FOI: 40th Anniversary

FOIC and CFOG Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the FOI Act

 

In partnership with the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government, the Freedom of Information Commission recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the passage of Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act with a gala dinner at Amarante’s Sea Cliff in New Haven.

 

With more than 100 open government advocates on hand, the organizations bestowed the prestigious Walter Cronkite Freedom of Information Award on Floyd Abrams, the prestigious first amendment litigator, author and educator.

 

Abrams was recognized for being at the forefront of many of the nation’s most significant free speech issues, most notably as a defense attorney for the New York Times in its battle to publish the Pentagon Papers. He is a leading authority on the first amendment and U.S. constitutional law and served as the William J. Brennan Jr. Visiting Professor at the Columbia University Journalism School and has helped endow The Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at the Yale Law School.

 

Past recipients of the Cronkite award include Cronkite himself, renowned journalist and author Bob Woodward, Louis Boccardi, president of the Associated Press, Jim Lehrer, executive editor and anchor of the NewsHour on Public Television and Seymour Hersh, noted journalist and author.

 

FOIC Executive Director and General Counsel Colleen Murphy addressed the gathering and reminded everyone of the FOI Act’s beginnings in 1975.

 

“On the campaign trail in 1974, Ella Grasso made the passage of an open government law a campaign platform. When she became governor, she continued to make passage a top priority and advocated for the FOI Act to be passed unanimously.

 

After the act did indeed pass unanimously in the House and Senate, the governor held a very public bill signing ceremony. She invited all of the sponsors of the bill and the media to be present for the occasion and voiced words that still inspire today,” Murphy told the audience.

 

Recounting the Governor’s words at the bill signing, Murphy said, “The governor  stated: “It is a source of great satisfaction because…it is landmark legislation…[and] it assures the protection of law to a procedure that should never have required protection but nonetheless, we know that there will be an opportunity for access to information…and to attendance at meetings.” She then capped off the signing by saying…“such a pleasure, such a pleasure.”

 

The audience was also regaled by the stylings of Attorney Dan Klau who performed selections from his new album of legal parodies as well as “The FOI!” which he wrote for the 35th anniversary of the FOI Act.

 

 

*PHOTO GALLERY: 40th Anniversary Celebration and Dinner

 





Content Last Modified on 3/1/2016 4:01:09 PM