Editorial: County notices essential for an informed public

The Pueblo Chieftain: The public’s right to know would be diminished if government lobbyists succeed in getting the Colorado Legislature to pass a bill phasing out the legal requirement that public notices of county salaries and monthly county financial reports be published in a newspaper.

Senate Bill 156 has passed the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and has been sent to the full Senate for further action. We oppose the bill.

The Colorado Press Association makes a strong case that public notices are important for government transparency, providing a permanent, neutral-party record of important public information.

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, SB156 would allow counties to place public notices of county salaries and expense reports on each county’s website, rather than a local newspaper, as is required under current law.

This presupposes that everyone has ready access to the internet or would know how to navigate a government website. That can be a very confusing and frustrating experience, except perhaps for people who know what they’re searching for ahead of time.

Since the county — hardly a neutral party — would control whether the information is displayed prominently or not, it could be very difficult for most people to find it.

That’s like the fox guarding the henhouse.

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