What’s your favorite (or should we say least favorite) example from the past two or three years of someone blatantly obstructing the public’s right to know in Colorado? It could involve a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request, a Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act (CCJRA) request, access to a meeting under the Colorado Open Meetings Law, or access to the court system.
Poudre School District
Bipartisan legislation designed to fix an “unintended consequence” of the 2014 ballot initiative that opened school district bargaining sessions to the public won unanimous approval Tuesday in the House Education Committee.
It’s been on the books since the state legislature adopted the Colorado Open Records Act nearly a half-century ago: Anyone who “willfully and knowingly” violates the statute is guilty of a misdemeanor and faces up to 90 days in jail and a $100 fine. But on Aug. 9, when Senate Bill 17-040 goes into effect, the criminal penalty in CORA will disappear.
A Colorado House committee endorsed a completely reworked proposal to encourage the resolution of open-records disputes without litigation. The new version of HB 17-1177 essentially makes mediation optional.
An open-records lawsuit filed this week claims that Adams County improperly withheld emails concerning the impoundment of a 6-year-old pit bull that bit a mail carrier in 2014.
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.