Approved by Colorado voters in November 1972, the Sunshine Law ushered in a new era of government transparency in our state, establishing stricter rules for open meetings at the Capitol and providing the basis for the more wide-ranging transparency law that now dictates how all public bodies statewide conduct business.
Over the past two decades, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and its member organizations and board members have achieved numerous successes both in amending the Colorado Open Meetings Law and in applying it in lawsuits to ensure compliance by governmental bodies.
The city of Denver should improve the way it communicates with the public to make sure community members are sufficiently informed about city government and meaningfully engaged with the decision-making process, a new report from Denver Auditor Tim O’Brien says.
A judge recently ordered the public disclosure of a school board executive session recording because board members did not take an “affirmative vote” before convening the private online meeting, as the Colorado Open Meetings Law requires.
The Denver-based nonprofit that provides video access to the Colorado General Assembly is offering its virtual-meeting software package to local governments for free during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition joined 131 other transparency-minded organizations in urging state, local and tribal governments across the United States “to recommit to, and not retrench from, their duty to include the public in the policy-making process, including policies relating to COVID-19 as well as the routine ongoing functions of governance.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic forces everybody to consider limiting their exposure to other people, local elected officials are starting to think about how they can do the public’s business virtually without violating the Colorado Open Meetings Law.
News organizations in Colorado will soon get some extra legal firepower to fight wrongful denials of access to government records and proceedings.
Fewer professional journalists in Colorado – the total dropped nearly 44 percent between 2010 and 2018 – means fewer reporters at government meetings where important civic issues are discussed and decided. But some help may be coming from a three-year-old program that trains and pays people to monitor public officials in Chicago and Detroit.
A free and independent press is fundamental — it is essential — to American democracy at all levels. But knowing that is precisely why Coloradans must begin a conversation about alternative ways to fund local journalism — even ways that involve public dollars.