Roraback Bill To Prevent Voice Mail Transcription Passes Senate Unanimously

April 23, 2003

Senator Andrew Roraback, R-30, today secured Senate passage of a bill he introduced to ensure that the State Freedom of Information Law is not interpreted to require public officials to transcribe voice mail messages.

“My bill is intended to relieve small towns and public officials at the local and state level of any burden to transcribe voice mails. It is necessary because the state Freedom of Information Commission is working on a rule that might require them to transcribe voice mail messages under certain circumstances. If the commission succeeds, and this legislation is not part of state law, then we will impose a terrible, practical hardship on all who serve the public, from boards of education members to parks and recreation commission members,” said Senator Roraback.

Senator Roraback said he proposed his bill at the request of several First Selectmen in his district. Since then, several groups have expressed support for his proposal, including the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Town Clerks’ Association, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, and the Connecticut Council of Small Towns.

“Anyone who is familiar with my stand on the issues knows that I am very much in favor of open government. However, requiring the transcription of voice mail messages takes an important principle to an absurd extreme. And, it could have the unintended consequence of discouraging people from running for elective office, or even volunteering to serve on small town boards and commissions. That would be a terrible outcome for everyone,” said Senator Roraback.

Senator Roraback’s proposal is pending action by the House of Representatives.