Monday, July 28, 2014

Colorado fails test on executive orders

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 5:04 PM

click to enlarge Sunshine is a good thing. - JOE SHLABOTNIK
  • Joe Shlabotnik
  • Sunshine is a good thing.
Colorado gets a lot of accolades. For being the least obese in the nation. For being bicycle friendly. For leading the way on legalization of marijuana. Yadda, yadda.

But when it comes to transparency in states' executive branches issuing executive orders, Colorado gets a big F, according to the Sunlight Foundation.

The foundation recently analyzed access issues involving executive orders, including publication, where they can be found, and public process prior to issuance. The criteria used to judge how all 50 states are doing:
Are executive orders available online?
Are orders uploaded in a timely fashion?
Is the data presented in a commonly owned format (e.g. HTML or PDF)?
Is the text machine-processable—-can you search and find text, or are they unsearchable scans?
For what period of time are executive orders available? For the current year? Current term? Previous governor’s term? Since the beginning of time?
Scoring the highest for public accessibility were Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas and Washington. Besides Colorado, the worst included Georgia, Hawaii and Nevada.

But the news wasn't all bad, as this part of the foundation's report shows:
Although executive orders are generally covered by public records laws, only three of the governor’s offices (Colorado, Idaho and Kentucky) that we contacted were aware of state statutes that govern how soon their orders need to be published online — if they need to be published online at all. While it’s great that many governors’ offices are thinking about proactively publishing these documents online, codifying online publication into public records law ensures that the choice of making these records accessible is not left to the discretion of the state executive branch.

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