There was no need to wait for final adjournment to see that the 2019 Colorado legislative session was a productive one for freedom of information and First Amendment-related issues. Gov. Jared Polis cinched that on April 12, when he signed into law a groundbreaking transparency bill that ensures the public disclosure of records on police internal affairs investigations.
The Otis Telegraph calls itself “The friendly voice of Washington County” because it likes to promote the community, says co-publisher Jerry Patterson. “But every once in a while you have to step up and do things that papers are supposed to do. You have to ask the tough questions.”
How much specificity is required under the law when a government body votes to go into executive session? In two recent court decisions, judges in Jefferson and Eagle counties offered starkly different viewpoints.
A Jefferson County charter school board violated Colorado’s Open Meetings Law by failing to sufficiently announce the topics of two closed-door meetings in 2015, a district court judge has ruled.
A Jefferson County charter school violated Colorado’s Sunshine Law and retaliated against a family when the parents asked questions about their daughters’ education, a lawsuit claims.
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.
Plenty of evidence suggests that CSU’s student government is subject to the Sunshine Law and, therefore, a reporter for the student newspaper should not have been barred from a hearing to impeach a student senator.
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.”
A committee of state lawmakers finalized the “Blue Book” wording that explains Proposition 104, a statewide ballot initiative that would require school boards in Colorado to let the public observe collective bargaining negotiations. One aspect of the proposal that remains murky, however, is whether it would require school boards to discuss their negotiation strategies in public.
Englewood’s announcement of a new city manager, more than a week before the City Council is scheduled to vote during a public meeting, is an admission that it violated the state’s Open Meetings Law, says CFOIC President Steve Zansberg.