The Colorado General Assembly passed HB 19-1087 during the 2019 legislative session. This law changes some of the requirements for public meeting notices posted by local governments, and went into effect July 1, 2019. This change to the law makes it easier for public entities to post meeting notices by allowing official notices to be posted online. It also brings consistency to the timeline requirements for all types of public meetings.
This bill amends the Colorado’s Open Meeting Law (C.R.S. 24-6-401+), also referred to as the “Sunshine Law,” to allow for meeting notices with agendas to be posted on a website, in lieu of posting in a physical location. The purpose behind this law is stated such that “the formation of public policy is public business and may not be conducted in secret.” The law goes on to define a local public body to be “any board, committee, commission, authority, or other advisory, policy-making, rule-making, or formally constituted body of any political subdivision of the state.” This includes public library boards for both district and non-district libraries.
Local public bodies can still post meeting notices in a physical location if they do not have a website, or if they prefer posting in a physical location. The law allows the option for a public body to continue posting meeting notices in a physical location, in addition to posting online. The new law states that the local public body shall “to the extent feasible, make the notices searchable by type of meeting, date of meeting, time of meeting, agenda contents, and any other category deemed appropriate,” and also recommends posting to social media accounts of the local public body.
This bill amends another section of the law (C.R.S. 32-1-903) to say that all special district meeting notices must be posted 24-hours in advance, regardless of meeting type (regular or special). The previous law stated that special meetings for special districts required 72 hour notice. Library districts are a unique type of special district, and so were not subject to the 72-hour hotice requirement. However, some library districts may follow the 72-hour notice requirement as a precautionary measure, or to align with other special districts in their region. While some libraries may choose to post meeting notices with 48-hour, 72-hour, or even 7-day notice, it is worth noting that the legal requirement is now set to a minimum 24-hour notice for both regular and special meetings.
If your library wishes to post meeting notices on the library’s website rather than in a physical location, here are a few things to consider:
- Check your bylaws and see if they need to be updated to reflect the new posting location and timeline for posting.
- If your library is a municipal, county, or multijurisdictional library, check with your governing body(s) to make sure you are in alignment with their policies and procedures.
- Create a designated place on your library’s website to post library board meeting notices. The Berthoud Community Library District has a place on their website for the Library Board of Trustees, which is also where they post public meeting notice and agenda information. Similarly, the Pikes Peak Library District has a designated page for Board of Trustees information.
- Once you have a designated place to post meeting notices on your library’s website, notify the Department of Local Affairs using this web form.
- When posting library board meeting notices on the library’s website, consider also posting it to the library’s social media accounts to reach a wider audience.
- If your library has a website through CoLibraries.org, contact Kieran Hixon for support.
- If your library needs assistance creating a website, that service is available through the State Library at CoLibraries.org
For more information about this new law, review the full text of HB 19-1087 and read this post from Garfield & Hecht, P.C..
The information included in this post is for informational purposes, and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Please consult your library’s attorney with any questions about how this law applies to your library.
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