Attention Attorneys, Paralegals, Insurance Professionals, and Anyone who Relies on Open Records Access. This may affect due diligence and records retrieval on your cases!
Advanced Professional Investigations wants to bring awareness to a bill which will limit open records access in Colorado. HB12-1036 is veiled as a “Clarification” but in reality restricts access defined in the Colorado Open Records Act.
Colorado private investigators and our colleagues nationwide, are concerned about this bill in its current form. There is no provided foundation addressing the need for clarification, and there are no guidelines for denial of records, only at the discretion of the custodian of records. That is dangerous to our profession, and the citizens of Colorado for whom Open Records are designed so that they can be informed and represented by their government. This bill as introduced does not specify any department, office, or agency for which it applies – and specifically does not mention the AG’s office or limit to an active investigation. The bill gives complete discretion to the custodian of records, which are agents and clerks who are often far removed from those that may have a different intent for the purpose of not disclosing specific records. There is no provision for what would constitute public interest. Moreover, ‘public interest’ is both not defined in any statute, and the concept of open records is expressly for the purpose of ‘public interest’.
Here’s the latest update on HB1036. This bill, which the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado has opposed from the onset, was met with resistance at the Senate Judiciary hearing in Denver, CO. Several of the Senate Judiciary Committee members had the same concerns PPIAC has regarding the bill. The committee members questioned the proponents of the bill with these concerns. It seems the concerns were not adequately addressed by the proponents, as the committee Chair Morgan Carroll decided to lay over the vote on this bill while the committee gathers more information and even contemplates amendments.
Keep sending those letters! Make sure you voice your concerns to the committee if you have not already done so. It is making a difference! However, let’s not leave anything to chance. Now that there’s more time to work with before the vote, get the word out. Please send attorneys and media contacts a link to the bill so they are aware of the impacts it will have to their businesses and professions! Here is the link to the reengrossed, and most current version of the bill: http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2012a/csl.nsf/billcontainers/F910975289BD2B1D87257981007F3A47/$FILE/1036_rn2.pdf
For more information on PPIAC please visit http://ppiac.org