Colorado House gives initial OK on public records mediation

Coloradans disputing records denials have one option: Go to court. The new bill would encourage both parties to try to agree on a solution without litigation.

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DENVER (AP) — The Colorado House has given initial approval to a bill offering mediation to resolve disputes involving denials of public record requests.

The bill by Centennial Republican Rep. Cole Wist and Denver Democratic Rep. Alec Garnett passed by voice vote Tuesday. It awaits another procedural vote before going to the Senate.

Coloradans disputing records denials have one option: Go to court. That prospect is costly and deters many from pursuing the information they seek.

The new bill would encourage both parties to try to agree on a solution without litigation. It leaves open the possibility of court action.

At least 26 states have mediation procedures to resolve public records disputes more quickly.

Colorado’s courts have set a $75 per-hour, per-party mediation cost in civil cases.

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