Littleton Schools Superintendent Scott Murphy cited a federal student privacy law as a reason he could not answer reporters’ questions about what school officials knew about threats made by student Karl Pierson before the shooting at Arapahoe High School last December. But FERPA does not apply to adult students who are deceased, according to multiple sources which say that a student’s privacy rights lapse upon his or her death.
Reporter Teresa Benns has endured verbal attacks and threats of physical violence while documenting and commenting on the workings and failings of government in Saguache County and the small town of Center. She perseveres because it’s her duty, she said, accepting the CFOIC’s Jean Otto Friend of Freedom Award.
The CFOIC questions why the public had to wait so long to see the Aurora theater shooting response report and why certain already well-publicized names and details have been X’d out.
The CFOIC will present its Jean Otto Friend of Freedom Award to reporter Teresa Benns and the Center Post-Dispatch during a luncheon in Monte Vista. Benns and the small weekly newspaper have fought to open secret meetings and obtain withheld records, while reporting on the town’s seemingly constant political battles.
Englewood’s announcement of a new city manager, more than a week before the City Council is scheduled to vote during a public meeting, is an admission that it violated the state’s Open Meetings Law, says CFOIC President Steve Zansberg.
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?