The Day: Professors think a proposed bill could help with harassment. FOI advocates disagree.

On March 6, CSLDF Director Lauren Kurtz testified before the Connecticut General Assembly in support of SB 1153, a proposed bill that would strengthen protections for scientists and researchers by updating the state’s open records laws.

From The Day:

“Climate Science Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Lauren Kurtz wrote in supporting the bill, “Open records laws have a vital role in government transparency but, in the specific realm  of higher education, they also can be exploited by bad actors to harass and intimidate scientists  and academics whose research they dislike. State open records laws were initially written long  before the advent of email and sometimes even the founding of state universities.” 

She said responding to inquiries can consume tens, hundreds or thousands of hours that  professors would rather spend doing research, while “universities simultaneously drown in legal  fees that subtract from the public education budget.” 

Kurtz added that academic work is already publicly available when published.”

CSLDF’s 50 State Report, which gave Connecticut a “C” for how its open records laws treat research materials, was also cited by UConn-AAUP Executive Director Michael Bailey in his testimony in support of the legislation.

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