Zansberg: SB-40 brings CORA into the digital age

Fort Collins Coloradoan: Statistics can illuminate various trends, and depending on how the basic data is manipulated or “crunched,” reveal different perspectives of reality.

For example, a population of 100 may have experienced a doubling of the average annual income if its collective income went from $1,000 to $2,000. But a different assessment of the data might show that a year ago the 100 residents earned $10 each, but in this past year only one person earned $2,000 and the other 99 residents earned nothing at all.

This simple illustration shows that having access to the underling data set is necessary to fully comprehend what is actually happening.

Today, most of the databases maintained by government agencies are massive files that are kept in digital format, which also allows for sophisticated, automated data analysis.

Thankfully, a bill introduced by Senator John Kefalas and Representative Dan Pabon will guarantee Colorado citizens the right of to gain access to such files in a digitized, manipulable form. Their bill, SB-40, will bring Colorado’s Open Records Act into the 21st century, creating an express statutory right that already exists in 16 other states.

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