Last Wednesday, the Grand Junction Sentinel’s editorial board called out one of their own, GOP Sen. Ray Scott, for inexplicably delaying a bill they support to improve the public’s access to public records in Colorado:
Public records laws are important tools for combating misinformation and getting to the truth. But the state has no obligation to provide electronic records in useful formats that easily lend themselves to analysis.
Senate Bill 40 would change that. The bill requires records custodians to provide records in digital forms if kept that way and requested as such. If a government agency keeps records in an Excel spreadsheet, for example, it should deliver them via open records request in the same format — not paper copies or PDFs, which aren’t searchable, sortable or easy to aggregate.
But first SB40 has to get past the same Senate committee that killed a similar version last year. The State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee was supposed to consider the bill on Monday but Republican Sen. Ray Scott of Grand Junction, who chairs the committee, said it wouldn’t be heard as scheduled…
SB 40 deserves a fair hearing before the full Senate. We call on our own Sen. Scott to announce a new committee hearing date and move this bill forward. Open records shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We have a difficult time understanding why anyone would oppose easier access to government data, which belongs to the public. [Pols emphasis]
In response to this very mildly-worded opinion piece, Sen. Scott…well, freaked out:
We have our own fake news in Grand Junction.
The very liberal GJ Sentinel is attempting to apply pressure for me to move a bill. They have no facts, as usual, and tried to call me out on SB 40 know as the CORA bill. They haven’t contacted me to get any information on why the bill has been delayed but choose to run a fake news story demanding I run the bill. You may have a barrel of ink but it just splashed in your face.
So first of all, this was not “fake news.” It’s not even “news” at all, it’s an editorial. The central fact in the piece is something Sen. Scott doesn’t even dispute, which is that the hearing on this bill was delayed without explanation. Scott doesn’t explain why the bill was delayed, either, which you’d think would be the quickest way to get the Sentinel off his back. In short, Scott’s response is nonsensical, and if anything protests his own guilt.
The situation is a bit ironic to us, after public radio reporter Bente Birkeland wrote a fluffy little story this week suggesting (without much evidence) that Republicans in the state legislature are going “un-Trump”–changing tactics in order to build a better working relationship with the news media.
It would appear that Sen. Ray Scott of Grand Junction did not get the memo.