Government transparency coalition report says Colorado open records law is ‘unbalanced’

A new report published by a government transparency coalition in Colorado describes the state’s open records law as “unbalanced,” saying it negatively impacts those who work for the public good by allowing custodians to impose exorbitant fees to produce public records.

University of Denver law student Justin Twardowski, who compiled the report for the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition (CFOIC), found that while the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) doesn’t specify fees for records requests, courts have allowed custodians to charge “nominal” fees for research and retrieval, a right Twardowski argues state agencies abuse continuously, resulting in exorbitant fees being charged for simple and narrowly-tailored requests.

In 2014, state lawmakers attempted to reign-in some of the exorbitant fees charged to research and retrieve documents by capping the maximum hourly fee at $30.00 per hour. Fees are adjusted each year in conjunction with the inflation rate. The current CORA fee is $33.58 per hour. Read more