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Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition

Highlights from the blog and newsfeed
Feb. 18, 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.

Colorado Independent denied Statehouse credentials but encouraged to reapply after rules revised

For now, journalists working for The Colorado Independent still won’t be given access to the floor of the Colorado House or Senate when the General Assembly is in session. But legislative leaders encouraged the online newspaper to ask again after the credentialing criteria have been “updated.”

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Why can't The Colorado Independent get Statehouse press credentials?

The staff of The Colorado Independent features some of the state’s most accomplished journalists, including Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Mike Keefe and columnist Mike Littwin. Why can’t the online newspaper get press credentials from the Colorado General Assembly and the Colorado Capitol Press Association?

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CFOIC letter to The Denver Post in support of open-records bill

The Denver Post is right in urging passage of Rep. Joe Salazar’s House Bill 1193 to create a uniform statewide standard for “research and retrieval” fees permitted under the Colorado Open Records Act.

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School board executive-sessions bill passes in Colorado House

Legislation to add requirements for school board executive sessions passed the Colorado House after a long, emotional attack by opponents who said it would undermine attorney-client relationships as well as education-reform efforts in some districts.

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Bill would let county clerks black out first five digits of Social Security number on documents

Hoping to curb identity theft, a committee of the state legislature advanced a bill that requires county clerks to redact the first five digits of a Social Security number on an electronic copy of a public document, if a person makes a request.

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Mug-shot websites bill moves to Senate

HB 14-1047, intended to stop Internet sites from charging people to remove booking photos, picked up support from Republican lawmakers as it moved to the Colorado Senate on a bipartisan 45-19 House vote.

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CORA fees bill introduced

Rep. Joe Salazar’s proposed legislation to regulate how much governments can charge for public records has been introduced in the Colorado House as HB 14-1193.

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House Education Committee approves school board executive-sessions bill

A perception that some school boards are abusing executive sessions prompted committee passage of a bill in the state legislature aimed at giving the public more information to ascertain whether a closed-door meeting might violate Colorado’s Sunshine Law.

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Opinion: Closed-door school board meetings should be recorded

From The Denver Post: By Alicia Caldwell Denver Post Editorial Writer

Politics can be a strange filter.

That's really the only explanation for how otherwise rational people at the state Capitol could view a pending good-government bill as some sort of attack on democracy.

I'm talking about a measure that would require local school boards to fully record their closed-door executive sessions, including matters of attorney-client privilege.

This doesn't mean the material will ever see the light of day. But the conversations are preserved should legitimate legal questions be raised as to whether school board members talked about issues that are supposed to be discussed in public.

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First Amendment lawsuit over marijuana advertising rules suffers setback

From The Denver Post: A federal judge has initially rejected a plea from High Times and Westword magazines to block state rules that prevent recreational marijuana businesses from advertising in most publications. But Chief U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger said she would let the magazines amend their lawsuit to keep the case alive.

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Editorial: Restrictions on marijuana advertising violate First Amendment

From The Denver Post: We have been strong supporters of tough rules around recreational marijuana to keep the industry on a short leash and in check.

But rules written last year by the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division for retail marijuana advertising are unconstitutional and have been ripe for a court challenge, which came last week when the publishers of High Times and Westword filed suit in federal court.

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Editorial: A fair fee for Colorado open records searches

From The Denver Post: The spirit of open government lies in the Colorado Open Records Act — also called the sunshine law for its rule that government work should be out in the open.

The law says most public records shall be available to the public. But local governments subvert the intent of the open records law when they charge excessive fees to produce the records.

Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, is sponsoring legislation that would standardize the amount governments could charge for public access to open records.

Read more.

Judge dismisses lawsuit by Elbert County resident who claimed harassment over his CORA requests

From The Denver Post: Don Pippin’s battle against the Elbert County commissioners appears to be over.

A U.S. District judge last week tossed a lawsuit against the Elbert County Commissioners filed by Pippin, who claimed he was harassed over his constant open records requests.

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State's daycare website was offline for months

From 9News (Denver): Colorado parents want to know their children’s daycare centers are safe, but that got a lot harder after a state website crash last fall.

9Wants to Know has learned the Child Care Facility Search function failed in September, and a state-contracted computer programming company couldn’t fully fix it for four months.

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Ex-chair feared CU-Boulder would dissolve philosophy department if sexual harassment report leaked

From the Daily Camera (Boulder):Former University of Colorado philosophy chairman Graeme Forbes warned faculty last November not to say a word about an outside report detailing pervasive sexual harassment within the department, saying he feared campus administrators would dissolve the department should the findings be made public.

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The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition's efforts to protect the FOI rights of Coloradans rely on membership dues, grants and gifts. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation or becoming a member. Thank you!
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