Colorado transparency legislation

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Transparency legislation in Colorado.


See also: Colorado Open Records Act

House Bill 1145[1] requires private investigators to register with the state's attorney general and created a rebuttable presumption that registered private investigators may access public records including driver's license and vehicle records information.[1] However, public agency employees are authorized to deny access to the records "if contrary to the public interest."[1]

House Bill 1251[2] creates a presumption that criminal records involving investigations are public records, but it also allows for record custodians to deny access to the records if they determine disclosure is "contrary to the public interest."[1]

Senate Bill 49[3] seeks to make the compensation information of state employees subject to public records requirements under the Colorado Open Records Act so long as the identifying information of employees is kept confidential.[3]

Senate Bill 57[4], also known as the "Public School Financial Transparency Act," seeks to require Colorado school districts to post their budgets online in searchable formats. Bruce Coughy, deputy director of the Colorado Association of School Executives opposes the bill, saying that it amounts to an unfunded mandate placed on school districts. Primary sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ted Harvey (R-Highlands Ranch), says: "The only opposition is that this would be a burden to the administration, and if the citizens want this information they can get it through an open records request. That type of arrogance from government bureaucrats is exactly why the citizens have lost trust in our government and why this bill is important."[5]

On February 19, SB 57 passed the state senate Senate on its third reading by a vote of 26-8. But on March 19, after a marathon hearing that lasted more than four hours, the bill was killed by the Democrat-controlled House Education Committee on an 8-5 party-line vote.[6] Before killing SB 57, the committee narrowly agreed to adopt an amendment proposed by House sponsor Republican Rep. Amy Stephens to make the bill's provisions less burdensome for school districts.

Ben DeGrow of the Independence Institute supports SB 57 saying "Shining sunlight on the detailed financial picture for all to see would help strengthen the 'public' in public education."[7] About 30 other citizens visited the Capitol on February 2, 2009 to show their support for the bill.[8]