Colorado: Public’s right to know at issue in 3 bills

Colorado state lawmakers have been busy of late dealing with bills that affect the public’s right to know in one way or another. The Colorado Press Association is tracking three bills with barely a week to go in the legislative session.

Senate Bill 156, which effectively would remove county salary information and financial statements from newspaper publication, has passed both the House and Senate. We strongly encourage Gov. John Hickenlooper to veto SB156.

The bill would give counties the sole discretion to post salary and financial reports on government-controlled websites, rather than in local newspapers as currently required by law. Starting Jan. 1, 2022, the public would have to search for and find county salary reports and financial statements on the internet even though a sizable segment of the population, particularly in rural areas, does not have ready access to computers.

By vetoing SB156, the governor would be on the side of the public’s right to know what the government is doing.

Another bill, SB223, would close off public access to autopsy reports on the deaths of minors under the age of 18. We oppose the bill, which has passed the Senate and is up for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday. Read more…