What fees are associated with requesting public documents?
- For state agency records, fees can not exceed 25 cents per page. For all other public agency records, fees can not exceed 50 cents per page.
- For certified copies, the fee is one dollar for the first page and 50 cents for each additional page.
- For non-state public agencies, duplication charges are generally 50 cents per page.
- Different fees are imposed for copies of certain motor vehicle records and criminal history searches.
- Public agencies are not permitted to impose a service charge in addition to statutory fees.
- There is no fee for inspection of public records.
- Sales tax is not imposed.
Fees may be exempted under the following circumstances:
- The requester is indigent;
- The records when located are found to be exempt from disclosure under Connecticut general law;
- The public agency determines that disclosure benefits the general welfare;
- The requester is an elected official of a political subdivision of the state who obtains the record as part of his or her duties.
What public documents are exempt from Connecticut’s public access law?
Twenty-two total exemptions under Connecticut law, including:
(1) Preliminary drafts or notes provided the public agency has determined that the public interest in withholding such documents clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure;
(2) Personnel or medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy;
(3) Records pertaining to strategy and negotiations with respect to pending claims or pending litigation to which the public agency is a party until such litigation or claim has been finally adjudicated or otherwise settled;
(4) Records, reports and statements of strategy or negotiations with respect to collective bargaining;
(5) Records, tax returns, reports and statements exempted by federal law or state statutes or communications privileged by the attorney-client relationship;
(6) Names or addresses of students enrolled in any public school or college without the consent of each student whose name or address is to be disclosed who is eighteen years of age or older and a parent or guardian of each such student who is younger than eighteen years of age, provided this subdivision shall not be construed as prohibiting the disclosure of the names or addresses of students enrolled in any public school in a regional school district to the board of selectmen or town board of finance, as the case may be, of the town wherein the student resides for the purpose of verifying tuition payments made to such school;
(7) Any information obtained by the use of illegal means;
(8) Logs or other documents that contain information on the movement or assignment of inmates or staff at correctional institutions or facilities
To read the list of exemptions in its entirety, click here.
Do I need to identify myself or explain why I want a public record when requesting one from a public agency?
When requesting a public record, you are not required by law to identify yourself, or explain why you would like to view or copy the record.
To view a sample letter for requesting a public record, click here:
What is the definition of a public record?
What is the role of Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission?
Connecticut is the only state in New England to have a Freedom of Information Commission to mediate alleged violations of the state’s right to know law.
The commission consists of five members appointed by the governor, and approved by either house of the General Assembly. Members serve four-year terms. No more than three of the five members may belong to the same political party.
The commission reviews claims of violations and issues binding orders. The agency has the power to investigate, hold hearings, administer oaths, subpoena and examine witnesses, receive oral and documentary evidence, and to require the production of any books and papers relevant to the case at hand. Should any parties refuse to comply with a subpoena or to testify, the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford may issue an order requiring them to comply, and hold them in contempt should they refuse to obey such an order.
Printed reports issued by the commission of its decisions and opinions, as well as other related materials, are available to the public at a cost not to exceed the actual cost of reproduction to the commission, but not less than $28 per item.
You can access the commission’s Web site by clicking here.
Click here to view final decisions and court decisions.
Which branches of government are included and exempted under Connecticut’s public access law?
- Executive branch
- Legislative branch
Not exempt; Copies of bills, resolutions, and records of hearings and proceedings are kept at the state library for public inspection
- Judicial branch
Limited exemption; The judiciary is subject to the Freedom of Information Act, but only with respect to its “administrative functions.”
For more information, see section I.B. of the Open Government Guide. Click here.
What public records are available online?
The Connecticut Judicial Branch website provides online access to certain public records including:
- Supreme Court case docket sheets and opinions
- Docket sheets about civil, family, criminal, motor vehicle, housing, and small claims cases
There is no known policy on electronic access to court records in Connecticut. The Connecticut Judicial Branch Public Access Task Force recommended that a committee be created to study this issue. The task force recommended that, in the interim, the public not have remote electronic access to filed court documents.
What can I do if a public agency refuses to release a document?
A notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty days, except in the case of an unnoticed or secret meeting, in which case the appeal shall be filed within thirty days after the person filing the appeal receives notice that the meeting was in fact held. The commission hears and decides the appeal within one year after the notice of the filing of the appeal.
To view a sample letter for appealing a decision, click here: