Reporter Teresa Benns has endured verbal attacks and threats of physical violence while documenting and commenting on the workings and failings of government in Saguache County and the small town of Center. She perseveres because it’s her duty, she said, accepting the CFOIC’s Jean Otto Friend of Freedom Award.
Colorado public records
A 2013 report illustrated the confusing and expensive landscape of “research and retrieval” fees charged to CORA requestors by various state, county and municipal government entities. One year later, Colorado Ethics Watch and CFOIC have revisited those same government entities to see if things have improved.
To help parents, teachers, students and taxpayers better understand how to use the Colorado Open Records Act and the state’s Open Meetings Law, the CFOIC and Chalkbeat Colorado teamed up to present a lively and informative panel discussion: “Transparency 101: How to exercise your rights to information and open meetings in your school district.”
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.
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.
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.
On a 56-8 vote, the Colorado House rejected Senate amendments to a bill that regulates how much the state and local governments can charge to research and compile public records.
In recognition of national Sunshine Week, CFOIC and KUSA-TV hosted a panel for citizens and journalists on access to public records. Moderator Kyle Clark led panelists Melissa Blasius, Joel Dyer, Keli Rabon and Steve Zansberg through a lively discussion. View the entire presentation on our blog.
The trick to getting records from Colorado’s health exchange is to make relatively narrow requests. If the request is just right, officials must supply the information within three business days.