With certain exceptions, the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requires disclosure of public documents. Public documents are generally defined as an existing written or electronic document made, maintained or kept by a state agency for use in a government function or purpose. Exceptions are set out in the Colorado Open Records Act. Records requests should be directed to the record custodian.
What is a “public record”?
With certain exceptions, a “public record” subject to disclosure is an existing written or electronic document made, maintained or kept by a state agency for use in a government function or purpose. Exceptions are set out in the Colorado Open Records Act, and may also be found in the organic act covering the programs administered by CDHS.
How do I request records from CDHS?
In order for accurate tracking and timely response, all requests for records need to be submitted in writing.
How will I know what the costs of the public records will be?
The Colorado Open Records Act allows for public agencies to recoup actual, reasonable costs to retrieve and provide those documents available to the public.
Is there always a charge for accessing records?
Why is there a cost to the public to access records?
The Colorado Open Records statute acknowledges that there are real costs associated with the disclosure of public records, such as staff time to assemble, review and evaluate records for exempt information and copy costs. CDHS is authorized to recover those actual costs through fees.
What information is exempt from release?
Colorado law recognizes many types of information that may, or must, remain closed to public inspection. Personally identifying information, such as social security number, home phone number or home address, as well as medical or mental health data is exempt from release to the public. As such, basic privacy interests are protected. In addition, CORA closes other categories of public records from inspection, such as proprietary and other confidential information.
If a record contains some confidential information, is the custodian required to block out or “redact” the confidential portions of the record?
In general, CORA does not require that an agency redact exempt information. Records with mixed information may lawfully be closed to inspection. However, the custodian may review the records and decide if it is appropriate and practical to redact the confidential portion and release otherwise public information.
How long will it take me to get copies of records I request?
Records which are readily available must be released within three business days of the request.If the volume of records requested is overly broad or voluminous, such that it will take more time to assemble, review and evaluate the records, or if the records are stored off site, then an extension allowing up to seven additional business days is allowed. If an extension is necessary, you will be advised as soon as possible prior to the expiration of the initial three day period. A more specific request (for a single record for which you know the date and title) may not take long to retrieve. A general request (all records on a certain topic, or within an extended period of time) will typically take longer to retrieve.
What if my request for access to records is denied?
If the request for records is denied, the notice of denial will state the reasons for closure. The Colorado Open Records Act prescribes certain remedies should you wish to pursue them.