I’d like to post a special note of thanks to the Society of Professional Journalists and the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission for honoring me with the Helen M. Loy Freedom of Information Award last night.
CT NewsJunkie included the following in their news coverage of the event;
“Jonathan Pelto, the former lawmaker who has previously written for CTNewsJunkie and whose Wait, What? blog on state politics has developed a significant following in recent months, was also honored as the winner of this year’s Helen M. Loy Freedom of Information Award.
Pelto was honored because he took his FOIA complaint against the University of Connecticut — originally filed in 2008 — all the way to the state Supreme Court in an effort to gain access to information in some of the university’s databases. However, even though the justices decided that some information in the public university’s databases can qualify as “trade secrets” and upheld the denial of his request, the state FOI Commission honored Pelto for his persistence.
Pelto spoke briefly at Thursday’s dinner and said that the Internet has opened the door for citizen journalists to make a difference, particularly through information-based advocacy journalism. He said he accepted the award Thursday on behalf of everyone who has ever been stonewalled in their efforts to obtain public documents.”
Although Ms. Loy passed away in 1985, the year I was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives, she has always been known as a powerhouse in the battle to ensure the public’s right to know what its government was doing.
Despite running against Ella Grasso for the position of Secretary of the State, when Grasso become governor, she appointed Loy as one of the three original members of Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission in 1975. Loy later became the Commission’s second chairperson and was a true and strong advocate for the broadest possible interpretation of Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act.
In recent years, it seems that an increasing number of public officials and public agencies have attempted to betray the spirit of Connecticut’s Freedom of Information law, so it is an incredible honor to be counted among those dedicated to ensuring that our state’s commitment to open government is maintained.
For more information on the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists, check out www.connecticutspj.org.