Actual malice. Autopsy reports. The Columbine killers’ “basement tapes.” Stapleton Development Corp. records. The governor’s cellphone bills. The meetings and records of a county retirement board. Tom Kelley waged court battles over these issues and many more as an attorney for The Denver Post, other news organizations and the Colorado Press Association, steadfastly and expertly defending the public’s right to know and the journalist’s right to report.
Open Meetings Laws
A case before the Colorado Court of Appeals focuses on what city councils and other government boards must tell the public before they meet in private.
There was no need to wait for final adjournment to see that the 2019 Colorado legislative session was a productive one for freedom of information and First Amendment-related issues. Gov. Jared Polis cinched that on April 12, when he signed into law a groundbreaking transparency bill that ensures the public disclosure of records on police internal affairs investigations.
Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition’s new 30-page “Guide to Colorado’s Open Records and Open Meetings Laws” covers what you need to know about access to information from state agencies and local governments.
Local governments in Colorado would be encouraged to post meeting notices online, rather than in a designated physical location, under a bipartisan bill approved by a committee of state lawmakers.
Steve Zansberg, president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, discussed Sunshine Week and CFOIC’s latest work Tuesday with Zack Newman, investigative data producer at 9NEWS.
Bipartisan legislation designed to fix an “unintended consequence” of the 2014 ballot initiative that opened school district bargaining sessions to the public won unanimous approval Tuesday in the House Education Committee.
Regardless of the intent, were the actions of the Park County commissioners legal? Is there a difference between what journalists can do versus ordinary citizens? With portable video and audio recorders in the pockets of most people, how will situations like this be mediated in the future? The short answer: It’s complicated but becoming clearer.
Two words come to mind when looking back at 2018’s government transparency highlights and lowlights in Colorado. Judicial secrecy.
Basalt town council members violated Colorado’s open meetings law in 2016 when they used email to discuss a retail marijuana resolution and other matters, a judge ruled.