The Denver-based nonprofit that provides video access to the Colorado General Assembly is offering its virtual-meeting software package to local governments for free during the coronavirus pandemic.
Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition
We write today to request that you take a few additional actions that we feel would greatly help to ensure journalists throughout the state are best equipped to tell the stories that must be told. Our primary objectives are to keep the public informed, to accurately chronicle the events of this unprecedented period – to write the “first rough draft of history” – and to report on how government officials, local business and civic leaders, and communities are responding.
Some government entities in Colorado are delaying responses to public records requests because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the disruption of day-to-day transparency obligations so far doesn’t seem as severe here as in other parts of the country.
Lakewood City Attorney Tim Cox called it “almost a chicken and egg situation.” For city council members to legally conduct electronic meetings – like the one they were conducting via Zoom when Cox spoke to them Monday evening – they had to pass an emergency ordinance to allow electronic meetings.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition joined 131 other transparency-minded organizations in urging state, local and tribal governments across the United States “to recommit to, and not retrench from, their duty to include the public in the policy-making process, including policies relating to COVID-19 as well as the routine ongoing functions of governance.”
Colorado Press Association and Colorado Freedom of Information sent the following joint letter to Gov. Jared Polis on March 16 regarding news operations and COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forces everybody to consider limiting their exposure to other people, local elected officials are starting to think about how they can do the public’s business virtually without violating the Colorado Open Meetings Law.
State lawmakers voted down a bill to allow civil lawsuits in state courts against Colorado governments for violations of rights enumerated in the Colorado Constitution, including free speech and a free press.
For the third consecutive year, Colorado lawmakers have rejected proposed legislation to address the trend among law enforcement agencies to fully encrypt their radio traffic.
On Thursday, Mar. 19, acclaimed Boulder-based journalist and author Jon Krakauer will headline the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition’s 2020 Sunshine Week panel about reporting on campus sexual assault and abuse.