP. JUTILA: Great.

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER: Yes thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And I apologize I missed some of your testimony. Just was curious because some of the things that were just brought to my attention were that I guess the current law only requires publication only in print vehicles and, while I'm very sympathetic to the issue of making sure that you have a third party to ensure that times and dates weren't manipulated, I was wondering if the -- the Association, in the interest of compromise and in providing more vehicles out there, had -- had discussed or -- or considered the issue of allowing online third party publications to be eligible for this requirement as well?

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Right. So in my testimony actually is -- I do note that I think it was ten years ago, maybe 11 years ago now, the Newspaper Association put together ctpublicnotices.org. And so any public notice that is filed with the newspaper immediately gets electronic format and gets uploaded to ctpublicnotices.org. and every paper in the state uses that.

Most of the papers, I don't believe all of them, but most of the papers in the state also keep an online database for their own town or towns that they -- they service about notices that are happening in the area as well.

So, you know, it's our -- it's our belief that these -- that the notices should absolutely be online and I would hope that towns and cities are putting them on their website now. They should be in more places not less.

REP. LESSER: But specifically with regard to a periodical for example, I -- in my colleague, Representative Lemar's town, I understand that many people read the New Haven Independent which is an online only publication.

If that happens to be in -- in general circulation in that town, would you be open to that being considered a site for potential advertisement?

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Sure. I'm certainly willing to look into that. I think we run in -- run into the same issue of it being primarily online and -- and the archivability and accessibility issues are erased. I -- I also take a look at the New Haven Independent even though I don't live there.

So I would -- you know, there are many sites like that around the state I think that are popping up and -- and good news coverages have a lot of -- lot of viewership and so that is certainly something to look at. I couldn't commit to that now of course.

REP. LESSER: Thank you very much.

REP. JUTILA: Any other questions?

Thank you for your testimony.

CHRIS VANDEHOEF: Thank you.

REP. JUTILA: Okay at this point we're going to recess the public hearing just for an instant. Earlier we had recessed the Committee meeting that we had earlier today and we're holding it open until 4 o'clock so at this point we'll reconvene that meeting and I would entertain a motion to adjourn.

REP. LESSER: (Inaudible).

REP. JUTILA: Motion by Representative Lesser, seconded by Senator Meyer.

Any discussion? All those in favor, say aye.

VOICES: Aye.

REP. JUTILA: Opposed? Motion carried. The meeting is adjourned.

And now we will come back to the public hearing and the next speaker will be Mike Muszynski followed by Marshall Segar.

Is Mike Muszynski in the room? Does not appear to be so we will go on to Marshall Segar and he will be followed by LeAnn Power.

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: Good afternoon. First let me begin by saying thank you to Senator Musto, Representative Jutila and members of the Government Administration and Elections Committee for the opportunity to come before you.

My name is Marshall Segar and I'm an attorney and I represent the Judicial Professional Employees Union. I'm also retired Deputy Chief of Police serving 22 years as a municipal police officer.

In my capacity as the Union's attorney I have encountered a growing number of instances whereby probation officers' personnel files and similar employment records are being requested using the Freedom of Information Act as the vehicle for this request.

Some of these requests are legitimate and within the intent of open government statutes like Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act. Some requests, unfortunately, are made without legitimate reason. Instead probation clients and inmates are using the Act for nefarious purposes.

These nefarious purposes are attempts to intimidate and harass the probation officer who, in most cases, is supervising the client or has sent them to jail for violating the probation -- their probation.

With my experience as an attorney and as a law enforcement executive, I know public safety and the policies behind it. As such, it is disturbing for me and to those who I represent to learn that loopholes in the Freedom of Information Act allow for abuse and misuse of such a powerful statutory scheme. Passing Raised Bill 5125 will close such a loophole.

It should be noted that criminal offenders that are on probation do have a forum in which to file complaints about their probation officers. I have attached a -- a copy of the applicable policy and complaint form to my written testimony.

Raised Bill 5125 does nothing to interfere or curtail with this procedure nor does it obstruct traditional means of discovery, disclosure or legal process.

As with Connecticut General Statute 18-101f and its amendments, the Legislator -- Legislature recognized the potential for danger that exists when inmates or those being supervised by corrections officers are able to access employment records of those precise people who are supervising them.

The danger of personal information being circulated by an inmate population was enough for the General Assembly to act to prevent it. These probation officers are seeking the same degree of protection as they have direct daily contact with criminal offenders.

I realize that this bill only provides protection from intrusions by criminal offenders on probation or those who have violated their probation.

I also realize that further encroachments of the Freedom of Information Act are not popular topics here and now. But I also recognize that these men and women need the protections -- need the protections afforded to them in House Bill -- correction Raised Bill 5125 so they can continue to do their jobs and perform professionally without the specter of nefarious and malicious attacks on their personal property.

I urge you to please pass Raised Bill 5125. Again thank you for your time and for this opportunity. I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you, sir. You're representing the Union today?

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: I am.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. And you were here -- have you been here the whole time? Did you hear what the other probation officers had to say who testified?

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: I have, yes sir.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. Is -- is that acceptable in your eyes what -- what we talked about as far as making personal information, medical information, et cetera, exempt under all circumstances but job-related information accessible?

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: Not only is it acceptable but I've made it a point today during the Committee hearing to reach out to Attorney Pearlman and to Mr. Schneider from the ACLU to offer compromise and a willingness to work with them to ensure that this is a unilateral -- it's going to be a bilateral support of this bill.

We do not seek to encroach or infringe upon FOI other than to provide protections for public safety professionals like probation officers. If we can agree on restricting information to job performance appraisals, work-related job function-related documents, we do not have a problem with that.

Just to echo some of the testimony that I heard from Probation Officer Basford, her resume that she submitted when she was hired by the Judicial Branch, seemingly is an innocuous, nonprivacy issue-related document but the information contained on it was -- or was prior home addresses, information about references and their information, addresses, et cetera.

That may seem innocuous. That may seem not a violation of privacy but it goes out -- it goes out to inmates and people who are on probation and they may utilize that information for less than legitimate purposes.

So yes, Senator, we're happy to keep on discussing with our colleagues at the Freedom of Information Commission, ACLU or whatever other stakeholders are involved in this process.

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you.

Any other -- yes, Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you for your testimony. I missed some of your earlier conversation so I apologize if this has come up. But one of the things that was apparent to me when I was reading about this -- this issue was that as I understand it existing law should protect at least the address of the officer and if that's being released, then there may be an issue where folks aren't obeying existing law.

So while I'm supportive of the concept that you're expressing, I was curious if there are other ideas that you had about how will we make sure that where information being released would violate existing law, that that -- that that law is not being broken. How do we protect your members, the people you represent?

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: Well that's an excellent question and as a licensed attorney I would never intimate that the Judicial Branch was violating the law but what I can tell you is that the exemptions -- the exclusions, exceptions, under the current act, the Freedom of Information Act on 1-210(b)(2), do provide for a privacy screening of the information that goes out to the requestor.

Unfortunately case law that is based on those -- that privacy screening, under the Perkins v. Freedom of Information Commission case, creates a very high, high threshold for determining whether something is an invasion of privacy.

I spoke earlier about this innocuous resume or college transcripts or things that were in Probation Officer Basford's file. To the -- to the casual or screener -- the casual onlooker or the screener of that document it's not going to rise to the level of a Perkintet -- Perkins test exemption and it's going to go out.

As far as how I would like to protect the members, 18 -- 18-101f is a -- is a great start. If that has some objection and we need to further refine the bill and we need to further refine our request to prevent the release of personal information such as former addresses, other things that are not job related, we're agreeable to that.

Yes statutes do protect the release of home addresses but the addresses in their personnel file may be former home addresses which is not protected.

REP. LESSER: Thank you.

SENATOR MUSTO: Yes, Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you again for your testimony. I think Ms. Basford and Mr. Roda have done a great job kind of highlighting where they see the potential concern as and then a great job clarifying what the language in the proposed bill says versus what their real concerns actually are. And so I think it's -- it's been a terrific conversation and I admire your ability to work with those who are generally opposed to your approach to try and figure out if there is ways to work together moving forward.

We've used the words resumes and transcripts in a way to outline concerns about addresses getting released that we'd prefer to protect. I want to make sure that we are in agreement though that resumes and transcripts are the types of things that we think should be available to the general public. We just think that we should redact the identifiable information on those types of documents. Am I -- am I hearing that correctly?

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: I don't disagree with you but I would -- I would argue, Representative Lemar, that information that may seem innocuous on some documents: resumes, letters of reference, correspondence to and from human resources which again to the casual onlicker -- onlooker who the -- or the person who is screening these documents, may not seem as invasive when, in fact, they are coupled with other documents that may be in that file.

So I understand you're concerned and the general public does have the right to know but we're not restricting this to the general public. We're restricting this to inmates and people on probation. And strike that, inmates that are incarcerated for violating their probation, not all inmates. So it's a very narrow scope of people who are impacted by this legislation or proposed legislation. The general public does have a right to know.

REP. LEMAR: Thank you. I -- I just want to -- my -- my only concern is as we as a Committee and -- and generally in the state are struggling with this idea of what is prevailable and what is not, what are we withholding, what are we not.

I think the qualifications and education of people who hold these positions is something that folks should have access to. By folks I mean even those who are on probation. I would just concern myself with -- with the level of effort that's put into ensuring that all person -- personally identifiable information and addresses are redacted from that.

I want to get to that underlying point but I -- I -- to me that's the crux of this. It's like we want to make sure that information is available and is available to everyone, resumes, qualifications, classes that you took. I think that's part of the scope of information that should be available.

I just -- you know I want to try and highlight, if we can as a Committee and with your work with Mr. Schneider and -- and others, what is it that we're most concerned about and how do we ensure that we have the staffing ability and education and training to make sure that the old resume that's okay to release but we're taking that extra step and ensuring that addresses are scrubbed from that.

You know even -- you know Social Security numbers are released in different formats but unfortunately allow Ms. Basford's entire Social Security to be released in those documents and I want to make sure we're hitting the real issue and not just blanketly outlining documents that can never be released. And so I appreciate your effort to work with that I -- I appreciate the conversation back and forth.

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: I -- if in fact the training and experience of a probation officer are a legitimate issue that needs to be released under FOI, I don't have a problem with that. These are professional employees. They all are educated. Their college degrees are a requisite for employment with the Judicial Branch.

So on that note, yes, it is job performance related. Where they went to school, where they lived while they were in school, recommendations from college professors and the like are not information that should be released and are not job specific and job task related.

REP. LEMAR: Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SENATOR MUSTO: Yes, Representative Sear.

REP. SEAR: I thank you very much.

So there's one component which is the data, but my sense is that -- that that data, whatever that data is, there's a vulnerability that that's being used in a retaliatory or harassing manner?

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: Yes.

REP. SEAR: That as a psychological component to the parole officer. Am I correct?

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: Probation officer.

REP. SEAR: Parole officer -- the probation, I'm sorry.

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: Parole are currently exempt.

REP. SEAR: Okay but the probation yes. But there's a perceived vulnerability that they're being retaliated against. This is an avenue for retaliation and harassment and I -- I agree with -- with you it's a balance of public safety and public knowledge.

I -- I just don't know where we draw that line. If somebody is intent on, you know, utilizing that mechanism for retaliation or harassment, I guess maybe I'm just trying to help the debate, what information provides legitimate harmful ammunition or whatever to that -- to that intent and which wouldn't? I mean is there a way that we can debate that?

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: To speak to that directly, Representative, I can tell you this much that there is no uniformity in what is contained in a personnel file. There could be a vast array of different types of documents depending on what the employee is attempting to put the employer on notice of.

They could be putting them on notice of their qualifications for promotion. They could be putting them on notice of the birth of a child to change their medical coverage. They could be putting them on notice of a address change. They could be putting them on notice of a whole host of things.

So to say that a personnel file is comprised of any one particular series of documents is probably well beyond the scope of this Committee, well beyond the scope of the employer to try to regulate.

With that being said, under 18-101f is a general exemption. To the general they can't get it. That provides for a great deal of clarity because they can't get it. Now we're only talking about people who are incarcerated for violation of probation, in Connecticut General Statute 53a-32, and those currently on probation.

Once they're -- once they've served their debt to society and their full rights as a citizen are restored and as such they can get the information. But while they're being supervised, to prevent that intimidation, to prevent that harassment, to prevent that scenario that you've articulated, that's why we would need the bill as drafted keeping in mind that if we were protect personal, we have to be articulate so it's not personnel, but personal information from nefarious requestors I'm happy to work with the Committee, aides, staff, Legislative personnel, any stakeholder in being able to draft a bill that's not only agreeable for the Committee but that's going to be agreeable to the floor of the House and the Senate.

REP. SEAR: Thank you.

SENATOR MUSTO: Any other questions from -- yes, Representative Molgano.

REP. MOLGANO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just want to make -- hear something clearly here. When we're talking about those who should not have access that are either on probation or violation of probation, the information you're not allowed to, who that is not in that group should have access to that?

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: Who -- if you're -- if I understand your question correctly, everyone. If they're not within that class of people, the people who are incarcerated through 53a-32, or currently being supervised by CSSD for probation, the -- the information is available to the general public, properly redacted and in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act of course.

REP. MOLGANO: Okay. So the parts that are private would be redacted.

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: That's correct.

REP. MOLGANO: It's not general public knowledge.

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: That's correct.

REP. MOLGANO: That's what I wanted to make clear. Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you, Representative.

Other questions?

So, sir, I -- I could not remember before the Perkins standard the two-pronged test. Do you happen to know it off the top of your head? I don't mean to put you on the spot but --

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: You're going to put me on the spot in front of Hearing Officer Pearlman.

SENATOR MUSTO: Yeah I couldn't remember it so -- okay. I'll ask her later, don't worry about it.

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: The -- the two-pronged test -- to do the two pronged test number one it has to be a matter of public concern and as you -- the second prong, as you have indicated, is that it's shocking to the conscience is probably the wrong test but that's the only one that I remember but it's a very high standard.

It has to be a matter of public concern and it has to be objective -- or excuse me objectionable to a reasonable person. I believe that's a standard. I will defer to Attorney Pearlman. She is the expert.

SENATOR MUSTO: All right, we'll ask her later. Thank you. I guess that's it.

MARSHALL T. SEGAR: Thank you very much.

SENATOR MUSTO: Thank you.

Did Mr. Muszynski appear? No, okay.

LeAnn Power.

LEANN POWER: Good afternoon, Senator Musto, Representative Jutila and distinguished members of the GAE Committee. My name is LeAnn Power. I'm the public records administrator. I'm speaking on behalf of the State Librarian, Kendall Wiggin, who has a family medical situation which prevents him from being here today.

The State Library has submitted written testimony on Senate Bill 91 and House Bill 5124. First I will speak regarding our concerns with Senate Bill 91 which could have widespread implications regarding the retention and preservation of long-term and permanent public records.

While there are close to 1,000 municipal records series, less than 20 percent are required to be retained beyond ten years. Records having a retention period of more than ten years or are of permanent archival value are primarily those that protect the assets of our citizens, businesses and municipalities such as land records and indexes, grand lists and building permits, records that ensure open government such as minutes of boards and commissions and records that ensure public safety such as criminal histories, certain case investigation records or bridge inspection records to name a few.

The security of these records is of paramount concern. Securing an electronic record requires significant fiscal and technical resources. In addition, permanent and long-term records essential to the public agency's operations and functions must be protected against loss in the event of a disaster. Without a human readable backup such as paper or microforms, these important records listed above would be in jeopardy.

Section 1(d) mandates that our office establish guidelines for transferring municipal records to electronic format. The State Library already has that authority and we've already issued guidelines for the conversion of paper records into electronic format under General Letter 2001-1 and our office is currently in the process of updating this General Letter. As a result of technological changes, things have changed a lot since 2001 so we are currently working on that.

It is important that the records not be reformatted by scanning solely for space-saving purposes. Rather it should be because it is the right media and technology choice to meet the needs of the public agency and its citizens in a cost-effective manner throughout the record's life cycle.

To maintain electronic records for the long-term, many factors must be addressed including the issues of authentication, chain of custody, Metadata, file name and structure, security, file formats and ongoing migration.

Also pursuant to Public Act 11-150 the State Librarian, in consultation with the State's Chief Information Officer, will be issuing a public records policy which establishes standards for the preservation and authentication of electronic documents.

Once we have a framework in place to address these critical issues, we can better address the conversion of paper records to electronic records and the issues surrounding the disposition of the original paper records having permanent retention.

Sorry, I didn't have a chance to speak to 5124. Could I briefly --

SENATOR MUSTO: That's -- that's okay. We -- you really probably should have been on the public officials list anyway.

LEANN POWER: Oh that's okay.

SENATOR MUSTO: Not not just to save you some time. So you could go ahead and briefly address it. That would be fine.

LEANN POWER: Okay. I just want to -- on the 5124, establishing a uniform time period for accessing records as in the case in many states and with the National Archives, it increases transparency and improve agency efficiency and Raised Bill 5124 would address our concerns regarding access to government records by listing any restrictions 75 years after the creation of the record.

The State Archives we hold a variety of records including medical records from various state institutions. While these records have great historical significance, access to them raises many privacy issues. So structuring any law to deal with these historical records will have to take into consideration these privacy issues and we're willing to work with your Committee on both of these bills to craft legislation that enables the State Library to carry out its mission to preserve and make accessible Connecticut's history and heritage.

Thank you. Could I answer any questions regarding any of these bills?

SENATOR MUSTO: Sure.

Does anybody have any questions? No?

Thank you.

LEANN POWER: No questions? Okay, thank you.

SENATOR MUSTO: Matt Warshauer. You can tell me how to pronounce your name when you --

MATTHEW WARSHAUER: W-a-r-s-h-a-u-e-r.

SENATOR MUSTO: Warshauer.

MATTHEW WARSHAUER: Good afternoon. My name is Dr. Matthew Warshauer. I'm a professor of history at Central Connecticut State University and I am the co-chair of the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission.

And in my -- my work here has been referenced by a number of people and it has to do with the PTSD records, the post-traumatic stress -- stress disorder records that I sought a number of years ago from Connecticut Valley Hospital which inspired apparently much of the difficulties over Freedom of Information Act issues.

I'm here to support H.B. 5124 which has been put forward by State Librarian Kendall Wiggin. I think it is a common sense piece of legislation. I think, as Mr. Albert identified, it actually brings Connecticut in concert with what the federal government has done.

These issues that are related to privacy, especially problems in regards to HIPAA regulations, have hampered archivists, have hampered historians in a degree that I don't think anyone who was creating the legislation intended to do.

When I went forward to try and get these records from Connecticut Valley Hospital to research post-traumatic stress disorder, even at that time, I didn't realize, in many respects, how important this research was in a contemporary sense.

I had the opportunity to write an article about this. Each of you were sent a copy of this journal article. I think that it explains quite clearly the rollercoaster and the hoops that we had to jump through and what we had to go through to get access to these records and -- and how we attempted to work with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services all to no avail.

When they crafted the language for the current legislation that is in effect, they never gave one opportunity to have myself, the State Librarian, the State Historian discuss with them how that other language can be crafted so that it can address their seemingly real concerns about privacy and how it would also protect the needs of historians to tell the history.

As I was saying, this research has been tremendously important to current veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I had the opportunity to speak at length with a number of different veterans and, in fact, the State Army Surgeon General who said to me you can't even begin to know how important it is for current veterans to realize that the idea of PTSD has always been around and to take the stigma away from it by researching the history.

That today may seem like sort of a no-brainer. That -- well of course we know PTSD has always been around but this is a phenomenon that is only really contemporarily and recently being investigated in a much deeper way and having a much greater understanding among the general public. My -- my biggest concern with Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services testimony, and a lot of this related to this, is the idea that we can somehow redact portions of names or some names and not other names and they don't understand what historical research is if they think that they can do that and still have us get to this history.

And I'd be happy to answer any questions that you have.

SENATOR MUSTO: Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER: Thank you -- thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you, Professor, for your testimony. Just trying to drill down a little bit into this issue of -- of stigma. I -- I was curious have you been contacted personally or if you know of any people who are living with mental illness who've contacted you expressing concerns that -- that this might create a barrier for them seeking treatment knowing that several years following their death that that might -- that information might become available?

MATTHEW WARSHAUER: I have not received any notice from anyone in regards to that and, in fact, it has been exactly the opposite. As the article came out in the recent journal, I have received notices, letters, e-mails from historians and from veterans around the country who have supported this research.

REP. LESSER: I -- I assume that the answer is the same for any descendants of Civil War veterans or patients at the Connecticut Valley Hospital who --

MATTHEW WARSHAUER: The answer is exactly the same. I've received support not -- not anything against the research.

REP. LESSER: Okay. And just one last question. Regarding this issue of redacting information, you said that, you know, the people who would support partial or redactions of personally identifiable information don't understand historical research.

Is there -- I mean could -- can you just expand a little bit on that? I'm just trying to understand what --

MATTHEW WARSHAUER: Yeah, absolutely.

REP. LESSER: Uh-huh.

MATTHEW WARSHAUER: When we first contacted Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Connecticut Valley Hospital, more specifically, and then DMHAS got involved in -- in this matter, we had written them -- the -- what was foremost in our minds was concerns about privacy. We told them that we would not publish any names.

They came back and said well, you know, we'll redact all of the names and then we'll give you the files. Well the problem with that is that if you redact the name, we have no ability to go and look at a pension record (inaudible) the National Archives. We have no ability to go to their local town and look at the historical (inaudible) records to find letters and files that are related to it.

So anything along that -- sort of that bread trail, you know, the crumbs that you look for, it's historical detective work, you have to have the name in order to then go on and find all of this other cadre of information to fill out the entirety of the story.

And I'll give you a perfect example of this. One of the people that we research and found tremendous information in the Connecticut Valley Hospital records was a Colonel named Sanford Perkins. He was in the 14th Connecticut Regiment and he as originally from Middletown and if you look at his service record, just the Legislative record that lists all men when they mustered in, what he was actually let go -- when he was actually released from his service to the Army, all it stated was disciplinary discharge.

We would have no idea what that meant unless we went backwards and found the Connecticut Valley records and able to look at his medical records, see what happened and then follow the trail and find all of this tremendous amount of other information that was related to his case which is all extremely relevant to his history, to the history of Connecticut's involvement in the Civil War and to the history of post-traumatic stress disorder and mental illness.

So that's just one example and I could give you a dozen more.

REP. LESSER: I'm sure you could. Thank you very much for your -- your answers to my questions. Thank you.

MATTHEW WARSHAUER: Thank you.

SENATOR MUSTO: Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Doctor, for your testimony and interesting work. As an amateur genealogist, I'm intrigued by the discussion though concerned about the impact. You -- I think you mentioned 2011 some changes that were made or you had refer --

MATTHEW WARSHAUER: The -- the changes have just been made yeah late 2011 I would say and this is in HIPAA.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: And this issue having been addressed previously here in this Legislature, is there any level of disclosure that works for you less than full disclosure?

MATTHEW WARSHAUER: I -- I would have to have some examples but on the surface I would say no. I think that a 75 year window for -- for records overall and a 50 year window after someone's death is a perfectly reasonable period of time to disclose records, even mental health records, so that we can get at this history.

When you close off records you close off the public's and especially historian's ability to tell the story of what has gone on in America. Fifty years after death I -- I don't believe is unreasonable.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you, Doctor.

MATTHEW WARSHAUER: Thank you.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SENATOR MUSTO: Any other questions from members of the Committee? No?

Thank you.

MATTHEW WARSHAUER: Thank you very much for your time.

SENATOR MUSTO: Is Mike Muszynski here? Going once. Is there anyone else who would like to testify on any matter that was not raised yet?

And, Counsel, would you sit down again real quick? Thank you.

So first of all, what's the standard (inaudible)?

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Okay so the standard for the disclosure of personal medical or similar files it's whether it would (inaudible) no privacy. So an agency claiming that exemption would first have to show that it's a personnel -- personnel, medical or similar file and then second that, under the records should not be disclosed because it does not pertain to a matter of legitimate public concern and that the information is highly offensive to a reasonable person. So that's the standard that currently exists.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. So for things we're talking about, transcripts and -- and resumes and things like that, those wouldn't (inaudible) be considered offensive I would imagine.

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Generally no.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. All right. I -- I assume someone's home address would not be considered offensive either.

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: There is -- there's within the FOI Act there's 1-217 that provides for the redaction of a certain delineated category of public employees and so I know that law enforcement fits within there.

So those addresses are already permitted to be redacted under the FOI Act.

SENATOR MUSTO: Okay. I know you were sitting there the whole time so I'm just -- you know you heard what the folks had said from -- who were representing the correction -- excuse me the probation officers.

What -- what's your reaction to that sort of discussion as far as whether things that are really -- I can't -- I can't -- I understand some of the arguments about how someone's qualifications and things might -- but we can talk about the details, but as -- as a general matter that the issue of those personal, as opposed to personnel, personal matters and medical records should just, as a basic rule, not be disclosed? What is -- what's your reaction to that discussion?

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Well I -- I think it was -- generally speaking it's the information that would pertain to someone's job (inaudible) qualifications within the personnel records, disciplinary records and should be made available.

I -- I would have to just -- you'd have to be more specific in terms of what type of personal information. If it's in -- information pertaining to someone's divorce or their children, their marital status even, perhaps that information could be redacted.

You know if someone was out sick for six months, the -- the fact that they were out for six months should be made available if you're a public employee. Now depending on the reason they were out, it may or may not be a legitimate reason to be disclosed or not.

You'd have to really look at what exactly -- what the information is and what it would be disclosing.

Just commenting on one. The -- I don't know the -- the probation officer's name and when she testified she -- she indicated that certain information was released and, under current law, you know, looking at it, the Commission would -- I would be surprised if they would have ordered the redact -- I -- excuse me disclosed because the Commission -- there's no actual statute but the Social Security numbers are always redacted. They're always ordered redacted.

If -- depending on the residential address, if it fits within the -- those delineated categories of employees, those would be -- those would be redacted and if the -- the agency to whom the request was made, they would have to first look at it and then see if they thought there would be a reason to believe that was an invasion of privacy.

And if they thought it was, they would inform the individual that a request is made and give that individual an opportunity to object and it doesn't sound like that was given in her -- in her particular situation.

SENATOR MUSTO: Yeah I think, you know, it sounds like that's one of the reasons for the request for the blanket exemption is that it's a matter of practice and just in reality.

You know things are going to slip through the cracks whether as she said -- the -- the lady who testified her Social Security number was redacted on, you know, one document. The first three numbers were redacted on the second document. The last four were redacted and, you know, on the third document. The middle two were redacted so if you put them all together you could sort of get the whole number.

If -- if you had a blanket exemption, that would clearly make that not an issue because nothing would go out the door in the first place so that's -- you know I think what some of the testimony here was -- was alluding to.

And when we're trying to draw these lines here in the Legislature and the Committee and on the FOIA Commission, you know, we're -- we're trying to figure out what would be a reasonable, not compromises to (inaudible), but a reasonable position to take as far as someone's home address, the names and addresses and ages of their children. I think we can pretty much agree that that's not really appropriate.

And the point also that the person who was in prison, the cellmate is the person who actually wrote her a letter. The cellmate, if it was not one of her charges, could have gotten that information himself.

So it -- it really doesn't even -- it -- it seems - it seems like the restrictions may not go far enough in some ways to keep home addresses, you know, former addresses, marital status, things like that, private unless there are other -- subject to other exemptions in FOIA law that may exist that -- that we haven't talked about much today.

But in some ways maybe too far where you're talking about the entire personnel file where there could be instances where someone's history of discipline for -- for example, you know, disproportionately violating people who are African-American, for example. That might be a valid inquiry and we don't want to prevent anybody from having that information, most -- perhaps especially those people under supervision by that person.

So you guys being the Commission, we -- we talk to you a lot about this. You know your opinion I think is going to be very valuable to us, not only what the position should be of the law in the State of Connecticut, the Legislature and this Committee specifically, but also as a practical matter what can we do to protect these individuals and their personal information, their privacy from harassment and perhaps worse but also to not unduly restrict the ability of those who may oversee (inaudible) to get the information they might need to prove their case.

The -- the one instance -- I know it's an extreme example obviously that the gentleman brought up about the probation officer who was sexually abusing his charges. I mean obviously that's, we hope, an extreme and -- and isolated incident but to the extent that information should have been available to that person's charges I think that would be important. That particular person's home address and what the name of his children were, probably not important to that charge in any case.

So that's -- I -- I think I'm making more of a statement than I'm asking a question but I -- I do want to get from you at some point, maybe not now, if you have a chance to think about it after the testimony you've heard, subject to whatever other questions the Committee may have certainly, I'd -- I'd like to have more of a conversation about that and where we should draw that line and certainly as a practical matter when they have three different files and some things don't come before your Commission and, you know, the resume may be appropriate for some instances but not in others but in no instance is the address -- home address important and we're going to need to look at all that a little more carefully.

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: Okay.

SENATOR MUSTO: But that's it for me. Any -- any other -- yes, Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you for staying and -- and offering further clarification. I wonder if the situation with the probation officer from Danbury, it is your understanding, am I hearing correctly, that it -- it may have been a procedural mistake, if you will, in some of the disclosure in that particular case?

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: I don't want -- I don't want to say it was the procedural mistake. I don't know if I was clear before. I know that some of the information that she said was disclosed. The Commission has not ordered (inaudible) disclosed.

So for instance the Social Security number, Commission has ordered redacted. I believe there are also some DMV statutes that would -- that regulate disclosure of driver's licenses and I think her driver's license information was disclosed also.

Without obviously looking at the file, I don't know -- I don't -- the agency may or may not have looked at the file and determined whether it could have been a reasonable invasion of privacy. Perhaps whoever looked at the file just said here you go, here's the -- just take the file.

I don't know if they sat down and actually reviewed it and made the determination whether it would be an invasion of privacy. If they had and they believe that it would be reasonable invasion of privacy, then they would have -- under the FOI law, they would have given the individual whose record was requested the opportunity to object to the disclosure of -- of the -- the personnel file and it doesn't sound like that happened in this case.

I -- I don't know who made the determination. Whether they just believed that the whole personnel file should be handed over, that was unclear to me from her -- her testimony.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you. And for further clarification, the other protected classes of state employees, law enforcement for instance, they have a blanket exclusion is -- is my understanding and there is no disclosure whatsoever. Is that correct or is it just home addresses?

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: It's within 1-217 of the FOI Act that deals with the residential addresses of law enforce -- of law enforcement individuals and there's a number -- I've -- I've actually lost count of how many there are. Every year there seems to be a new category added to the -- the redaction -- the residential redaction list.

But it would just be their -- their person -- excuse me the residential addresses. The personal records of law enforcement are subject to disclosure. But again when a request is made for their personnel records, they could claim 1-210(b)(2), the personnel and medical file exemption.

SENATOR McLACHLAN: Thank you. Thank you for being here.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

REP. JUTILA: I'd like to join in thanking you for spending the rest of the afternoon with us here to -- to come back. It's an important issue and I -- I think you can tell by some of the commentary and the questions that are being asked that this Committee takes this issue very seriously and as is so often the case not only in FOI, but maybe particularly in FOI, not only in this Committee but in all the committees here, the Legislature is often left with the task of balancing between competing interests.

And in the course of the -- the dialogue we've had here today, particularly when the -- the proponents of the bill were speaking, they seemed to be very forthright in their recognition that there is certain information that is really important to them to not be disclosed and other information that -- that they feel is rightfully something that the public should have access to when it seemed like that's the balance that we're trying to strike here.

And there was a lot of discussion about personal versus personnel information and maybe that's where we need to try to get at this from is what really is that personal information that is important to the -- the people who have the concerns that are, you know, coming out in this proposed legislation to try to figure that out and -- and if there's a way to describe that in statutory language.

I don't know if there is yet some way without getting into every single detail but I would just leave you with that thought that, you know, maybe that's a key area that we look at and try and strike some kind of balance here.

And again if you want to comment on any of that, that's fine. If you want to think about it, you know, that's probably even better but maybe both but I'll thank you once again for your -- your testimony today and your patience in answering our questions.

Well no other questions for Ms. Pearlman?

Then we'll ask one more time if Mike Muszynski ever made it? And looking as though he did not or --

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: I just want -- I just want to say --

REP. JUTILA: Go ahead.

PAULA S. PEARLMAN: -- thank you for -- for taking into consideration, you know, our testimony and for the questions and we look forward to working with you.

REP. JUTILA: Okay. Thank you once again.

Is there anyone else in the room that did not have an opportunity to testify who would like to?

Seeing no one coming forward, we will declare the public hearing adjourned.