Highlights from the blog and news feed
Apr. 30, 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.
Some cities continue to use secret ballots to fill council vacancies despite 2012 statute
Despite a 2012 Sunshine Law amendment that bans the use of secret ballots to make most decisions, some municipal governments in Colorado have continued to fill city council vacancies by voting anonymously.
Senate committee agrees with First Amendment concerns about 'expectation of privacy' bill
A state Senate committee acquiesced to First Amendment concerns expressed by the news media and private investigators about a bill that, as passed by the House, would have made it a crime to photograph or record someone who has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Whistleblower information bill passes committee despite privacy breach concerns
The Senate Local Government Committee unanimously endorsed a bill intended to shield state agency whistleblowers, despite fears from officials of several state government departments that it would make confidential information more vulnerable to security breaches.
House votes to criminalize the recording of someone who has an 'expectation of privacy'
Privacy concerns posed by drones and other emerging technologies prompted initial passage in the Colorado House of a bill that would make it a crime to photograph or record someone who has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Lawmakers advance bill to limit immunity, encourage information on violent incidents
Following measured but heart-wrenching testimony from the parents of slain Arapahoe High student Claire Davis, a Senate committee endorsed a bill to limit school district immunity and encourage the flow of information on events leading up to violent school incidents.
Erie pulls public discussion of U.S. 287 development to avoid press coverage
From the Daily Camera (Boulder): The Daily Camera’s presence at an Erie board meeting to discuss a planned development at U.S. 287 and Arapahoe Road led Town Administrator A.J. Krieger to pull the item from the agenda in favor of a future discussion in a closed executive session.
Durango-area law enforcement agencies look to adopt body cameras
From The Durango Herald: Amid a national outcry, the Durango Police Department is moving toward purchasing body cameras, with plans to roll them out department-wide in 2016 or 2017. The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado State Patrol also are considering adopting body cameras. Fort Lewis College police have had body cameras for more than four years.
From The Pueblo Chieftain: The Southern Colorado Growers Association is seeking work materials from three Pueblo Community College employees — including President Patty Erjavec — asking if anti-marijuana political work has been done on taxpayer time at the school.
Opinion: Fiscal impact statements for Colorado ballot measures
From The Denver Post: Expanding and enhancing the information that Colorado voters are provided about ballot measures is a vital step to improve our entire ballot initiative system — and one that is long overdue. It’s essential that voters have the basic facts about how a proposal would affect their pocketbooks, and government coffers.
From the Rocky Mountain Collegian (Fort Collins): The effectiveness of the Colorado Open Records Act is dependent on the cooperation of both citizens and public institutions, and Colorado State University’s policy on CORA requests leaves much to be desired. CSU’s administration needs to do more to offer transparency to students and taxpayers.
Editorial: Colorado lawmakers should stop photo privacy bill
From the Times-Call (Longmont): Proposals to add criminal penalties to the long list of offenses that Coloradans can be accused of committing should be given the greatest scrutiny. A close look and a skeptic’s eyes are needed by legislators and potentially the governor when studying House Bill 15-1115, which would criminalize the recording of a person who has an “expectation of privacy.
Editorial: Taking a photograph shouldn't be a crime
FromThe Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): A bill originally intended to curb drone use from invading people’s privacy has morphed into a beast of law that could criminalize the simple act of taking a photograph.
State judicial department denies records of justices' work habits
From ColoradoWatchdog.org: The Colorado Judicial Branch has refused to disclose information about the work schedule of the chief justice and other employees after Watchdog.org documented some top judicial officials were paid additional public money to teach on state time.
Lawmakers debate the right to record and keep footage of police
From The Colorado Independent: Transparency advocates say it’s high time for a right-to-record bill, which acknowledges the increasing role that citizen video is playing in community relationships with law enforcement.
Bill to open DYC records to public scrutiny likely to clear Colorado Senate
From The Gazette (Colorado Springs):A bill that would open up Division of Youth Corrections’ records for public scrutiny passed the Senate preliminarily on the consent calendar with no discussion and no opposition.
Erie responds to allegations of illegal meetings with 'rumor mill' email
From Colorado Hometown Weekly: As Erie denied claims that trustees have held illegal meetings, First Amendment attorney Steven Zansberg maintained that the town’s practices fall outside of Colorado’s open meetings laws.
Resident alleges Erie holds illegal 'pre-meetings,' but town says study sessions are public
From the Daily Camera (Boulder): Erie resident Aaron Harber — who is suing the town over his land parcel — served the town with a cease-and-desist letter Tuesday, accusing the Board of Trustees of holding illegal meetings to discuss public business.
Colorado judiciary avoids transparency legislation — at least until next year
From ColoradoWatchdog.org: The Colorado Judicial Branch will avoid open records laws at least for the rest of the year after a last-minute bill to require the department to abide by transparency legislation failed to get leadership approval.
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