Kefalas: It’s time to modernize the Colorado Open Records Act

From the Coloradoan (Fort Collins): It is time to modernize the Colorado Open Records Act, or CORA, to ensure that members of the public can access government records in digital formats that allow them to understand and analyze the contents of these public records.

The public must have access to such records to hold their governments accountable and to promote greater transparency, civic engagement and public trust. This is why I am sponsoring SB16-037, which will be heard in the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

I decided to work on this issue because of a circumstance that occurred in Fort Collins last year and was reported in the Coloradoan. Colorado State University was conducting a study on gender pay equity, and the Coloradoan asked to see records related to the study. In response to the request, CSU printed a 146-page document and informed the Coloradoan to review the information at the campus library. When asked to provide the data in a digital format for analysis, CSU indicated that under current CORA law it had no obligation to do so.

I researched the issue further and discovered many examples where the public was denied access to records in machine-readable digital formats that allow for reference across data sets. When requests were fulfilled either in hard copy or an electronic format such as a PDF file, requesters had to incur unnecessary, and in some cases, excessive costs. It is critical to be able to analyze and understand such information in a reasonable manner to promote the public interest.

Visit the Coloradoan for more.

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