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.
Will 2016 be remembered as the year we realized just how much our democracy depends on an informed citizenry? The fake news epidemic was one of many issues the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition highlighted in 2016 or wrote about on its blog.
A Denver judge ruled that Colorado’s health care exchange improperly denied “valid and appropriate” open-records requests made in early 2015 by Independence Institute reporter Todd Shepherd.
Whether emails are retained by governments in Colorado is “really sort of an honor system thing,” State Archivist George Orlowski told us. “The senders and recipients of emails have to decide whether there’s something important that needs to be preserved.”
Opposition from a state agency and several local governments doomed proposed legislation intended to modernize Colorado’s open-records law by requiring that public records kept in database formats be available to the public in similar formats.
If we don’t take steps to start requiring logical, smart, and efficient archiving methods of government electronic data soon, the next time the citizens of Colorado are victims of government negligence or incompetence, as happened in Flint, Mich., we may have more than government to blame.