Colorado: Governor Hickenlooper vetoes child-autopsy bill opposed by news outlets

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday afternoon announced he had vetoed three bills passed in the 2018 legislative session that ended last month, including one that would have placed autopsy reports on children off limits to the public except under limited circumstances.

Senate Bill 223 was brought to the General Assembly by El Paso County Coroner Robert Bux and the state organization of county coroners, who were concerned that releasing details of autopsy reports on minors would violate a family’s right to privacy.

But news organizations, including the Colorado Press Association and the Colorado Broadcasters Association, argued that cutting off public access to the reports could make it harder to uncover deaths caused by abuse.

A 2012 investigation by The Denver Post and KUSA-9News found that 72 of 175 Colorado children who had died of child abuse in the previous five years “were known to the government system that was supposed to keep them safe,” according to the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, which also opposed Senate Bill 223. Read more…