To commemorate CORA’s golden anniversary, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition asked a few Coloradans for their thoughts on what what the open records law means to them and what it has meant for the people of our state.
The Otis Telegraph calls itself “The friendly voice of Washington County” because it likes to promote the community, says co-publisher Jerry Patterson. “But every once in a while you have to step up and do things that papers are supposed to do. You have to ask the tough questions.”
The city says the Denver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Exploratory Committee, formed by Mayor Michael Hancock, is not bound by the Colorado Open Meetings Law and, therefore, it can meet however it sees fit. But there is a solid legal argument that the state’s open meetings law indeed does apply to the Winter Olympics exploratory committee. And if that’s the case, the public should be notified of all meetings and the committee should bar the public from attending only under the limited circumstances allowed by the law.
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.
Colorado’s Sunshine Law is supposed to prevent more than two members of a local public body from exchanging thoughts outside of a public meeting on matters related to their jobs as policymakers. But Lakewood City Council members appear to be doing just that in a recent email provided to the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
A House committee approved a Sunshine Law exception for Colorado Mountain College so that its board of trustees can make decisions electronically under limited circumstances.
The governing boards of Colorado’s two local district community colleges want state lawmakers’ permission to make decisions via email.
Rachel Zenzinger’s appointment to the Colorado Senate last fall created a vacancy on the Arvada City Council that was filled in January using secret ballots to eliminate candidates. On Thursday, Sen. Zenzinger explained why she is now sponsoring legislation making it “crystal clear” that any person has legal standing to challenge violations of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.