The CFOIC questions why the public had to wait so long to see the Aurora theater shooting response report and why certain already well-publicized names and details have been X’d out.
Public Records Laws
A 2013 report illustrated the confusing and expensive landscape of “research and retrieval” fees charged to CORA requestors by various state, county and municipal government entities. One year later, Colorado Ethics Watch and CFOIC have revisited those same government entities to see if things have improved.
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.”
A reporter for the Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank, asked for a court order that compels the state Division of Insurance to justify its refusal to release emails discussing the one-year renewal of health insurance policies not in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.
A consortium of broadcast media organizations argued that an outside review of Aurora’s emergency response to the July 2012 theater shooting should be released to the public.
Colorado’s Sunshine Law defines a meeting as “any kind of gathering, convened to discuss public business, in person, by telephone, electronically, or by (any) other means of communication.” This includes emailing, texting, tweeting, instant messaging, Facebook messaging, Snapchatting and forms of communication that haven’t been invented yet.
A month after a new statewide cap on public records fees went into effect, many governments and agencies in Colorado have adjusted their records policies to comply with the revised statute. But several have yet to post policies that conform to the provisions of HB 14-1193, even though the bill was signed by the governor in early May.
Just like the rest of us, government officials and employees in Colorado conduct much of their official business online nowadays via emails, texts and social media. But there is a big difference between their emails and the emails of those of us in the private sector: Much, if not most, of their business happens to be our business, especially if it involves the expenditure of public funds.
In a six-minute video, First Amendment attorney and CFOIC President Steve Zansberg explains what you need to know about the new CORA fees law and what to do if you think you’re being charged too much for public records.
At least two government entities, the city of Aurora and the state Independent Ethics Commission, have changed their open-records policies in advance of a new law, capping research-and-retrieval charges, that goes into effect July 1.