FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Senior Citizens Unlimited,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 88-159

 

Commissioner, State of Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles,

 

Respondent September 14, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 21, 1988, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated December 15, 1987, the complainant requested a copy of a computer magnetic tape containing "operator license information" for all active holders of motor vehicle licenses. The complainant also requested access to non-driver identification cards.

 

3. The complainant did not receive a response to its December 15, 1987 letter and by letter dated March 8, 1988, it renewed its request described in paragraph 2, above.

 

4. By letter dated March 25, 1988, the respondent offered to provide the complainant with a copy of a computer magnetic tape, containing the entire master registration file (which consists of 2,895,874 records), at a cost of $0.75 per "operator license information." The respondent also stated that he did not maintain files of non-driver identification cards.

 

5. By letter of complaint dated April 19, 1988, postmarked on April 20, 1988 and filed with the Commission on April 25, 1988, the complainant alleged that the imposition of a fee of approximately $2,171,905.50 effectively denies it access to the requested information.

 

Docket #FIC 88-159 Page 2

 

6. The complainant alleges that the cost of copying the requested information on a computer magnetic tape is governed by the fee provisions enumerated in 1-15, G.S.

 

7. The respondent claims that 14-50a(a)(11), G.S., governs the copying costs for the requested information.

 

8. The respondent also claims that pursuant to 14-50a(b) and 14-50a(c), G.S., he has discretionary power concerning the disclosure of registration records and the fee to be charged for copies of such records.

 

9. At the hearing, the complainant clarified its request, stating that it sought a copy of the entire master registration file on a computer magnetic tape without selection or programing.

 

10. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

11. It also is found that 14-50a(a), G.S., applies only to the respondent. Subsection 11 of that section specifically provides that the respondent shall charge $0.75 for a copy of "operator license information."

 

12. It therefore is concluded that the cost of copying the requested information is governed by the specific language of 14-50a(a), G.S., and not by the general language of 1-15, G.S.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of September 14, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission