Highlights from the blog and news feed
Feb. 5, 2016
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.
Supreme Court orders El Paso judge to explain sealing of Planned Parenthood shooting records
An El Paso County District Court judge has until Feb. 16 to justify his sealing of court records in the case against accused Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Lewis Dear, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled.
Parents to lawmakers: Open records of nonprofits serving people with disabilities
Twenty Colorado nonprofits that spend public dollars to serve people with developmental and intellectual disabilities should be required like government agencies to provide detailed financial records and other information on request, parents and advocates told state lawmakers.
Colorado legislators move to formalize open-data program in Secretary of State's office
Colorado lawmakers are taking steps to formalize a 2½-year-old pilot program that encourages state government agencies to “streamline access to public data” by making datasets available online in machine-readable formats.
Lawsuit: Ex-Grand Junction official fired for blowing whistle on alleged misuse of funds
From The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): The former executive director of the Grand Junction Downtown Development Authority has filed a federal lawsuit against the DDA and the city, alleging he was fired last November in violation of his employment contract and his First Amendment right to talk about the alleged mismanagement of public funds.
Q&A: Sen. Aguilar on transparency for community-centered boards
From The Colorado Statesman: State Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, has introduced a bill to ensure that the state’s 20 Community Centered Boards are subject to regular financial and performance reviews. In an interview with Advocacy Denver’s policy outreach specialist, Aguilar says the bill was conceived out of controversy.
Editorial: CU should stop hiding Aurora theater shooting report
From The Denver Post:It is ironic that the University of Colorado prepared a detailed report of how Littleton Public Schools could make its district safer after a school shooting but the very same university won’t release its own report of how it handled James Holmes when he was a graduate student.
Judge: Forest Service must provide more Wolf Creek documents
From The Durango Herald: The saga of the proposed Village at Wolf Creek took another turn as a federal judge ordered the Forest Service to expand the scope of documents it must provide in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by environmental groups.
Editorial: Clarity needed on court records in Planned Parenthood shooting
From The Denver Post: The Colorado Supreme Court ordered El Paso County District Judge Gilbert Martinez to formally explain why he has taken the extraordinary step of sealing court records in the case against accused Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Dear Jr. That’s excellent news, since the reasons Martinez has supplied so far don’t stand up to scrutiny.
From The Rocky Mountain Collegian (Fort Collins): The CORA plays an important role in the transparency of public institutions and giving anyone concerned with public affairs an avenue to request information from the state. However, the act itself is a little out-of-date.
Denver auditor recommends police keep racial data on stops
From The Denver Post: The Denver Police Department should collect demographic data — including race and ethnicity — for all traffic and pedestrian stops initiated by its officers, an auditor’s report said.
From ColoradoWatchdog.org: A bill that would block courts from denying records because of their internal rules is in the works after a series of Watchdog.org stories revealed how courts exempted themselves from state transparency requirements.
From The Complete Colorado: The legal and press teams of Governor John Hickenlooper took an entire ten business days to hand over four pieces of audio in response to an open records act request filed by Complete Colorado.
From The Colorado Statesman: Perhaps the biggest problem with access to public records in Colorado is that there is no particular public official with general supervisory responsibility over public records requests.
Audio obtained under CORA reveals governor's remarks at event where reporters were kept out
From The Complete Colorado: On January 6, Governor John Hickenlooper spoke to the well heeled and highly influential political organization ‘Colorado Forum.’ But the governor, his staff, and members of Colorado Forum barred three reporters who showed up from joining the meeting.
Denver releases key video in Michael Marshall jail death review
From The Denver Post: The city released more than 13 hours of video footage from inside the jail. The footage shows multiple angles of the deputies’ struggle with Michael Marshall, and it shows what was going on in Marshall’s unit in the hour before the incident happened.
Editorial: Timely release of video in Denver jail death
From The Denver Post: Let’s hope this becomes the new normal for any case that spurs legitimate public concern. Investigate the incident as quickly as thoroughness permits and then release relevant video. It’s a new era and the public expects a new level of transparency.
Investigators won't release video of alleged police beating of La Junta man
From KOAA5 (southern Colorado):The attorney for a man who says he was beaten by La Junta Police said hospital surveillance video and officer body cameras likely recorded the incident, but investigators won’t give him access unless he sues.
Forest Service hid records, say opponents of Wolf Creek Pass development
From The Denver Post: A team of environmental groups opposing a nearly 30-year-old plan to develop a village on Wolf Creek Pass says it has evidence that U.S. Forest Service officials tried to conceal documents related to the agency’s review of the controversial project.
Colorado Independent sues Denver for release of Michael Marshall jail video
From The Colorado Independent: The Colorado Independent has sued the City and County of Denver demanding the release of videotapes showing sheriff’s deputies’ fatal confrontation with Michael Lee Marshall, a mentally ill, homeless man, in the city jail.
Editorial: A pledge from Mayor Hancock on releasing jail video of Michael Marshall's death
From The Denver Post: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told The Denver Post’s editorial board that he has promised to provide the family of Michael Marshall, a mentally ill homeless man who died after being restrained by deputies in Denver’s jail, access to the surveillance video as soon as the investigation is completed.
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