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.
Journalists must “double down on the public trust” and governments must “release their stranglehold on information about the public’s business,” former Denver Post Editor Greg Moore said, accepting an award from the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
Elbert County put the real estate assessment records of four elected officials online five days after the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition revealed that the information was hidden from public view.
Real estate records, with few exceptions, are public in Colorado. But in Elbert County, southeast of Denver, the assessment records of certain elected officials – including Assessor Billie Mills – are hidden from public view.
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.
Following measured but heart-wrenching testimony from the parents of slain Arapahoe High student Claire Davis, a Senate committee endorsed a bill to limit school district immunity and encourage the flow of information on events leading up to violent school incidents.
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.”
Colorado’s Sunshine Law defines a meeting as “any kind of gathering, convened to discuss public business, in person, by telephone, electronically, or by (any) other means of communication.” This includes emailing, texting, tweeting, instant messaging, Facebook messaging, Snapchatting and forms of communication that haven’t been invented yet.
A revived school board transparency bill, which barely passed the Colorado Senate last week, cleared the House Education Committee on Monday on a 7-5 party-line vote.
The House moved quickly to advance legislation making it clear that any person has legal standing to challenge violations of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.