Prompted by the recent financial troubles of a nonprofit that serves people with disabilities, a state lawmaker plans 2016 legislation to open the records of all such agencies in Colorado that receive more than half their funds from public sources.
Colorado public records
The public can inspect voted ballots in Colorado. But some counties are making it prohibitively expensive for at least one election watchdog to obtain the records he says are needed to independently audit the accuracy of voting systems.
The Colorado Supreme Court quietly adopted new rules for accessing administrative records of the Colorado Judicial Branch, incorporating several recommendations made by the public and news media earlier this fall.
Coloradans are engaged in a much-needed debate about the wisdom of continuing to apply the death penalty. To inform that debate, the public is entitled to know precisely what is the cost of taking such cases to trial and through all appeals.
In a letter to the Colorado Supreme Court, the CFOIC and the press and broadcasters associations ask why the administrative records of the state’s judiciary should be treated differently from those of the other two branches of government and all of the state’s political subdivisions.
A newly appointed state task force began work on a host of issues surrounding the use of body-worn cameras by police officers. Some important considerations concern public records: How long should body camera videos be retained and at what cost? What determines whether a video can be released to the public? Should portions of a video be blurred before the public sees it?
Steve Zansberg, president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, has been appointed to serve on a new state committee that will study and report on issues related to the use of body-worn cameras by police officers in Colorado.
A bill that underscores the public’s right to record police activities was met with opposition from law enforcement authorities and prosecutors who called the measure overly punitive and worried about its effect on their ability to obtain recordings as evidence in criminal cases.
A bill to let one-time offenders petition to seal the public records of their misdemeanors died in a House committee following opposition from prosecutors, victims’ advocates and law enforcement officials.
For the CFOIC, revisiting 2014 reveals a somewhat troubling string of stories about issues and problems affecting government transparency in Colorado. Consider them one by one and you might not be all that concerned. But put them in a list and you could reasonably conclude that open government in the Centennial State is still a work in progress.