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.
Public Records Laws
Signing the CORA reform bill, standardizing fees that governments in Colorado can charge to fill public records requests, Gov. John Hickenlooper cited President Teddy Roosevelt’s fondness for many of the muckraking journalists of his era.
The House re-passed HB 14-1193, sending it to Gov. John Hickenlooper. If it becomes law, the Colorado Open Records Act will specify research-fee parameters for the first time since it was enacted in 1969.
On a 56-8 vote, the Colorado House rejected Senate amendments to a bill that regulates how much the state and local governments can charge to research and compile public records.
A bill that caps research-and-retrieval fees for public records at $30 per hour passed the Colorado Senate with an amendment requiring that costs be the same for everyone.
A revised version of the mug shot bill won initial approval in the Colorado Senate, while state senators also gave a preliminary nod to amended legislation on open-records fees.
In recognition of national Sunshine Week, CFOIC and KUSA-TV hosted a panel for citizens and journalists on access to public records. Moderator Kyle Clark led panelists Melissa Blasius, Joel Dyer, Keli Rabon and Steve Zansberg through a lively discussion. View the entire presentation on our blog.
The passive surveillance bill is close to being on its way to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk. The measure, which mandates the purging of most images captured by government cameras after three years, won unanimous approval in the Colorado Senate.
An amendment to HB 14-1193 removes the minimum wage requirement and instead caps research and retrieval fees at $30 per hour with a requirement that the first hour be provided for free.
The trick to getting records from Colorado’s health exchange is to make relatively narrow requests. If the request is just right, officials must supply the information within three business days.