SB 69 causes writers block |

SB 69 causes writers block

Courtesy of the Colorado Press Association

The Colorado House Local Government Committee Tuesday passed Senate Bill 69, which would allow counties to discontinue identifying their employees in financial public notices published in newspapers, on a 7-4 vote.It was the second time the committee voted on the bill. The first time, March 8, the legislation was rejected on a 6-5 vote. However, the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Greg Brophy, asked that the bill be considered again.The Wray Republican said SB 60 is an attempt to strike a balance between the public’s right to know and an individual’s privacy. This issue isn’t about privacy. This issue is about trust and confidence in government. This issue is about a proposal that would create more separation between government and the public, creating yet another obstacle for people to have access to government information.When public officials, at any level, seek to make it harder to access government information, it creates skepticism about the actions of those officials and cynicism about government in general.Are individuals elected to office to protect the interests of government employees or are they elected to protect the interests of the public?This bill is about public employees who are paid with public funds. Why should it be difficult to obtain this information?This week is Sunshine Week, a national project initiated by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, to emphasize the importance of open government. Gov. Bill Owens signed a proclamation observing Sunshine Week. Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald signed a commendation to the ASNE and the Colorado Press Association in celebration of Sunshine Week. How ironic that we are celebrating Sunshine Week and the House Local Government Committee just passed a bill that allows local government to limit information to the public.It isn’t compatible with the concept of open government. SB 69, introduced in January by Sen. Lois Tochtrop, passed the Senate on Feb. 14. The Thornton Democrat sponsored a similar bill last year when she was a member of the House. That bill was defeated in a House floor vote. The House should do the same again this year. If SB 69 does pass the House, the governor should veto the bill. If this legislation becomes law, its implication is obvious: Another piece of government information is harder to obtain. And its message is obvious as well: Politics are more important than the public.This editorial is courtesy of the Colorado Press Association

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User