9Wants to Know tests state lawmaker email policy

From 9NEWS (Denver):  After revealing all 100 Colorado lawmakers use private email to conduct the public’s business, 9Wants to Know tested the transparency of their email policy.

Under the Colorado Open Records Act and the email policy for the state’s General Assembly, some messages generated by legislators are considered public record, regardless if that email is on a public or private server. Constituent emails are considered private.

Under CORA, legislators are required to provide requested documents immediately if they are available. Legislators can have up to three business days to comply with a request.

It took two CORA requests to compel 96 legislators to even acknowledge the requests over an eight-day period. Four never responded to the requests as of this publication. Seventeen legislators claimed they didn’t have any documents. Seventy-nine who responded provided records.

“The problem with them having use private email is an access problem,” said Jeff Roberts of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition. “It’s much easier for them to delete an email, if they’re the ones deciding access. They’re the ones deciding what’s a public record and what’s not.”

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