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.
Will 2016 be remembered as the year we realized just how much our democracy depends on an informed citizenry? The fake news epidemic was one of many issues the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition highlighted in 2016 or wrote about on its blog.
Litigate or give up. Those are your legal options in Colorado if a government entity improperly withholds public records, charges you out-of-line fees for inspection or drags its feet on a records request. The same is true if you suspect that a public body violated the Open Meetings Law. In many other states, however, litigation is not the only way to challenge FOI denials.
On matters affecting public information, the General Assembly did little during this year’s session to improve access. The most significant legislative win for government transparency doesn’t actually affect governments.
A Kiowa resident and Elbert County have settled a lawsuit alleging that county commissioners violated Colorado’s Sunshine Law last spring.
Russell Weisfield and the city of Arvada have settled a lawsuit over Arvada’s use of secret ballots to eliminate candidates for a vacant city council seat.
A Kiowa resident alleges in a lawsuit that the Elbert County Commission violated Colorado’s Open Meetings Law last spring when it considered resolutions to indemnify commissioners in legal cases involving two of them and a former commissioner.
A state advisory committee that helps award grants for addressing the impact of local gaming in Colorado has disregarded the Sunshine Law by failing to document its meetings and activities, a new state audit says.
Can I do it myself? The CFOIC is sometimes asked this question by folks who want to challenge a denial of public records or a closed-door meeting they believe was held improperly. The CFOIC is building an online repository of pleadings that have been filed in previous lawsuits under CORA and the Sunshine Law. And we have some tips on filing pro se from reporter Todd Shepherd.
Despite a 2012 Sunshine Law amendment that bans the use of secret ballots to make most decisions, some municipal governments in Colorado have continued to fill city council vacancies by voting anonymously.