Colorado Open Records Act hasn’t kept up with technology, report says

From the Denver Business Journal: The Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) has not kept pace with the times and “suffers from pre-digital age thinking to the detriment of citizens and government officials alike,” according to Colorado Ethics Watch.

Colorado Ethics Watch on Wednesday released the report “21st Century Sunshine: Modernizing CORA,” which identifies weaknesses in Colorado sunshine laws and recommends reforms that will modernize CORA and save taxpayers’ money.

The report notes that most commonly sought public records could easily be put online by government agencies, but they haven’t been in some cases.

“In the 21st century, sunshine means online disclosure to most citizens,” according to a report summary.

Other recommendations to help Colorado citizens gain access to public documents included charging “uniform and minimal” fees for documents because “increased fees cut off access to public records by the average citizen and attempt to shift the cost of government to a financially strapped traditional press.”

“Our government is not truly transparent and accountable to the people of Colorado so long as our access to public records remains governed by 1960s technology and a public-if-requested mindset,” said Peg Perl, staff counsel for Colorado Ethics Watch. “We need modernizing reforms such as digital production of requested materials, proactive disclosure of government spending and policy documents online, and predictable and minimal fees for unusual requests to bring ‘the spirit of CORA’ into the new millennium.”

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