Carroll: Devastating allegations against House leaders, force the question of Colorado’s open meetings law

The Denver Post: Colorado state Representatives Elisabeth Epps (D-Denver) and Bob Marshall (D-Highlands Ranch) filed a lawsuit against House leadership and the House itself alleging both legislative caucuses were meeting in violation of the Colorado open meeting law.

Taken at face value, the allegations are devastating. Among other things, Epps and Marshall allege the caucus meetings violated the law because they were held without any public notice; deliberately concealed those meetings from the public; and members conducted legislative business using encrypted group texts.

Conflicts between rank-and-file members and legislative leadership are not unusual. However, it is highly unusual for members to sue the leadership over those conflicts, especially over meetings that have existed in some form for generations of Colorado legislators. As a former speaker of the House, I’m no stranger to internal conflicts and I also understand the importance of caucus meetings to the General Assembly. In fact, one of the many leadership challenges I constantly confronted was how to conduct caucus meetings in a manner consistent with the Colorado Open Meetings Law.

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