The 2021 Colorado legislative session produced a mixed bag of good and not-so-good developments for those concerned about government transparency.
Colorado Press Association
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis, requesting a veto of House Bill 21-1051, which would allow state and local public bodies to disclose just one finalist for chief executive officer positions.
Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition president Steve Zansberg and Denver Post investigative reporter David Migoya are co-recipients of this year’s First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Colorado Pro Chapter for work that prompted a new statewide standard for sealing and suppressing criminal court records.
A Colorado Court of Appeals ruling in the Boulder Daily Camera’s lawsuit against the University of Colorado regents sets “a dangerous precedent that deprives the public of any meaningful oversight and input into the selection process of a public body’s chief executive,” says a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and 12 other organizations.
State legislation designed to reduce collateral consequences for people with criminal records would hinder the ability of news organizations to identify systemic problems in the criminal justice system and hold public officials accountable, journalists told Colorado lawmakers.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition presented its highest honor, the Jean Otto Friend of Freedom Award, to the founders of the Colorado News Collaborative, an innovative local media resource hub that is helping to strengthen local journalism statewide.
State lawmakers advanced legislation that would let public bodies in Colorado disclose just one finalist when choosing a new chief executive such as a city manager, school district superintendent or university president.
A bill “intended to spark conversation” about the power of digital communications platforms emerged from a Colorado Senate committee Tuesday with language requiring a study of how state lawmakers might address online consumer issues including privacy, the spread of disinformation and the promotion of violence.
The indisputably terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year 2020 ended with at least one bright spot in Colorado: On Dec. 17, the state Supreme Court formally adopted a new Rule of Criminal Procedure (Colo.R.Cr.P. 55.1) that sets both procedural and substantive standards for when a trial judge may “suppress” judicial records on file in criminal cases.
Free remote access to civil court records for all Coloradans has been a rare positive outgrowth of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we applaud the Colorado Judicial Branch for taking that important step.