Highlights from the blog and news feed
Nov. 3, 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.
Rules for judicial branch records look more like CORA, but groups 'less than completely satisfied'
The Colorado Supreme Court quietly adopted new rules for accessing administrative records of the Colorado Judicial Branch, incorporating several recommendations made by the public and news media earlier this fall.
Lawsuit: Elbert County commissioners violated Colorado's Open Meetings Law
A Kiowa resident alleges in a lawsuit that the Elbert County Commission violated Colorado’s Open Meetings Law last spring when it considered resolutions to indemnify commissioners in legal cases involving two of them and a former commissioner.
Tattered Cover owner Joyce Meskis – a First Amendment 'hero'
As owner of Tattered Cover, the iconic group of independent bookstores, Joyce Meskis is known and admired by Coloradans across the state for nurturing their love of reading over the past four decades. They may be less familiar with Meskis as a First Amendment champion.
Editor's column: Why we published the name of the gunman in the Colorado Springs shooting
From The Gazette (Colorado Springs): We believe it was critically important to name Harpham as the gunman as soon as we had appropriate confirmation, no matter what law enforcement was doing about identification.
New smartphone app empowers Coloradans to witness and record police interactions
From the ACLU of Colorado: The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado launched Mobile Justice Colorado, a new police accountability tool that empowers Coloradans to witness and record police interactions and to submit cell phone videos of civil rights abuses directly to the ACLU of Colorado, so they cannot be deleted or destroyed.
Editor's column: Why we requested cameras in the courtroom
From the Coloradoan (Fort Collins): The Coloradoan’s request to photograph the sentencing of the man responsible for the crash that paralyzed Connor Walsh was denied on grounds that we would “unduly detract from the solemnity, decorum and dignity of the court proceedings,” despite the Walshes’ consent.
Students say CU slow to respond to requests for records on GOP presidential debate
From the Daily Camera (Boulder): Students are accusing University of Colorado administrators of dragging their feet in response to an open records request they filed earlier this month for correspondence and documents related to the Republican presidential debate being held this week on campus.
Some governments make public records less accessible
From ColoradoWatchdog.org: Some Colorado governments are modifying their data, making it difficult — or prohibitively expensive — for taxpayers and journalists to determine who is paid the highest salary or how public money is spent.
Editorial: Open judicial branch records to the public
From the Reporter-Herald (Loveland): Earlier this month, the Colorado Supreme Court heard testimony about potential changes to their internal rules governing the release of records and information to the public. Right now, the court is the generator of such rules, but action at the legislative level might be needed.
Colorado Springs police: IA's file release would be 'contrary to the public interest'
From the Colorado Springs Independent: When the Colorado Springs Police Department earlier this month forked over the IA file for officers involved in the March arrest of Ryan and Benjamin Brown, we figured, hey, let’s try again.
Public barred from hearing on closure of Colorado's largest nonprofit health insurer
From the Associated Press: Colorado HealthOP, a nonprofit insurer set up under the federal health care law, unsuccessfully challenged a state decision to shut it down in a closed-door, two-hour hearing.
Transparency claim in Jeffco school board recall difficult to check
From The Denver Post: One of the central complaints cited in the effort to oust three Jefferson County school board members is the claim the members lack transparency in making major policy decisions — but testing the claim is difficult.
Newspaper asks Steamboat Springs to reconsider denial of request for development proposals
FromSteamboat Today (Steamboat Springs): The Steamboat Springs City Council approved a first reading of the sale of the Iron Horse Inn for $3.05 million right after it denied an open records request filed by the Steamboat Today to make public the seven other sale proposals that were considered.
CSU won't pursue state-residency requirement for Colorado public records requests
From the Coloradoan (Fort Collins): Colorado State University won’t try to restrict public record access, after all. While the CSU System General Counsel raised the idea of limiting applicability of the Colorado Open Records Act to Colorado residents only, the governing body for CSU doesn’t have any interest in lobbying to change that law, spokesman Mike Hooker said in an email.
Colorado AG refuses to release background data on law enforcement officers trained in other states
From The Denver Post: The Denver Post made multiple requests for a state database of certified and decertified law enforcement officers from the state attorney general’s office to research the backgrounds of those trained in other states. The office refused to release key information to enable that analysis.
Editorial: Eaton school board 'wantonly' violated Sunshine Law to arrange ouster of coach in secret
From The Greeley Tribune:The dispute in Eaton between the Hall of Fame high school baseball coach and the school’s administration has been messy since it began. We’re sorry to say, it became no cleaner when the school’s coach was finally dismissed.
Colorado Springs police release report on officers' conduct during traffic stop
From The Gazette(Colorado Springs): Interview transcripts, audio and video files, and emails from the police department’s internal affairs investigation, released to The Gazette in an open records request, provide more details and accounts of the March 25 traffic stop involving Ryan Brown, and his brother Benjamin.
Colorado Springs mayor 'shocked' to learn voter pamphlet claims don't have to be true
From The Gazette (Colorado Springs): Most local voters have received El Paso County’s informational pamphlet on the Nov. 3 election, but some are baffled by arguments against a proposed Colorado Springs sales tax increase. Statements in the official booklet must be accurate, right? Wrong.
Jeffco school board president asks for ethics investigation into claim he violated Sunshine Law
From Chalkbeat Colorado: Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt, the target of a high-profile recall campaign, announced he is asking the state’s Independent Ethics Commission to weigh in on recall organizers’ claim that he violated state transparency laws.
Court orders Delta to release records on police chief's departure
From The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): Records provided to The Daily Sentinel under court order show former Delta Police Chief Robert Thomas may have been investigated for alleged misuse of a privileged Colorado law enforcement computerized database, among other claims of wrongdoing.
Colorado lawmakers call for more transparency after Gazette report on youth corrections
From The Gazette (Colorado Springs): Colorado lawmakers are calling for greater transparency at the Division of Youth Corrections after a Gazette investigative report uncovered continued problems in the state’s 10 juvenile corrections facilities, including the use of solitary confinement.
From The Rocky Mountain Collegian (Fort Collins): For an institution that claims to be “setting the standard for public research universities in teaching, research, service and extension for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States and the world,” attempting to limit public inquiry into their records to only in-state citizens is a curious move that would seem to operate in direct contradiction to this mission.
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