Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandFebruary 13, 20186min401
The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission, under fire from open records advocates over its attempt to write its own open records rules, decided Monday to delay a decision on those rules, in part because of objections from the public. And after hearing from transparency advocates, including the organization that wrote the law creating the commission, one […]

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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandJanuary 29, 201810min416
The state’s Independent Ethics Commission has decided to write its own rules about how and whether it is subject to the state’s open records law, and that’s drawing pushback from the Colorado Press Association, the Colorado Broadcasters Association, the Secretary of State’s Office and other open records advocates. The commission, in court challenges to its […]

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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 28, 20184min5150

Candidates, campaigns and political parties aren't the only ones gearing up for the election, the Colorado Democratic Party warns in this month's Democratic Dispatch newsletter. The Russian government-aligned hackers who broke into email accounts belonging to Democrats — including presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, her campaign chairman John Podesta and state Sen. Andy Kerr — in order to influence the last election look like they're back for more, and no one involved in politics is safe, the state party's tech team advises.


Kara MasonKara MasonDecember 14, 20172min789

A teacher at an Aurora middle school faced more than a month of administrative leave after complaints that a guest speaker in her social justice class was politically motivated, according to the Aurora Sentinel.

Some parents thought a guest speaker whom teacher Asia Lyons brought into her Sky Vista Middle School class focused on topics not suited for students of that age — such as sexual identity and sexual assault. Some of the materials for the class also allegedly used adult language.

While the parents wouldn’t initially respond to a request for comment from the Sentinel, the newspaper went on to get the parents’ letters through a Colorado Open Records Act request:

“Parent Ami Grube said in one letter that she was upset her child had to quote a video that included the word “hell.” She alleged that one of the videos used the slang abbreviation “WTF” when discussing the gender-pay gap. The letters also expressed frustration over what parents felt was the school administration’s apathy toward their complaints.”

The guest speaker, Dezy Saint-Nolde, also known as Queen Phoenix is an activist in Denver. She’s also facing a felony misdemeanor drug charge. The Sentinel reports she skipped out on her first court date.


Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 30, 20173min801

If you missed #GivingTuesday this week, you can satisfy your passion for open government next Tuesday on Colorado Gives Day by making a tax-deductible donation to the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.

The nonprofit does what better-financed, more committed media used to do: fight to make sure government records are truly public and accessible, and push back against those who try to do the public’s business beyond public scrutiny.

“Colorado’s open records laws and the open meetings law are there so that everyone – journalists and the general public – can hold government accountable,” my friend Jeff Roberts, the coalition’s executive director, tells Colorado Politics. “For our democracy to work as the Founding Fathers intended, it’s essential that people know what’s going on, how taxpayer money is spent and how government decisions are made. But governments at all levels sometimes make access difficult, whether it’s charging exorbitant fees for public records, improperly withholding records or making decisions in secret.

“The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition works with news organizations all over the state, helping them navigate the sunshine laws and fight for access. Our freedom-of-information hotline is available to the public free of charge. And this year, the CFOIC helped to modernize the Colorado Open Records Act, ensuring Coloradans’ right to digital public records in useful file formats.”

More than 40 percent of the questions the coalition receives about Freedom of Information laws and procedures are from rank-and-file citizens and people who work in government.

Last year the Freedom of Information Coalition led a legislative fight to modernize the formats of information subject to the Colorado Open Records Act, so people could view them on a computer in searchable formats rather and on sheets of paper.

The CFOIC also campaigns against fake news. “There has never been a higher premium on the public’s right to obtain accurate, truthful and reliable information about government at all levels,” it said in a fundraising e-mail.

To give or to learn more, visit the Colorado Give’s website by clicking here.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningNovember 3, 20179min2405

Cole Wist, Colorado's assistant House Republican leader, says he’s “thinking seriously” about running for state attorney general in next year's election if GOP incumbent Cynthia Coffman decides to run for governor, and he expects to announce his plans within weeks, he told Colorado Politics. Coffman said months ago she was weighing a bid for governor rather than run for a second term but has yet to declare her intentions.


Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 14, 20173min2296

Leave it to the scrappy Cortez Journal to push the issue about clean restaurants and open records in Montezuma County. And now the county is ready to address a larger problem.

Staff writer Jim Mimiaga provides a master class is expecting the state’s open records law to mean something, even as he fairly reports the staffing problems the Montezuma County Health Department is facing.

Read the story here.

When readers asked their local newspaper why it didn’t run county restaurant inspection scores, the Journal asked the health department for the public information. Bobbi Lock, who runs the health department, asked for  money, $518.85 for the latest batch. And the records the newspaper asked for in May won’t be available until the end of September.

The Journal’s lawyer, First Amendment ace Steve Zansberg, said that’s  illegal, exceeding what the law allows the government to charge under the Colorado Open Records Act.

The health department even wanted to charge for the couple of hours it took discussing the request and sketching out an estimate. Zansberg said there was basis in the law to support charging for that.

Mimiaga wrote with depth and fairness about the heavy workload the rural department faces with just one inspector, who would compile and provide the restaurant inspection reports. The charges to the newspaper would presumably pay to bring in some help or pay some overtime.

The newspaper asked for a year’s worth of restaurant inspection reports for 143 establishments in Montezuma and Dolores counties.

“She is overwhelmed, and there is not enough time in the day to take care of everything as it is,” Lock said about the inspector in the Journal’s story. “Five dollars per report will help pay for the additional staff time to generate the reports.”

The Journal updated its story over the weekend to say Montezuma County Commissioners will meet Monday to discuss staffing shortages in the Health Department. The health department could ask to raise its inspection fees to hire some help, the Journal reported.