Highlights from the blog and news feed
Mar. 28, 2017
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.
Modernizing Colorado's open-records law: Where Senate Bill 40 stands as it goes to the House
Senate Bill 17-040 is about clarifying the public’s right to obtain digitized government records in useful file formats that make it easier to analyze the information contained in those records. But as passed by the Colorado Senate, the bill is now about other things as well.
Colorado Senate passes digital open-records bill, adds exemption for 'critical infrastructure'
The Colorado Senate endorsed a heavily amended version of the open-records modernization bill, adding a broad exemption to bar the disclosure of records that “could endanger public safety or the operation of critical infrastructure.”
Video: CFOIC Sunshine Week panel on 'fake news' and media literacy
What’s “fake news” and what’s not? You might forgive the public for not knowing the difference these days, given how often that term is tossed about. Because media literacy is an issue both nationally and locally, it was the ideal topic for a Sunshine Week panel called “Getting to the truth in an age of alternative facts.”
Sharp elbows, dark money: Is this the new normal for Colorado Springs elections?
The Gazette (Colorado Springs): Dark money, high-dollar campaigns and sharp-elbow politicking are playing an unusually big role in this year’s contests for the City Council, longtime political observers say.
Judge to rule on CORA request for Visit Estes Park documents
Estes Park Trail Gazette: A ruling on a Colorado Open Records Act request to examine documents related to three former Visit Estes Park employees will likely be made this week, a Larimer District Court judge said.
Editorial: Keep Colorado and local government open and honest
The Aurora Sentinel: State lawmakers are, finally, closer than ever to passing a measure that would modernize Colorado’s treasured open records laws, saving taxpayers money and saving time and money for those who want information from their state and local government that must be made available to them by law.
Aurora councilman's open records requests lead to testy public face-off with city staff
The Aurora Sentinel: Several Aurora City Council members, led by Councilman Charlie Richardson, clashed with city management staff at a tempestuous council study session, claiming workers in City Manager George “Skip” Noe’s office have been providing the city’s elected officials with shoddy information.
Colorado campus free-speech bill scores full House support
The Colorado Statesman: Colorado’s campus free speech bill won a unanimous 64-0 vote on the state House floor. It was another triumph of bipartisan support for a bill that was early linked in the minds of lawmakers to contentious conservative cable-news narratives but that broke increasingly free with each committee and floor debate to be embraced as productive and important public policy, turning skeptics into supporters all along the way.
Report: Complaint about Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway sent to news outlets by Conway
The Greeley Tribune: Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway, in a possible “self-serving” effort to discredit his fellow commissioners, leaked a complaint against himself to two media outlets, according to a Mountain States Employers Council investigation.
The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): In the spirit of Sunshine Week, we offer our annual assessment of how well local agencies let the sun shine on their actions and if they’ve run afoul of open-meetings and open-records laws.
Fake news, open records and the spat between a Colorado senator and a newspaper
Freedom Outlook: How do responsible citizens interact with news media? What does good journalism look like? Is it ever fair to apply the term “fake news” to stories from otherwise reputable media outlets?
Sunshine Week spotlights transparency, public's right to know
Craig Daily Press: Government both represents and is funded by citizens and taxpayers, which is why government records belong to the public. National Sunshine Week is about the public’s right to know what happens within the government bodies that work on behalf of citizens.
Colorado Democrats propose reforms to shed more light on political 'dark money'
The Denver Post: Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran rolled out a series of bills to require that more “dark money” be disclosed under the state’s campaign finance laws, calling it a necessary step to ensure that out-of-state interests can’t “drown out the voice of our people.”
The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): While SB 40 is not a perfect bill, we remain hopeful that the legislative process will preserve its original intent and fix some problematic amendments. The Senate deliberations are the first step.
Opinion: A data collector's perspective on the pros and cons of open records
Post Independent (Glenwood Springs): As a water data collection specialist, I have spent years behind a keyboard, researching public data and how it’s accessed throughout the web. In my experience, there are three myths when it comes to finding and using public or government data: 1) it’s easy to find, 2) free, and 3) available in a useable format.
Having your FOI request denied may leave no other option than pursuing legal action against the rejecting public agency or official. The National Freedom of Information Coalition offers financial support to litigate open government lawsuits through the Knight FOI Litigation Fund. Backed by a generous grant from the Knight Foundation, the fund helps to defray upfront costs such as filing fees, depositions, court costs and other expenses associated with legal actions. Applications may be submitted through CFOIC or directly to NFOIC.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that relies on membership dues, grants and gifts. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation or becoming a member. Thank you!