Gov. John Hickenlooper today signed HB12-1036, clarifying Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requests and released this statement:
"HB12-1036 has two important sections that required passage this year. The section relating to CORA of administrative records is a top priority to departments that conduct administrative investigations that are important to the health and safety of Coloradans. This portion of the bill is a widely accepted compromise that was supported by the Attorney General's Office, the Department of Regulatory Agencies, and the Department of Public Health and Environment among others.
"The more controversial portion of the bill relates to CORA of ballots. We have spent the past month engaging on this topic, hearing feedback from people across the state, advocacy organizations and local governments including clerks and recorders from 29 counties.
"We believe that this legislation is imperfect but necessary. The approaching 2012 general election could be the largest in Colorado's history, and with our position in the national spotlight, we must ensure the integrity of the election process. This bill clarifies the security and chain of custody for ballots throughout the election season, making certain our elections are properly administered.
"It is important that the public have reasonable access to ballots before an election is certified. In particular, the two Ute tribes in Colorado should have access in respect of their sovereignty. We believe this public interest could be better protected if the scope of the CORA blackout was more narrowly tailored. These nuances are worth further exploration by the General Assembly, but are not of sufficient weight and gravity to justify a veto.
"It's clear that the sponsors of this legislation tried to thread a very difficult needle. We appreciate their work."