What do you get when you ask three lawyers to discuss the ambiguous aspects of the Colorado Open Records Act and the state’s Sunshine (open meetings) Law? The answer is not four opinions.
Open Meetings Laws
Russell Weisfield, whose lawsuit over the use of secret ballots by the Arvada City Council led to a change in the state Open Meetings Law last year, won the Colorado Press Association’s “Friend of the First” award.
For the CFOIC, revisiting 2014 reveals a somewhat troubling string of stories about issues and problems affecting government transparency in Colorado. Consider them one by one and you might not be all that concerned. But put them in a list and you could reasonably conclude that open government in the Centennial State is still a work in progress.
With possible recounts no longer going forward in three counties, the 2014 election is essentially in the books. But a question lingers: Should county canvass boards, those groups of registered voters appointed to certify election results, be subject to Colorado’s Sunshine Law?
Plenty of evidence suggests that CSU’s student government is subject to the Sunshine Law and, therefore, a reporter for the student newspaper should not have been barred from a hearing to impeach a student senator.
Reporter Teresa Benns has endured verbal attacks and threats of physical violence while documenting and commenting on the workings and failings of government in Saguache County and the small town of Center. She perseveres because it’s her duty, she said, accepting the CFOIC’s Jean Otto Friend of Freedom Award.
To help parents, teachers, students and taxpayers better understand how to use the Colorado Open Records Act and the state’s Open Meetings Law, the CFOIC and Chalkbeat Colorado teamed up to present a lively and informative panel discussion: “Transparency 101: How to exercise your rights to information and open meetings in your school district.”
The Arvada resident who sued his city for using secret ballots to fill a vacant council seat has appealed a judge’s ruling that he lacked legal standing to challenge Arvada for violating Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.
A committee of state lawmakers finalized the “Blue Book” wording that explains Proposition 104, a statewide ballot initiative that would require school boards in Colorado to let the public observe collective bargaining negotiations. One aspect of the proposal that remains murky, however, is whether it would require school boards to discuss their negotiation strategies in public.
Englewood’s announcement of a new city manager, more than a week before the City Council is scheduled to vote during a public meeting, is an admission that it violated the state’s Open Meetings Law, says CFOIC President Steve Zansberg.