Open-records bill gets hearing, Fort Collins council opposes

Fort Collins Coloradoan: Sen. John Kefalas’ bill to expand Colorado’s open records law is set to get a hearing after all.

Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, chair of the senate’s State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee, pulled the bill hours before it was scheduled for a hearing earlier this month. It’s back on the docket for a Feb. 22 committee hearing.

Kefalas’ bill would require government and entities funded with taxpayer dollars that are subject to the Colorado Open Records Act to provide records in a digital, searchable format, provided they are kept that way. Kefalas, a Fort Collins Democrat, started the push last year after the Coloradoan’s effort to acquire the digital version of Colorado State University’s salary increase exercise.

CSU met CORA requirements by keeping the 146-page database in a hard copy in its library.

Meanwhile, the Fort Collins City Council’s Legislative Review Committee has come out against it, even as Fort Collins earlier this month said it will move toward an open data policy.

The committee isn’t opposed to transparency efforts, said Councilman Ray Martinez, a member of the committee. Instead, he and fellow member Gino Campana are concerned that its passage would force mandates on home rule cities such as Fort Collins. Councilman Ross Cunniff, the committee’s third member, supports Kefalas’ bill.

“We’re a home rule city,” Martinez said. “We don’t think the state should be telling us how to run our personal rules.”

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