Turner: Sunshine for all

Rio Blanco Herald Times: It might seem like the Sunshine Laws — Colorado’s Open Records and Open Meetings Laws — are only of importance to journalists covering the activities of elected officials and special districts, but the laws themselves are designed to benefit everyone, including members of the general public.

A rash of recent events have had folks asking “how do you know that?” Access to public records is almost always the answer. Sure, you can hear and repeat local scuttlebutt, but that’s not evidence.

A slew of records documenting public business are available for review upon request by “any person.” Not all records are available by CORA (Colorado Open Records Act) rules; some must be withheld and some may be withheld “on the grounds that disclosure would be ‘contrary to the public interest.’” Criminal justice records are subject to slightly different rules, but much is still available to the public under the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act (CCJRA).

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