Highlights from the blog and news feed
May 14, 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.
That's a wrap: How FOI legislation fared in the 2014 session
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.
Signing the CORA reform bill, standardizing fees that governments in Colorado can charge to fill public records requests, Gov. John Hickenlooper cited President Teddy Roosevelt’s fondness for many of the muckraking journalists of his era.
Senator whose former city council seat was filled using secret ballots explains need to clarify Sunshine Law standing
Rachel Zenzinger’s appointment to the Colorado Senate last fall created a vacancy on the Arvada City Council that was filled in January using secret ballots to eliminate candidates. Sen. Zenzinger explained why she sponsored legislation making it “crystal clear” that any person has legal standing to challenge violations of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.
Health research restricted by Colorado's records laws
FromKUNC radio (northern Colorado): Mountain west states, including Colorado, have higher suicide rates compared to the rest of the country. In January, Weld County reported 49 suicide deaths in 2013, marking a 10 year high. Crafting a local suicide prevention campaign can be very difficult though, if you don’t know who is the most at risk.
CORA fees law could help end abusive tactics in Boulder
From the Boulder Weekly: A bill signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper earlier this week could help to finally put an end to abusive government tactics, tactics that are clearly in conflict with the intent of the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).
Pilot & Today sued after requesting autopsy report for 3-year-old boy
From Steamboat Today: Steamboat Pilot & Today is fighting a lawsuit brought by the Routt County Coroner’s Office that seeks to keep autopsy reports secret for the 3-year-old boy who died March 27 in Steamboat Springs.
From The Boulder Weekly: A judge's ruling challenges the foundation of Colorado’s 42-year-old Sunshine Law, part of which prohibits, with odd exceptions, state and local legislative bodies from casting secret ballots. But what some people find most disturbing is that the ruling questions whether any and all citizens have the right to challenge their government when it knowingly hides actions, and if upheld, renders the Sunshine Law a dead letter.
Shepherd: Open records fight still has a long way to go in Colorado
From The Greeley Tribune: While HB 1193 may give the appearance that the march for more and easier access to your government through open records is moving onward and upward, a spate of recent stories also shows that some areas of accessing records are in serious trouble.
Lake County appeals open-access ruling that favored Herald Democrat newspaper
From the Herald Democrat (Leadville): The Herald Democrat learned that the Lake County Board of Commissioners has filed an appeal in the Herald’s lawsuit against the BOCC related to the Colorado Open Records Act and Open Meetings Law.
From The Pueblo Chieftain: The controversy around City Council’s meetings about the city’s half-cent tax already has forced one change — council’s weekly pre-work session dinners are now being conducted as public meetings.
Editorial: Bill an opening to greater transparency
From the Arvada Press: A bill introduced late this legislative session deserves support from all who want to ensure public officials make their decisions in the open and preserve the right to call them out in court if they don’t.
Public barred from lawmakers’ marijuana cultivation tour
From The Durango Herald: State legislators asserted the right Wednesday to exclude the public from some of their meetings, a move that an open-government advocate said was a violation of Colorado’s sunshine laws.
Pueblo City Council secretly discussed using economic development fund
From The Pueblo Chieftain: Audio recordings of City Council’s executive sessions on March 17 and 24 show they talked about economic development behind closed doors, but those discussions were not recorded because City Attorney Dan Kogovsek said they fell under attorney-client protections.
Supreme Court asked to let reporter Jana Winter protect sources in Aurora theater shooting case
From The Associated Press: Lawyers for a Fox News reporter asked the U.S. Supreme Court not to order her to identify her confidential sources for a story she wrote about Colorado theater shooting defendant James Holmes.
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