Capitol Dispatch: Let’s debate this bill, on Snapchat

What kind of official communication falls under Colorado’s open records laws?

Capitol Dispatch: Let’s debate this bill, on Snapchat

DENVER — Lawmakers here Monday affably wrestled with open-records riddles in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the way to killing a bill that all the committee members nevertheless thought raised important questions.

Like this one: If three clerks huddle together in a room, does the public have a right to know what they talk about? What about three sheriffs — or 55 who want to sue the state? On these questions, the committee pretty much agreed that, well, no, the public doesn’t have a right to know — at least as the law stands now.

The reason has to do with a lack of overlap between Colorado’s Sunshine Law and its Open Records Act. It’s a little wonky but if you’re curious, committee member Mike Johnston, a Democratic Senator from Denver, gives a solid 90-second explanation here.

The bill, SB 70, was sponsored by Kevin Lundberg, a Loveland Republican who is also a Judiciary Committee member and was the only one to vote for the measure. He said the vibrant committee debate over his bill was encouraging in a session already marked by partisan tension.

The bill got legislators talking, and laughing, about Colorado’s fairly rusty open records laws.

[Snapchat still from Jessica B.]

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About the Author

Tessa Cheek

She writes and makes photos about communities. Her book, Great Wall Style, a monograph-profile-lyric essay, is out from Images Publishing. | 720-440-2527 | @tessacheek

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