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Public Records and the Freedom of Information Act

Public Records and the Freedom of Information Act

Because HDCs and HPCs fall under the definition of a public body established by law (“any department, institution, bureau, board, commission or official of the state or of any city, town, borough . . . or other political subdivision of the state”), they are bound by both state public records requirements and by the Freedom of Information Act.

Sections 1-7 through 1-21 of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) lay out in detail the record-keeping requirements of all public agencies in the State of Connecticut.They provide specific provisions for the format in which records such as minutes, agendas, decisions, etc., are to be kept and require that they be made available to the public. Specific questions regarding the keeping of public records should be addressed to the municipal clerk.

Sections 1-200 through 1-259 of the Connecticut General Statutes (also known as the Freedom of Information Act), were passed to protect the public right to due process and to establish rules for conducting public meetings, including notification and participation. They describe in detail the requirements for public meetings, public hearings, legal notices, public notification, and public record keeping by which public agencies such as HDCs and HPCs must abide.

Violating the strictly outlined requirements for public record-keeping, public meeting notice, and accessibility can cause decisions by HDCs or HPCs to be overturned. It is important to note that the rules are not designed to impede the operation of public agencies. The regulations protect the public right to due process and provide public agencies with concrete, legally defined procedures for doing so.  By conscientiously adhering to the rules, will not only operate legally, but will develop a reputation for openness and transparency.

The full text of the Connecticut General Statutes is available online atwww.cga.ct.gov.

The requirements for public record-keeping are outlined in Chapter 3: CGS Sections 1-7 to 1-21L.

The requirements of the Freedom of Information Act are outlined in Chapter 14: CGS Sections 1-200 to 1-259.

For specific guidance in implementing and adhering to the state requirements, please consult with the municipal attorney, corporation counsel, or the municipal clerk.