Colorado’s Sunshine Law defines a meeting as “any kind of gathering, convened to discuss public business, in person, by telephone, electronically, or by (any) other means of communication.” This includes emailing, texting, tweeting, instant messaging, Facebook messaging, Snapchatting and forms of communication that haven’t been invented yet.
Colorado Open Records Act
A month after a new statewide cap on public records fees went into effect, many governments and agencies in Colorado have adjusted their records policies to comply with the revised statute. But several have yet to post policies that conform to the provisions of HB 14-1193, even though the bill was signed by the governor in early May.
Just like the rest of us, government officials and employees in Colorado conduct much of their official business online nowadays via emails, texts and social media. But there is a big difference between their emails and the emails of those of us in the private sector: Much, if not most, of their business happens to be our business, especially if it involves the expenditure of public funds.
In a six-minute video, First Amendment attorney and CFOIC President Steve Zansberg explains what you need to know about the new CORA fees law and what to do if you think you’re being charged too much for public records.
At least two government entities, the city of Aurora and the state Independent Ethics Commission, have changed their open-records policies in advance of a new law, capping research-and-retrieval charges, that goes into effect July 1.
The Colorado Supreme Court upheld the right of those who win open-records lawsuits to be reimbursed for court costs and attorneys’ fees, even if they gain access to only some of the records they claimed were improperly withheld.
Some governmental entities in Colorado refuse to release meeting minutes to the public until they are officially approved at the next board meeting, which could be weeks away. Is that how it’s supposed to work?
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa should make a sequel to his sex-scandal apology video. I’ll be happy to write the script and direct. Let’s title it: Game of Denials.
Fees for public records, protecting the confidential sources of journalists, the Open Meetings Law. These weren’t the topics that grabbed the biggest headlines during the during the 2014 legislative session. But that doesn’t diminish their importance.
Signing the CORA reform bill, standardizing fees that governments in Colorado can charge to fill public records requests, Gov. John Hickenlooper cited President Teddy Roosevelt’s fondness for many of the muckraking journalists of his era.