Author: Mark Sommaruga

I Meant What I Said: Transgender Student Rights In Connecticut In The Face Of The Latest Federal Court Developments

As we have previously written, the United States Departments of Education and Justice issued joint guidance for school districts regarding transgender students via a May 13, 2016 “Dear Colleague Letter.” This guidance was based on their interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which is a federal law prohibiting gender-based discrimination in…

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The Aftermath Of The CCJEF Ruling: What Is Next For Public Education In Connecticut?

On September 7, 2016, Superior Court Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher issued a lengthy decision in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell.  As its name would suggest, this case involved a challenge to inequities in educational funding in the State of Connecticut. But the court’s ruling has led to far broader consequences (and…

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Don’t Picture This: The FOIA And The Use Of Smartphones As A Substitute For Paying For Copies

Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] generally permits public agencies to charge for copies (usually, $0.50/page) when complying with FOIA requests. One exception to this fee requirement is that an individual may engage in “self-help” and copy a public record through the use of a “hand-held scanner”. Connecticut General Statutes §1-212(g).  A “hand held scanner”…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds and The FOIA (Part Three): Trying To Do The Right Thing Is A Good Thing Under The FOIA

In our latest posting on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], we confirm that the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has a heart, and may sometimes forgive technical non-compliance by public agencies and their employees. Honesty and good faith = highly moral and good FOIA strategy I often preach that honesty, common sense and an…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds And The FOIA (Part Two): Can You See My Notes (And Calendar)?

For those who still cannot get enough after my latest post on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], here are more nuggets from the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”]. Today, we focus on written notes and calendar entries. When are personal notes FOIA-able? Generally, but not always, one’s own personal notes may be exempt from…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds and The FOIA: More Interesting Cases From The FOIC (Part One)

Dropping thermometers did not diminish the heated action occurring before Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”]. It should also go without saying that the accompanying snow, ice and other perils of winter did not eliminate the need of public agencies to comply with Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”].  Here are some decisions of note…

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Transgender Student Issues – The FEDs Speak, But Is It Really News In Connecticut?

On May 13, 2016, with much fanfare, the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Education jointly issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” [“DCL”] in order to provide guidance for school districts with respect to transgender students; the Departments also issued a document entitled “Samples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting…

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