A boy listens to his headphones as Douglas County Board of Health members debate allowing students and teachers to opt out of masking mandates in schools at an Oct. 8, 2021, meeting. (CCM photo)

This story first appeared in a Colorado Community Media newspaper. Support CCM’s neighborhood news.

Douglas County and Lone Tree residents who can’t attend certain public government meetings in person will now be able to listen to them at any time after both entities expanded their public-access policies following questions about their practices from Colorado Community Media.

Douglas County commissioners began recording work sessions, and the City of Lone Tree now records its regular meetings. 

In these meetings, city councils and county commissioners make decisions about the use of tax dollars, policies and resolutions.

During pandemic shutdowns, several government entities in the county expanded access to their public meetings, making them available to join and comment virtually. Most continued their virtual offerings even after COVID restrictions were lifted, and some said the changes resulted in more engagement from the public.

Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, said the more access government provides to the public the better.

“The more information people have about what their government is doing, it’s better for our democracy,” he said. “People can participate, they can vote intelligently in elections if they know what’s going on and how decisions are made and something is being discussed that might be happening in their backyard.”

Read more at coloradocommunitymedia.com.

Elliott Wenzler wrote about politics, water, housing, and other topics for The Colorado Sun from October 2022 through September 2023. She has covered community issues in Colorado since 2019, including for Colorado Community Media. She has been...