Two words come to mind when looking back at 2018’s government transparency highlights and lowlights in Colorado. Judicial secrecy.
Colorado Legislature 2018
Worried about “reducing transparency” in rural Colorado communities that still lack broadband, Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed a bill that would have phased out the required publication of certain county financial information in newspapers.
Writing that “sunshine on uncomfortable and painful topics such as youth deaths can lead to more positive outcomes for other youths,” Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed a bill that would have closed public access to autopsy reports on minors
Three journalist associations and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition are urging Gov. John Hickenlooper to veto Senate Bill 18-223, which would close public access to autopsy reports on minors.
Unlike a year ago, when state lawmakers improved access to public records, the 2018 session of the Colorado General Assembly was marked by the passage of legislation that will significantly hinder the public’s right to know if it’s signed into law.
Colorado lawmakers are poised to close public access to autopsy reports on minors, bowing to a request from county coroners who say disclosure of the records unnecessarily invades the privacy of families and encourages copycat teen suicides.
A legislative effort to open records on police internal affairs investigations, or at least encourage their disclosure to the public, died when the Senate sponsor of the bill had it killed in committee.
An amended bill endorsed by the Colorado House no longer opens records on police internal affairs files, but essentially encourages their disclosure once an investigation is complete.
A bill to require public disclosure of police internal affairs records cleared its first legislative hurdle on a 7-4 vote in the House Judiciary Committee.
Colorado would join a dozen other states that require public disclosure of internal records on police misconduct under legislation introduced in the House.