It’s long overdue for one of the absurd practices of some Colorado government offices to end. Specifically, Senate Bill 17-040 has been proposed in the Colorado General Assembly to close a loophole created by officials and bureaucrats avoiding their responsibilities to provide citizens access to the information which everyone always has agreed is public.
Groups representing Colorado journalists and citizen requesters of public records are voicing concerns about a legislative proposal to resolve records disputes through mediation.
State lawmakers could substantially reform the Colorado Open Records Act during the 2017 legislative session.
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.
Journalists must “double down on the public trust” and governments must “release their stranglehold on information about the public’s business,” former Denver Post Editor Greg Moore said, accepting an award from the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
Congress and state legislatures that provide public funds to police departments to deploy body-worn cameras should attach strings to that purse and mandate that there be a strong presumption of public access to such recordings, with only narrow, carefully defined exceptions.
Litigate or give up. Those are your legal options in Colorado if a government entity improperly withholds public records, charges you out-of-line fees for inspection or drags its feet on a records request. The same is true if you suspect that a public body violated the Open Meetings Law. In many other states, however, litigation is not the only way to challenge FOI denials.
On matters affecting public information, the General Assembly did little during this year’s session to improve access. The most significant legislative win for government transparency doesn’t actually affect governments.
Information on employers who violate wage laws in Colorado shouldn’t be considered confidential “trade secrets,” a panel of state lawmakers decided.
Records showing a public school teacher’s request for sick leave are not part of a teacher’s confidential personnel file and must be disclosed to the public, if requested, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled.