National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Judicial branch CORA bill finally makes progress, but now only affects sexual harassment records

After trying for three years to make the state judicial branch subject to the Colorado Open Records Act, Rep. Polly Lawrence finally notched a victory Thursday when a legislative committee passed an extremely limited version of her perennial bill.

“It certainly doesn’t go as far as I’d like, but it’s a step in the right direction,” the Roxborough Park Republican said.

As unanimously approved by the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, House Bill 18-1152 now only addresses access to records of sexual harassment complaints and investigations. The bill had a much broader scope when introduced, changing the definition of public records in CORA to include the judicial department’s administrative and budget records.

Lawrence’s proposal wasn’t given much of a chance in the Democratic-controlled committee, which had killed previous versions of the same bill. But Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, was prompted to craft the successful amendment after hearing testimony last month that those who accuse judicial branch employees of sexual harassment may not be able to find out the outcome of their complaints. The same is apparently true when such allegations are made against lawyers regulated by a judicial branch agency. Read more…