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Politics and Government

Colorado lawmakers send governor bill limiting what information has to be released on applicants for top public jobs

The Senate passed the bipartisan bill by a 28-7 vote on Wednesday, sending it to Gov. Jared Polis

The Colorado State Senate is pictured on the first day of Colorado's 73rd legislative session at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (Andy Colwell, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Colorado’s Legislature has passed a bill to allow government bodies to disclose the identity of just a single finalist for an executive position, amending state open records law that currently requires public disclosure of all finalists for taxpayer-funded top positions.

The Senate passed the bipartisan measure, House Bill 1051, by a 28-7 vote on Wednesday, sending it to Gov. Jared Polis.

Bill supporters argued that candidates for positions such as a public university president, city manager or public school superintendent should expect confidentiality and that releasing their names could jeopardize their current jobs.

Opponents, including the Colorado Press Association and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, contend the public has a right to know who is being considered for a taxpayer-financed government position.

The Colorado Open Records Act currently requires that finalists’ identities must be publicly disclosed at least 14 days before a job offer is made. It allows public access to application records submitted by finalists.

The bill also repeals a CORA requirement that if three or fewer candidates meet minimum requirements for a position, they must be treated as finalists under the act and their identities and applications become a matter of public record.

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