Happy birthday to us – and a shout-out to some of Colorado’s original freedom-of-information fighters. Thirty years ago, on Aug. 3, 1987, 24 representatives of various news and public-interest organizations gathered at the Denver Press Club to create a state Freedom of Information Council, the entity now known as the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
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.
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.
Under House Bill 17-1204, a judge would have to order a juvenile be charged as an adult to trigger the public release of arrest and criminal records.
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.
A Colorado House bill is intended to encourage records requesters and government entities to resolve disputes through mediation rather than in the court system.
It happened to be Groundhog Day when a House committee killed Rep. Polly Lawrence’s latest effort to make administrative records of Colorado’s judicial branch subject to the state’s open records law.