The Connecticut Freedom of Information Act (CTFOIA) defines what are public records and the rights of the people to access them. It was first enacted in 1975.
“‘Public records or files’ means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostatted, photographed or recorded by any other method.”
Disputes or appeals relating to the availability or delivery of public records fall under the review of the the FOI Commission as part of the CTFOIA. The FOI Commission hears complaints from persons who have been denied access to the records or meetings of public agencies in Connecticut. Any person denied the right to inspect, to obtain a copy of a public record, or denied access to a meeting of a public agency, may file a complaint against the public agency within 30 days of the denial. Thereafter, the FOI Commission will conduct a hearing on the complaint after which it will render a decision.
If the public agency has violated the FOI Act, the FOI Commission can order the disclosure of public records, nullify and void a decision reached during a public meeting, or impose other appropriate relief. Generally, a hearing is not necessary as the parties are able to resolve their differences with the assistance of an FOI staff attorney who acts as an ombudsman.