Like last year, court rulings dominate CFOIC’s 2022 list of transparency highs and lows, with perhaps the most closely watched decision coming nearly three weeks after a shooter killed five people and wounded more than a dozen others at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs on Nov. 19.
Open Meetings Laws
Three Lakewood City Council members are raising free-speech concerns after Mayor Adam Paul muted two of their microphones while they spoke during a Zoom meeting convened to consider changes to the city manager’s contract.
Colorado’s Sunshine Law does not require members of an elected public board to discuss the censure of a fellow board member in an open meeting, a judge has ruled.
The public is entitled to know which of their elected legislators favored or opposed certain measures under consideration at the Capitol, in votes that have had real-world, bill-killing consequences.
Approved by Colorado voters in November 1972, the Sunshine Law ushered in a new era of government transparency in our state, establishing stricter rules for open meetings at the Capitol and providing the basis for the more wide-ranging transparency law that now dictates how all public bodies statewide conduct business.
Over the past two decades, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and its member organizations and board members have achieved numerous successes both in amending the Colorado Open Meetings Law and in applying it in lawsuits to ensure compliance by governmental bodies.
A judge declined to hold members of the Woodland Park school board in contempt for allegedly violating his April order to list meeting agenda items “clearly, honestly and forthrightly.”
Some wildlife advocates are unhappy with a new policy that bars them from audio and video recording, as well as livestreaming, meetings held by a group advising the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission on a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves.
For those concerned about access to government records in Colorado, the 2022 legislative session was notable for what didn’t happen — the introduction of a bill addressing frustrating issues such as expensive fees, email retention and slow responses by law enforcement agencies.
Remote testimony on bills, a positive outgrowth of the COVID-19 pandemic, likely will remain an option for the public during future sessions of the Colorado General Assembly.