Hefty: Why access to public information is vital for all of us

Fort Collins Coloradoan: Each year, journalists across the nation celebrate Sunshine Week.

No, we aren’t celebrating the beginning of warmer weather — though many of us are counting down the days until the official start of spring.

Sunshine Week, this year March 10-16, celebrates the community’s right to access public documents and information — and it benefits all of us, especially those of us not in the news business.

While there are nationwide regulations, states also have individual Sunshine Laws, which require certain documents and government proceedings to be open and available to the public.

In Colorado, there are two laws in particular that we honor this week: The Colorado Open Records Act and Open Meetings Law.

The government was elected by and to serve the people, and therefore proceedings and many documents belong to us, the citizens. Sunshine laws are a cornerstone to our democracy and help preserve that fundamental relationship between the governing and the governed.

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