A legislative effort to open records on police internal affairs investigations, or at least encourage their disclosure to the public, died when the Senate sponsor of the bill had it killed in committee.
Sen. Kevin Lundberg
For Coloradans concerned about access to government information, the 2017 legislative session will be judged by what occurred on the 120th and final day.
When Colorado’s unaffiliated voters participate in next year’s political party primaries, whether they choose Republican or Democratic ballots should be public information, a panel of state lawmakers affirmed.
The open-records modernization bill survived the Senate Appropriations Committee, but lawmakers retained amendments that could let governments withhold some records now available for public inspection.
Unlike last year’s General Assembly, which amended both the open-records and open-meetings laws, state legislators in 2015 were somewhat quieter on matters affecting government transparency and the flow of information in Colorado. Still, significant new measures are expected to be signed into law. A few others didn’t make it.
In the waning hours of the legislative session, state lawmakers gave up trying to find a way to protect peoples’ privacy from drones and other “emerging technologies” while not interfering with the First Amendment rights of photojournalists, private investigators and others who rely on cameras for work.
A state Senate committee acquiesced to First Amendment concerns expressed by the news media and private investigators about a bill that, as passed by the House, would have made it a crime to photograph or record someone who has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
With possible recounts no longer going forward in three counties, the 2014 election is essentially in the books. But a question lingers: Should county canvass boards, those groups of registered voters appointed to certify election results, be subject to Colorado’s Sunshine Law?
The passive surveillance bill is close to being on its way to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk. The measure, which mandates the purging of most images captured by government cameras after three years, won unanimous approval in the Colorado Senate.
Records kept by private associations of elected officials that get some of their money from public sources would be open to public scrutiny under legislation proposed by state Sen. Kevin Lundberg.