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Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition

Highlights from the blog and news feed
Mar. 4, 2014
Newsletter of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, a nonpartisan alliance of groups and individuals dedicated to ensuring the transparency of state and local governments in Colorado by promoting freedom of the press, open courts and open access to government records and meetings.

RSVP for CFOIC's Sunshine Week panel discussion

Veteran investigative journalists and one of the state’s leading media-law attorneys will share stories and provide practical tips on “how to get your hands on records” during a Sunshine Week panel discussion sponsored by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.

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Possible amendment would "gut" school board executive-sessions bill

A possible amendment to a controversial bill on school board executive sessions would weaken a key provision of the proposal which mandates the electronic recording of portions of closed-door meetings that currently aren’t recorded because attorney-client privilege has been claimed.

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Cap on CORA fees gets final approval in Colorado House

A proposal to cap the amount governments in Colorado can charge for public records at four times the state minimum wage won final approval in the state House of Representatives.

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Passive surveillance bill passes Colorado House

A bill to require the eventual destruction of images captured by government-run passive surveillance cameras passed the Colorado House on a 63-2 vote.

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Fox News reporter Jana Winter, via Skype, urges Colorado lawmakers to reconsider shield law

On her lawyers’ advice, Fox News reporter Jana Winter turned down an invitation to speak in person at the Colorado Press Association’s annual Capitol Hill luncheon in Denver. But that didn’t prevent her from using technology to implore state lawmakers to reconsider now-dead legislation that would have strengthened Colorado’s journalist shield law.

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Amended CORA fees bill sets cap for filling requests at four times minimum wage

A bill to standardize fees for public records in Colorado was amended by lawmakers to cap charges for filling requests for information at four times the state minimum wage.

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Poudre School District destroys records to deny special needs family’s access

From 7NEWS (Denver): FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A CALL7 investigation has found the Poudre School District willfully destroyed records involving a special education student, in an attempt to keep them from his family that has cost taxpayers more than $200,000.

The findings raise serious ethical questions for PSD and raise questions for parents about whether they can trust the district responsible for the education of their children.

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Editorial: Support ‘right to know’ in challenging times

From the Lakewood Sentinel: The latest developments in digital communications were discussed at length at the Colorado Press Association annual convention Feb. 21 in Denver. While expanding modes of obtaining news continue in an extended renaissance period, it appears while more and more information is literally at hand, the information so important to the public’s right to know is not flowing so freely.

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Colorado calling all app coders

From The Durango Herald:  Go Code Colorado is asking computer coders for help in organizing the state’s vast stores of data.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Business Intelligence Center and the Governor’s Office are sponsoring Go Code Colorado with the goal of making government data more accessible and helpful to businesses.

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Montrose County Calls CORA Lawsuit ‘Groundless’

From The Watch (Western San Juan Mountains):  MONTROSE – Other than Montrose County’s response calling the action “groundless,” “vexatious” and “frivolous,” the lawsuit filed under the Colorado Open Records Act by Black Canyon Partners, operator of the Black Canyon Jet Center, has, so far, elicited few details or documents surrounding the recent Request for Proposals process for a second Fixed-Base Operator at Montrose Regional Airport.

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Cohen: The problem with claiming a ‘witness safety’ exception to the First Amendment

From The Week:  The concept of a public trial is at the heart of the Bill of Rights. It’s right there in the Sixth Amendment, right next to the part about impartial juries. It’s right there in the First Amendment, too, right there in the part about the freedom of the press.

And yet, our public trials are often not nearly as public as we think.

For instance, in Colorado, there’s a remarkable case that is forcing judges to balance in an unprecedented way the constitutional rights of criminal defendants and media organizations with a much more practical right — the right of witnesses to be protected from violence before and after they testify against alleged murderers.

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Judge rules for town of Castle Rock in open-records case

From the Castle Rock News-Press:  A Castle Rock couple — whose car was damaged by a bullet Feb. 21, 2013, when a police officer was in pursuit of a suspect in a Plum Creek subdivision burglary — won’t have access to additional police records that they wanted, for now, anyway.

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Editorial: Town of Dillon must come clean on Brian Brady’s resignation

From the Summit Daily News:  Quick question. Who’s in charge of the Dillon Police Department?

— Can’t tell you.

— Can you at least tell me why interim police chief Brian Brady recently resigned? Does it have anything to do with a perjury investigation involving a doctored parking ticket?

—Well, hey, that’s a personnel matter. At any rate, Brady’s gone and that investigation has been closed. Move along. There’s nothing to see here.

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Frustrated Arapahoe High parents seek transparency after shooting

From The Denver Post:  It was not the December shooting at Arapahoe High that made Jennifer Campo move her daughter out of the district she has attended since elementary school.

Campo doesn’t blame administrators for the day that student Karl Pierson charged into the school with a shotgunand killed himself and his classmate, Claire Davis. But she does blame the school and the district for the lack of communication and the failure to address safety concerns in the weeks after the Dec. 13 shooting.

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U.S. Supreme Court will not hear request to unseal Owens case

From The Denver Post:  The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a request to unseal transcripts and files in the death penalty case against Sir Mario Owens.

The case and files have been sealed for more than six years. The high court announced its decision not to hear the request on Monday.

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The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition's efforts to protect the FOI rights of Coloradans rely on membership dues, grants and gifts. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation or becoming a member. Thank you!
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