What’s “fake news” and what’s not? You might forgive the public for not knowing the difference these days, given how often that term is tossed about. Because media literacy is an issue both nationally and locally, it was the ideal topic for a Sunshine Week panel called “Getting to the truth in an age of alternative facts.”
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.
The open-records modernization bill survived the Senate Appropriations Committee, but lawmakers retained amendments that could let governments withhold some records now available for public inspection.
Emails of public officials are open for inspection under the Colorado Open Records Act, depending on their content. Such messages can reveal important insights into how government decisions are made, but using CORA to obtain emails can be a frustrating and sometimes futile exercise because records-retention policies tend to be vague and discretionary.
Responsible and democracy-loving public officials should reserve the “fake news” label exclusively for the type of garbage for which it was created and has come to be understood: complete and utter fabrications that have no basis in fact, and no legitimate sources to support the published allegations.
A bill to modernize Colorado’s open-records law cleared its first legislative hurdle, but lawmakers added amendments that could be broadly interpreted to allow the withholding of some records currently available for public inspection.
Groups representing Colorado journalists and citizen requesters of public records are voicing concerns about a legislative proposal to resolve records disputes through mediation.
An environmental and wildlife activist sued the Boulder County Commission, alleging a “persistent pattern” of improper closed-door meetings and repeated violations of the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).
A Colorado House bill is intended to encourage records requesters and government entities to resolve disputes through mediation rather than in the court system.
For half a century, public records laws have been indispensable tools for disproving “alternative facts” and getting to the truth about government spending, activities and decision making. But in our state, the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) is showing its age, especially regarding access to the myriad records maintained in spreadsheets and databases by state agencies, cities, counties and other taxpayer-funded entities covered by the law.