State Senate Approves Colorado Public Records Mediation

A bill encouraging citizens and state agencies to resolve public records disputes outside court is headed to the governor's desk.

The Senate passed the bill Monday 35-0. It offers mediation as an option when a citizen wants to challenge a government agency's denial of his or her request for public records.

Under Colorado's Open Records Act, such challenges must go to court — an expense that deters many from pursuing their requests.

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CO: No Charges In City Attorney Open Records Case

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said Friday his office will not be filing criminal charges against former Denver City Attorney Scott Martinez or any other members of the city attorney’s office in connection with the curious handling of a Colorado Open Records Act request from 2015.

“I don’t think the left hand knew what the right hand was doing,” Morrissey told CBS4. “They should have turned this over to you (CBS4). I believe it was wrong.”

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Editorial: Colorado legislature deals a double blow to public access

A state Senate committee this week decided that a non-profit may function as a surrogate government agency, with 85 to 95 percent of its funding consistently coming from public sources, and yet will not have to honor requests under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).

A bill that would have subjected such entities to CORA was tabled under heavy fire.

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A 21st-century open records law for Colorado

When was the last time you used microfilm or microfiche to find information? Does the phrase “on-line bulletin board” bring to mind that screeching noise associated with dial-up connections from 20 years ago?

That’s how long it’s been since the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) was amended to ensure access to public records “kept only in miniaturized or digital form.” This section of the law, with its tech terms from the 1990s and earlier, is so antiquated and so nonspecific that it’s practically useless.

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[Op-ed] Senator: Time to modernize Colorado Open Records Act

It is time to modernize the Colorado Open Records Act, or CORA, to ensure the public can access government records in digital formats that allow them to understand and analyze the contents of these public records. 

The public must have access to such records to hold their governments accountable and to promote greater transparency, civic engagement and public trust.

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Parents to lawmakers: Open records of Colorado nonprofits serving people with disabilities

Twenty Colorado nonprofits that spend public dollars to serve people with disabilities should be required like government agencies to provide detailed financial records and other information on request, parents and advocates told state lawmakers Monday.

“We’re not asking for more money from the state to care for our son,” said Darlene Beals, mother of 19-year-old Alan, who has Down Syndrome. “We’re asking for tools to check on community-centered boards for services already approved.”

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Colorado appeals court hears arguments in dispute over disclosure of teacher sick-leave records

An attorney for the Jefferson County Education Association argued this week that a Colorado district court judge erred in ruling that teacher sick-leave records can be disclosed to the public.

The lower-court judge made the personnel exemption in the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) “an empty shell” when she narrowly defined confidential records to include only a public employee’s “personal” information, JCEA lawyer Sharyn Dreyer told a three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals.

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Proposed 2016 bill would open records of nonprofits serving people with disabilities

Prompted by the recent financial troubles of a nonprofit that serves people with disabilities, a state lawmaker plans 2016 legislation to open the records of all such agencies in Colorado that receive more than half their funds from public sources.

Sen. Irene Aguilar said Rocky Mountain Human Services and similar nonprofits should be covered by the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) so that local governments and the public can be confident that the limited amount of money available for programs to help vulnerable populations is spent appropriately.

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