Colorado has a new law encouraging citizens and state agencies to resolve public records disputes outside court.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law Thursday. It offers mediation as an option when a citizen wants to challenge a government agency's denial of his or her request for public records.
Under Colorado's Open Records Act, such challenges must go to court - an expense that deters many from pursuing their requests.
The new law keeps that court option. But it also requires the record-keeper to contact the citizen to determine if the dispute can be resolved outside of court, including through mediation.