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Connecticut towns shutter Web sites in response to new law

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  1. Freedom of Information
Small towns and communities in Connecticut are shutting down their entire Web sites for fear that a new state law,…

Small towns and communities in Connecticut are shutting down their entire Web sites for fear that a new state law, requiring local governments to post agendas and minutes for board and commission meetings, may get them into legal trouble, The Associated Press reported. 

City officials say they lack the resources to meet the standards laid out by the law. First Selectman Barbara Henry of Roxbury told the newswire that most city hall employees only work part-time, and it would be impossible for them to post all the necessary meeting information on the site on time.

The AP says municipal Web sites generally contain a wide variety of local information, such as recycling policies and library hours. But since the law went into effect on October 1, none of that has been available in some places.

Colleen Murphy, executive director and general counsel for the state Freedom of Information Commission, thinks taking down the sites is an overreaction, and says she is working with towns to quell fears and get their sites up.

"It’s really disappointing that towns, rather than even attempt to comply, they’re shutting down an information resource to the people," Murphy told The AP.

State Sen. Andrew Roraback said the new law didn’t get enough attention in the legislation session. "In our zeal to make information more available to the public," he said, "we’re making information less available, because towns are taking down their Web sites."