A final Senate vote moved Colorado closer to joining other states that allow public access to records of completed law enforcement internal affairs investigations. HB 19-1119 is now on Gov. Jared Polis’ desk.
Public Records Laws
A Colorado Senate committee advanced legislation that would open records on completed law enforcement internal affairs investigations.
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.
Elbert County officials are fighting a pro se lawsuit that challenges the county’s policy of requiring records requesters to show identification.
Following an hour-long floor debate, the Colorado House gave preliminary approval to legislation that would open records on completed police internal affairs investigations.
A bill to open records on completed police internal affairs investigations cleared its first legislative hurdle, passing the House Judiciary Committee on a 7-4 vote.
Reporters have been more likely to get a no-such-records-exist response since the Colorado legislature in 2016 adopted a simplified and expedited process for sealing the criminal records of defendants who are acquitted or have completed a diversion agreement or a deferred sentence, or their cases are dismissed.
A bill to stop the required publication of certain county financial information in newspapers, similar to a measure vetoed last year by then-Gov. John Hickenlooper, died quickly in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee.
Following up on a 2018 study showing that Colorado law enforcement departments regularly reject requests for internal affairs files, a University of Denver law student found that agencies in several other states have no problem disclosing such records to the public.