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Senate Bill No. 983

Public Act No. 17-86

AN ACT CONCERNING APPEALS UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT INVOLVING NOTICE OF MEETINGS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 1-206 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(b) (1) Any person denied the right to inspect or copy records under section 1-210 or wrongfully denied the right to attend any meeting of a public agency or denied any other right conferred by the Freedom of Information Act may appeal therefrom to the Freedom of Information Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission. A notice of appeal shall be filed not later than thirty days after such denial, except in the case of an unnoticed or secret meeting, in which case the appeal shall be filed not later than thirty days after the person filing the appeal receives actual or constructive notice [in fact] that such meeting was held. For purposes of this subsection, such notice of appeal shall be deemed to be filed on the date it is received by said commission or on the date it is postmarked, if received more than thirty days after the date of the denial from which such appeal is taken. Upon receipt of such notice, the commission shall serve upon all parties, by certified or registered mail, a copy of such notice together with any other notice or order of such commission. In the case of the denial of a request to inspect or copy records contained in a public employee's personnel or medical file or similar file under subsection (c) of section 1-214, the commission shall include with its notice or order an order requiring the public agency to notify any employee whose records are the subject of an appeal, and the employee's collective bargaining representative, if any, of the commission's proceedings and, if any such employee or collective bargaining representative has filed an objection under said subsection (c), the agency shall provide the required notice to such employee and collective bargaining representative by certified mail, return receipt requested or by hand delivery with a signed receipt. A public employee whose personnel or medical file or similar file is the subject of an appeal under this subsection may intervene as a party in the proceedings on the matter before the commission. Said commission shall, after due notice to the parties, hear and decide the appeal within one year after the filing of the notice of appeal. The commission shall adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54, establishing criteria for those appeals which shall be privileged in their assignment for hearing. Any such appeal shall be heard not later than thirty days after receipt of a notice of appeal and decided not later than sixty days after the hearing. If a notice of appeal concerns an announced agency decision to meet in executive session or an ongoing agency practice of meeting in executive sessions, for a stated purpose, the commission or a member or members of the commission designated by its chairperson shall serve notice upon the parties in accordance with this section and hold a preliminary hearing on the appeal not later than seventy-two hours after receipt of the notice, provided such notice shall be given to the parties at least forty-eight hours prior to such hearing. During such preliminary hearing, the commission shall take evidence and receive testimony from the parties. If after the preliminary hearing the commission finds probable cause to believe that the agency decision or practice is in violation of sections 1-200 and 1-225, the agency shall not meet in executive session for such purpose until the commission decides the appeal. If probable cause is found by the commission, it shall conduct a final hearing on the appeal and render its decision not later than five days after the completion of the preliminary hearing. Such decision shall specify the commission's findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Approved June 27, 2017