Some governmental entities in Colorado refuse to release meeting minutes to the public until they are officially approved at the next board meeting, which could be weeks away. Is that how it’s supposed to work?
Open Meetings Laws
Two months after a Jefferson County judge dismissed a citizen’s lawsuit against Arvada for using secret ballots to replace a City Council member, the governor signed legislation to ensure that anyone can legally challenge violations of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.
Fees for public records, protecting the confidential sources of journalists, the Open Meetings Law. These weren’t the topics that grabbed the biggest headlines during the during the 2014 legislative session. But that doesn’t diminish their importance.
Rachel Zenzinger’s appointment to the Colorado Senate last fall created a vacancy on the Arvada City Council that was filled in January using secret ballots to eliminate candidates. On Thursday, Sen. Zenzinger explained why she is now sponsoring legislation making it “crystal clear” that any person has legal standing to challenge violations of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.
A revived school board transparency bill, which barely passed the Colorado Senate last week, cleared the House Education Committee on Monday on a 7-5 party-line vote.
The House moved quickly to advance legislation making it clear that any person has legal standing to challenge violations of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.
Following outcry over the dismissal of a lawsuit against Arvada for allegedly violating a 2012 ban on the use of secret ballots, state lawmakers introduced legislation to clarify that any citizen has legal standing to challenge violations of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.
A second attempt at boosting school board transparency this session won initial approval in the Colorado Senate. SB 14-182 is a weaker version of an unsuccessful House bill that would have required the electronic recording of all portions of school board executive sessions, including attorney-client discussions.
The Senate Education Committee approved a weaker version of the school board transparency bill that died earlier in the legislative session. A requirement that all portions of school board executive sessions be electronically recorded, the most controversial element of the unsuccessful legislation, is not part of the revived proposal.
Two state lawmakers are trying again to give the public a bit more information about local school board discussions that take place behind closed doors.