Mark Sommaruga Talks to the Hartford Courant About Updates to the Freedom of Information Act
Mark J. Sommaruga, an attorney in Pullman & Comley's Labor and Employment Law and School Law practices, spoke to the Hartford Courant about the key updates to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Mark, who recently published the sixth edition of his book "Understanding Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act" discussed the nuances of interpreting the FOIA to reflect the current way we use technology, particularly in the use of remote meetings resulting from the pandemic. Mark explains that it's often technological changes that require the law to be revisited and reinterpreted, if not completely rewritten, although the philosophy behind the law should prevail.
“A public record means any record,” he noted.
In addition to addressing the use of remote meetings, another recent update to the FOIA was the passage of the Police Accountability Act, which brought more transparency to the workings of police in the state. “Previously, with state troopers’ personnel records, there were their exceptions in their collective bargaining agreement to the FOIA. Now their records are treated the same as anyone else,” said Mark. The use of body cams in most police departments also requires a reinterpretation, or at least expansion, of FOIA. “We’re basically treating body cam or footage the same way as any other public record,” Mark said.
To read the full article, please visit the Hartford Courant website.