Perl: The rising cost of public records

From The Colorado Independent:  It’s hard enough for folks to stay informed about what our government is doing – the demands of work, family, and binge-watching Netflix can take most of our time and energy. Even when Coloradans make an effort to educate themselves on important issues in our communities, they face roadblocks to information.

In many counties, budgets and spending information aren’t posted online, and are only available during office hours. Court records in death penalty cases have been sealed, even though journalists reported from the courtroom during those trials. Government officials operate under “read then delete” email retention policies, erasing messages that helped form major policy decisions.

Beyond these barriers is another set of impediments limiting access to public information. Many city, county and state government offices are charging increasingly high fees for public documents in a state that helped pioneer the national movement for government transparency and unfettered access to public records.  The 1969 Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), the state’s so-called “sunshine law,” was enacted to guarantee access to public documents, but didn’t address whether – or how much – we should have to pay for records generated by our governments.

Visit The Colorado Independent for more.

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