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.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation that requires a “cooling-off period” when open-records disputes reach the point where litigation is being considered.
A bill addressing the expungement of juvenile delinquency records no longer includes a provision changing the public availability of arrest records when juveniles are charged as adults.
A bill to modernize Colorado’s public records law survived a state House panel in a form closer to the way it was introduced earlier in the legislative session.
A required “cooling-down period” aimed at resolving open-records disputes without litigation continued its easy journey in the Colorado legislature.
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.