Colorado Ethics Watch is closing its doors after 11 years of helping Coloradans hold public officials accountable and winning some significant battles for government transparency in the state legislature and in court.
It’s been on the books since the state legislature adopted the Colorado Open Records Act nearly a half-century ago: Anyone who “willfully and knowingly” violates the statute is guilty of a misdemeanor and faces up to 90 days in jail and a $100 fine. But on Aug. 9, when Senate Bill 17-040 goes into effect, the criminal penalty in CORA will disappear.
By mandating that searchable digital records must be provided in a searchable format and sortable digital records must be produced in a sortable digital form, Colorado joins some 15 other states whose open records laws so require. This huge advance in government transparency certainly deserves celebration.
Ending what Sen. John Kefalas called “the most incredible journey,” Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill that modernizes the Colorado Open Records Act by clarifying the public’s right to copies of digital public records.
For Coloradans concerned about access to government information, the 2017 legislative session will be judged by what occurred on the 120th and final day.
An 18-month push to update Colorado’s open-records law for the digital age culminated in the final passage of a bill that clarifies the public’s right to copies of electronic government records in useful file formats that permit analysis of information in those records.
Two Democratic-sponsored bills to limit “dark money” in Colorado political campaigns died in the Republican-controlled Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
A House committee approved two bills aimed at shining light on political dark money in Colorado.
A Colorado House committee endorsed a completely reworked proposal to encourage the resolution of open-records disputes without litigation. The new version of HB 17-1177 essentially makes mediation optional.
Groups representing Colorado journalists and citizen requesters of public records are voicing concerns about a legislative proposal to resolve records disputes through mediation.