Editorial: We hope Hickenlooper remembers his words about the important role of journalism

The Greeley Tribune: During a personal appearance at the Colorado Press Association convention last month in Colorado Springs, Gov. John Hickenlooper spoke eloquently about the value to democracy of a free and empowered press.

Among other things, the two-term governor quoted James Madison: “A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives,” Hickenlooper said, according to an account of the speech for the Colorado Press Association by Jennifer Forker. He also spoke of the vital role newspapers play in ensuring residents can gain that knowledge.

We hope Hickenlooper remembers that speech when he considers a couple bills, which are awaiting action on his desk. The bills come as the latest from a legislative session that has done more than its fair share of damage to the public’s right to know this year.

For example, legislators killed a bill that would have required police agencies across the state to make public records relating to internal affairs investigations. They also killed a bill that would have required greater transparency from the Public Utilities Commission.

Frustratingly, legislators passed House Bill 156, sponsored by Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, which would remove the requirement that counties publish monthly financial reports in newspapers. And Senate Bill 223, which would allow authorities to keep autopsy reports involving children secret.

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