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.
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.
Legislation to modernize Colorado’s open-records law underwent a significant makeover with little more than a day left in the 2017 session.
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.
State lawmakers could substantially reform the Colorado Open Records Act during the 2017 legislative session.
Immediately after a bill to modernize the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) died in a Senate committee last session, the Secretary of State’s office offered to bring stakeholders together to work on a 2017 proposal agreeable to both government entities and records requesters. That effort is well underway this summer and has focused on three main topics.
Sen. John Kefalas and Rep. Dan Pabon deserve thanks for their valiant, but unsuccessful, effort to guarantee the public’s right to inspect its records. Their bill, SB 16-037, would have clarified that Coloradans enjoy the right to obtain copies of public records in the same digitized format in which government maintains those records.
Colorado lawmakers are taking steps to formalize a 2½-year-old pilot program that encourages state government agencies to “streamline access to public data” by making datasets available online in machine-readable formats.
Colorado lawmakers will consider at least four measures to expand public access to information during the legislature’s 2016 session, which convenes Jan. 13.