The Colorado Senate endorsed a heavily amended version of the open-records modernization bill, adding a broad exemption to bar the disclosure of records that “could endanger public safety or the operation of critical infrastructure.”
The open-records modernization bill survived the Senate Appropriations Committee, but lawmakers retained amendments that could let governments withhold some records now available for public inspection.
A bill to modernize Colorado’s open-records law cleared its first legislative hurdle, but lawmakers added amendments that could be broadly interpreted to allow the withholding of some records currently available for public inspection.
A Colorado House bill is intended to encourage records requesters and government entities to resolve disputes through mediation rather than in the court system.
State lawmakers could substantially reform the Colorado Open Records Act during the 2017 legislative session.
After months of work by stakeholders, proposed 2017 legislation is taking shape that would modernize the Colorado Open Records Act and provide an alternative to litigation for resolving CORA disputes. Despite the progress, however, a formidable roadblock surfaced when the Colorado Attorney General’s office announced that it will not support the most recent bill draft.
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.
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.
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.