Overview of Sunshine Laws in Colorado: Some history and insight behind Colorado's Sunshine Laws.


Colorado voters passed the first sunshine laws in the nation in 1972, with a ballot measure spearheaded by Colorado Common Cause. This act required disclosure of private interests by public officials; regulated lobbying; and, for the first time in Colorado, required open meetings of all meetings of two or more members of any board, committee, commission, authorities or other advisory, policy making, rule making, or other formally constituted bodies of any state agency or of the legislature in accordance with the provisions laid out in this bill.

The law was revised in 1977 with the passage of House Bill No. 1018, concerning public meetings and most notably provided legislation for meetings held in executive sessions. It was then revised again in 1985 with the passage of House Bill No. 1097, concerning the State Board of Parole meetings. During the 1996 session of the Colorado Legislature, House Bill 1314 - "a bill for an act concerning the open meetings provisions of the Colorado Sunshine Act of 1972", was passed.

 

An example of the issues that come up can be seen in Marble, Colorado. Marble was accused of violating the Open Meetings Law during a 2004 meeting.   The case centered on whether or not the town council violated the open meetings law by going beyond the scope of the required notice that was made public prior to the meeting. In this case, the council took action on an ongoing and contentious issue that many townspeople were involved in.  The notice called for an update on the issue, not any formal action.  The Court of Appeals agreed with the townspeople who argued that the town violated the law.  The town is now seeking to overturn that ruling.  We agreed that the town had violated the law with its action.  You can read our brief by clicking here. You can read the Colorado Court of Appeals Opinion here .