Newsletter of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to helping Coloradans understand and use their rights of access to the records and proceedings of government and the judiciary.
Colorado ethics commission hears opposition to proposed public records rules
The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission put off making a decision on proposed records access rules after hearing opposition from news media associations, citizens and the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
DU study: Limited access to records leaves Coloradans ‘in the dark’ about police misconduct
New research makes a case for reforming Colorado’s criminal justice records statute to require the public release of files on completed internal affairs investigations concerning law enforcement officers accused of wrongdoing.
Analysis shows troves of Colorado voters exposed to propaganda from Russian accounts
The Denver Post: Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election exposed hundreds of thousands of Colorado voters to misinformation and propaganda through media outlets and social networks, a new analysis of Twitter data shows.
Loveland and Fort Collins police refuse release of officer conduct documents
Fort Collins Coloradoan: In its refusal of the Coloradoan’s open records request for information about the investigation and Chase’s status as an employee, Loveland police cited the officer’s privacy interests, the department’s desire to maintain confidentiality and its desire to protect witness statements.
Colorado Springs has spent more than $100,000 pursuing and defending against whistleblower
The Gazette (Colorado Springs): Colorado Springs and its utility have spent more than $100,000 over the past three years jousting with Monument clean-air advocate Leslie Weise. Weise sued the city and Colorado Springs Utilities in 2015 to obtain an air-quality report on the coal-fired Martin Drake Power Plant. Utilities had paid AECOM to produce the report, which never has been made public.
Opinion: CSU’s lack of transparency reaches the highest level, but it’s a simple fix
The Rocky Mountain Collegian (Fort Collins): Though CSU is not technically breaking Colorado sunshine law rules that govern public meetings, they are certainly making it difficult for journalists to do their jobs.
Avon council told hotel development rezoning request is confidential; it isn’t
Vail Daily: A rezoning application for a large hotel development was presented to the council as being “confidential” in a memo from the town manager in January. The development is not confidential, Town Attorney Eric Heil confirmed in a memo to council released to the public.
Editorial: Greeley-Evans school district committee should be subject to Sunshine Law
The Greeley Tribune: For what it’s worth, we think the state’s open meetings laws do apply to the oversight committee. We’d like to see the committee members hold themselves to the highest standards of transparency. Failing that, it will mean a group created expressly to improve public trust in government would hold its meetings in secret.
Editorial: A forensic audit of Visit Estes Park is the only reasonable action
Estes Park Trail-Gazette: With a change in leadership a full audit of any public organization (particularly one with residual issues and a controversial past) should be expected as a matter of course. It is a necessary part of leadership transition and would also go a long way in restoring community trust.
Colorado Supreme Court orders judge to justify sealing of records in death penalty case
The Colorado Independent: The state Supreme Court has granted The Colorado Independent’s emergency petition for help in our fight to unseal records about prosecutorial misconduct in a death penalty case.
Editorial: Transparency a must for Denver’s new safety director
The Denver Post: Troy Riggs, Denver’s new director of public safety, is stepping into a tough position, made even dicier by the pending investigation headed his way into the conduct of both the chief and deputy chief of police.
Should findings of Colorado lawmaker’s sexual harassment inquiry be made public?
The Denver Post: The Republican leader tasked with determining whether to punish a state senator for alleged sexual harassment is facing tough questions about whether the outcome of the investigation will be made public.
Editorial: Senate Bill 14, addressing hidden Colorado prisoners, is just a start, not a solution
The Aurora Sentinel: While Senate Bill 14 would bring an improvement over Colorado’s bizarre and dangerous hide-and-seek game state prison officials played last year with mass-murder James Holmes, the proposed changes aren’t nearly good enough.
Coloradans may never know consequences after sexual harassment investigations at Capitol
KUNC (Greeley): State Senate leaders are in a position to decide whether to impose some kind of punishment against Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The Hot Sulphur Springs Republican is facing a formal complaint of sexual harassment — a complaint a key source tells us has been validated. But it is not clear who will make the decision or if legislative leaders will ever make the findings public. That’s because of Capitol rules that keep the process secret.
Critics say open records investigation into Denver’s top two police officers isn’t independent
FOX31 (Denver): More than eight months after an investigation was launched into the transparency of Denver’s top two police officers, there’s still no word on when the director of public safety will issue her findings.
Colorado Springs City Council action in executive session raises legal questions
The Gazette (Colorado Springs): In an apparent violation of the state’s open meeting laws, the Colorado Springs City Council directed the city attorney to pursue professional sanctions against a Monument clean-air advocate during an executive session, one councilman says.
Editorial: Colorado Ethics Commission should follow state’s time-tested open records law
The Greeley Tribune: We think the Colorado Ethics Commission should follow the Colorado Open Records Act. This might seem like a straightforward statement for a body created to foster public trust in government, but apparently not everyone sees it that way.
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.
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