Statutory Citation: C.R.S. 24-72-201 et seq.

Definition of Public Record

Public records include all writings that are made, maintained, kept or held by entities that are subject to the Colorado Public (Open) Records Act for use in the exercise of functions required or authorized by law or administrative rule or involving the receipt or expenditure of public funds. 1

Exemptions to Public Records

Exempt: At discretion of custodian: Records of investigations; test questions; details of research projects being conducted by the state; real estate appraisals; and motor vehicle license photographs. Custodian must Exempt: Medical data; personnel files; letters of reference; trade secrets; library records; addresses of public-school children; and sexual harassment complaints under investigation. 2

Who Can Make The Request?

Any person can request records and they are not required to state a purpose nor is the custodian of the records allowed to ask said person to provide a reason. 3

Response Timeframe

Colorado Law stipulates a three-day deadline for a response. 4

Information on Fees

For duplication the charge is for $0.25 per page for standard sized paper, and not exceeding actual cost for other sizes. This also goes for electronic records. They may not charge a search fee unless they have manipulated data into a form that was not already created by the agency. And even then, costs must be kept ‘reasonable.’ In 2019, the maximum hourly fee for retrieval was increased to $33.58. 5

Enforcement Mechanisms

You can appeal in the district court where the offending agency is located. There is no time limit for filing suit in Colorado. 6

Attorney Fees

Yes, you can win attorney’s fees 7

Do You Want to Make a Public Records Request?

The public records process begins with a public records request. Our guide outlines best practices for drafting well-defined requests for public information.

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Questions? Contact the Goldwater Institute.

If you have any questions regarding this guide or your rights to public information, please contact the Goldwater Institute at to determine if the Institute can help you access information necessary to hold your government accountable.

Goldwater Institute