With Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature on House Bill 17-1021, Colorado no longer will treat wage-law violations as “trade secrets” that must be kept from the public.
With no discussion, a Senate committee killed legislation that would have allowed the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to disclose whether a company has cheated its workers.
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.
Aurora’s response to a reporter’s records request illustrates a common problem facing journalists and anyone else in Colorado who wishes to analyze public records kept in spreadsheets or databases. Too often, they get PDFs or stacks of paper instead. This makes analysis difficult or sometimes impossible.