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.
Open Meetings Laws
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.
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.”
Geoff Wilson, former attorney and lobbyist for the Colorado Municipal League, was awarded the Sue O’Brien Award for Public Service for his continuing support of the principles of transparency and open government.
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.
Colorado lawmakers are taking steps to ensure that people who serve on state government boards and commissions understand their obligations under the sunshine laws and adhere to other “best practices.”