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.
Just like the rest of us, government officials and employees in Colorado conduct much of their official business online nowadays via emails, texts and social media. But there is a big difference between their emails and the emails of those of us in the private sector: Much, if not most, of their business happens to be our business, especially if it involves the expenditure of public funds.
In a six-minute video, First Amendment attorney and CFOIC President Steve Zansberg explains what you need to know about the new CORA fees law and what to do if you think you’re being charged too much for public records.
The Colorado Supreme Court upheld the right of those who win open-records lawsuits to be reimbursed for court costs and attorneys’ fees, even if they gain access to only some of the records they claimed were improperly withheld.
Some governmental entities in Colorado refuse to release meeting minutes to the public until they are officially approved at the next board meeting, which could be weeks away. Is that how it’s supposed to work?
Two months after a Jefferson County judge dismissed a citizen’s lawsuit against Arvada for using secret ballots to replace a City Council member, the governor signed legislation to ensure that anyone can legally challenge violations of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.
The CFOIC presented William Dean Singleton, chairman of The Denver Post, with the Jean Otto Friend of Freedom Award for his sustained and significant record of fighting for open government in Colorado.
Fees for public records, protecting the confidential sources of journalists, the Open Meetings Law. These weren’t the topics that grabbed the biggest headlines during the during the 2014 legislative session. But that doesn’t diminish their importance.
A judge in Jefferson County has thrown out a citizen’s lawsuit against Arvada for using secret ballots to fill a vacant council seat, ruling that he lacks legal standing to sue the city for violating that aspect of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.
In recognition of national Sunshine Week, CFOIC and KUSA-TV hosted a panel for citizens and journalists on access to public records. Moderator Kyle Clark led panelists Melissa Blasius, Joel Dyer, Keli Rabon and Steve Zansberg through a lively discussion. View the entire presentation on our blog.