Following an hour-long floor debate, the Colorado House gave preliminary approval to legislation that would open records on completed police internal affairs investigations.
A bill to open records on completed police internal affairs investigations cleared its first legislative hurdle, passing the House Judiciary Committee on a 7-4 vote.
Reporters have been more likely to get a no-such-records-exist response since the Colorado legislature in 2016 adopted a simplified and expedited process for sealing the criminal records of defendants who are acquitted or have completed a diversion agreement or a deferred sentence, or their cases are dismissed.
A bill to stop the required publication of certain county financial information in newspapers, similar to a measure vetoed last year by then-Gov. John Hickenlooper, died quickly in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee.
Following up on a 2018 study showing that Colorado law enforcement departments regularly reject requests for internal affairs files, a University of Denver law student found that agencies in several other states have no problem disclosing such records to the public.
Two words come to mind when looking back at 2018’s government transparency highlights and lowlights in Colorado. Judicial secrecy.
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.