When the Fort Collins City Council went into an executive session Oct. 20, the announced purpose was to discuss “broadband issues,” a topic not expressly authorized in the Colorado Open Meetings Law for closed-door deliberations.
Neither the Colorado Open Records Act nor the Colorado Open Meetings Law applies to the constitutionally created state commission that investigates allegations of ethical misconduct involving public officials, the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled.
This may come as a surprise to Coloradans who have been quoted hundreds or thousands of dollars by cities, state agencies, school districts and other government entities for “research and retrieval” in response to their public records requests: Not every state allows such charges.
The Colorado Supreme Court moved closer to possibly adopting a statewide standard for guiding judges’ decisions to seal or suppress court records in criminal cases.
Not only is a $50-per-record research fee not authorized in CORA, the building department’s public records policy makes no mention of providing a free hour to requesters. That is an “unequivocal violation of CORA,” said Steve Zansberg, a First Amendment lawyer and president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition. The department’s justification for its research-and-retrieval fee is “simply lacking in any legal basis,” he added.
Allowing the University of Colorado regents to “engage in manipulative word-play and end-run” the Colorado Open Records Act by defining the term “finalist” to mean a sole “nominee” for the CU presidency would “deal a crippling blow” to the statute, argues a brief submitted to the Colorado Court of Appeals on Tuesday by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
Is it legal for a Colorado school board to select finalists for a superintendent’s job while meeting behind closed doors?
Rachael Johnson was looking for a way to combine her career experiences as a journalist and a lawyer. Starting Sept. 14, she’ll get that opportunity in her home state of Colorado as a Local Legal Initiative attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
With the Colorado Supreme Court library in downtown Denver “closed until further notice” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s judicial branch is finally letting anyone pull up civil case filings on a personal computer at no charge — at least temporarily.
Incidents in Colorado and elsewhere show the limitations of HB 19-1119 as a tool of transparency, accountability and for building trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. More could be done to ensure the public knows when officers are accused of misconduct or of using excessive force, how those allegations are investigated and whether and how discipline is imposed.