CFOIC: 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 Tuesday evening, adding a broad exemption to bar the disclosure of records that “could endanger public safety or the operation of critical infrastructure.”

The new provision in SB 17-040, requested by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, would exclude such data from the definition of public records in the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).

“It’s simply a security issue,” said Sonnenberg, a Sterling Republican. “Some will say this (information) is already exempt. Obviously, the water community and the utility community are still concerned.”

The amendment affects records concerning bridges, tunnels, dams, airports and other infrastructure systems. Sen. John Kefalas, the Fort Collins Democrat who introduced SB 17-040, called the provision “very broad” and expressed concerns that it could require the removal of maps and other records currently available to the public on the internet.