Highlights from the blog and news feed
May 18, 2015
Newsletter of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, a nonpartisan alliance of journalists, civic organizations and engaged citizens 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.
Jeffco school district, union argue in court about public release of teacher sick-out records
Lawyers for the Jefferson County School District and the Jeffco teachers’ union squared off in court over whether additional names of high school teachers who collectively called in sick last fall should be made public under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).
Judge blasts Denver Safety's 'blanket policy' of denying requests for internal affairs records
A Denver District Court judge admonished the Denver Department of Safety for its “blanket policy” of denying requests for records of internal affairs investigations until all matters in a case are completely resolved.
Interim rules take effect on access to administrative records of state judiciary
New rules governing access to financial and administrative records of the Colorado Judicial Branch will quietly go into effect under an interim directive issued by Chief Justice Nancy Rice of the Colorado Supreme Court.
Sine die: How FOI legislation fared in the 2015 Colorado General Assembly
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.
State lawmakers send right-to-record bill to governor's desk
A bipartisan bill that underscores a civilian’s right to record police is on its way to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk following the House’s acceptance of a Senate amendment that limits how long someone’s cellphone or other recording device can be held while a search warrant is sought.
CFOIC President Zansberg discusses right to record police on CPR's 'Colorado Matters'
From Colorado Public Radio: As more and more people press record, when is it OK –- and not –- to film police as they work? To answer that Colorado Matters Host Ryan Warner speaks with Steve Zansberg, president of the nonpartisan Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, and John Jackson, the president of the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs.
From The Durango Herald: For anyone concerned with Coloradans’ right to know what their government is up to, the yearly session of the General Assembly typically presents both good and bad. This year was no exception: Some good work got done, some bullets were dodged and some opportunities were missed. On balance, though, not bad.
Colorado lawmakers use private email for state business
From 9NEWS (Denver): A 9Wants to Know review of email use among public officials reveals all 100 members of the Colorado General Assembly use private accounts to conduct state business. The policy and practice has been in place for many years, giving each individual lawmaker full control of what emails will be released when their emails become the subject of records requests under the Colorado Open Records Act.
From the Daily Camera (Boulder): Having easily-accessible meetings and records involving the conduct of the public’s business is a primary theme of open government in Colorado. It has been distressing to see Erie Town Administrator Arthur Krieger, Mayor Tina Harris, and the other members of the Board of Trustees engaging in processes which are intentionally structured to keep citizens and the press away from discussions of public business.
Boulder city attorney says planning board did not violate Sunshine Law
From the Daily Camera (Boulder): Boulder Planning Board members did not violate Colorado’s Open Meetings Act or otherwise act improperly when they supported a much more restrictive version of a building-height moratorium than the measure backed by the City Council, City Attorney Tom Carr concluded after investigating the matter.
Aurora school board met illegally with Gates Foundation, charters
FromChalkbeat Colorado: A majority of the Aurora Public Schools’ Board of Education met illegally April 29 with representatives from several national charter school networks and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a spokeswoman for the district confirmed.
Video shows two Colorado Springs men are victims of racially biased policing, ACLU says
From The Denver Post: Two African-American men pulled over by police in Colorado Springs and taken into custody in a video-recorded encounter are victims of racially biased policing, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado.
From the Post Independent (Glenwood Springs): We do not want police to be able to arrest our neighbor, our child, our friend — or us — and keep the reasons secret. We do not want city councils to issue contracts in private. We do not want county and state agencies buying rights of way, deciding on major projects or issuing policies without the opportunity for scrutiny.
Taxpayers' cost to defend Blagg called 'privileged, confidential'
From the Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction):What have taxpayers already spent to defend Michael Blagg? Under current Colorado law, the answer can’t be extracted from Blagg’s lawyers at the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office.
Meeting without minutes raises Sunshine Law questions
From the Columbine Courier: The Littleton City Council didn’t keep minutes of a meeting during which it interviewed the seven candidates for an open council seat, a possible violation of the state Open Meetings Law.
New law on open union negotiations has little impact on District 11 contract talks
From the Gazette (Colorado Springs): A new law that 70 percent of Colorado voters approved in November hasn’t translated to radical differences for local union negotiations, according to the head of the area’s only collective bargaining group for teachers.
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