DENVER—On Wednesday, August 9th, a bill that gives citizens an alternative to litigating disputes for government records subject to the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) will go into effect. House Bill 1177, sponsored by Assistant House Minority Leader Cole Wist (R-Centennial), encourages mediation in lieu of litigation as an option between a government entity and a requester of information when a request is initially denied.
Prior to this law, a person denied the right to inspect any record covered by CORA would have three days to notify the respective government entity of their intent to sue for the requested records. House Bill 1177 changes this deadline from 3 days to 14 days, but more importantly, it requires the government entity who has denied the request to either meet in-person or communicate via telephone with the person requesting the information to determine if the dispute may be resolved without the need for litigation.
“Anytime we can make face to face resolutions an option in lieu of going to directly to court, it’s a good thing,” said Wist. “The Colorado Open Records Act exists to hold government accountable to the people it represents and this new law helps prevent government entities from using the cost and time of litigation as a deterrent to citizens seeking access to public records.”
House Bill 1177, also sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett (D-Denver), passed the legislature with unanimous support.