Lawmakers seeking answers from the Governor are using a tactic generally reserved for members of the public or the media.

"It's really a sad state of affairs, but I'm forced to submit a Colorado Opens Records Act request to the Governor's Office to try to get this information," said House Minority Leader State Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock.

Neville and 26 other House Republicans, signed a letter and sent it to Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colorado, on Dec. 11.

They were seeking the 2018-19 budget requests the Governor received from each state department, except education and transportation, that included two-percent reductions compared to 2017-18.

In the waning moments of last year's session in May, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 267, which did several things, but allowed for CDOT to start financing almost $2 billion in projects. It also included a caveat, that each state department would submit a two percent budget reduction request to the governor.

"I think the intent, for us, was to try to actually find out what the priorities are," said Neville.

In November, Next asked the state's budget director, Henry Sobanet, about why the governor presented a budget for 2018-19 without the two-percent reductions.

"We conducted that exercise, but the statute also acknowledges that the Governor proposes the budget," said Sobanet.

"We wanted to know what the departments would do if they had to actually have two percent less money," said Neville. "On Jan. 3, I spoke to the Governor's Office, and the answer I essentially got was, 'we did it, but we're not going to show it to you.'"

Thus, began the process of using the Colorado Open Records Act law. Often, 9NEWS uses CORA to get documents from state agencies. Now, the legislative branch is using CORA to get information from the executive branch.

Neville's office, in the northeast corner of the second floor is 140 steps from the Governor's Office in the southwest part of the first floor.

It took us 1:17 to walk there.

State Rep. Patrick Neville and 26 other House Republicans signed a letter and sent it to Gov. John Hickenlooper.  They were seeking the 2018-19 budget requests the Governor received from each state department.
State Rep. Patrick Neville and 26 other House Republicans signed a letter and sent it to Gov. John Hickenlooper. They were seeking the 2018-19 budget requests the Governor received from each state department.

Despite how close it is, Neville and the House Republicans will wait up to three business days for a response to their CORA.

"It's silly and it's sad," said Neville. "We're just trying to get that information of what was the two percent lower budget. If the work's already done, just show us what you've done."

A staffer with the Governor's Office said the budgets with two percent reductions are "work product" and not public record unless they're included in the actual budget.

9News has filed an open records request for each of the agencies and the Governor's Office to provide the same information.

Senate Bill 267 is what caused the special session in October. In an unintended move, it's passage took pot tax money away from places like RTD, the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Lawmakers did not come up with a compromise during the special session.

The Governor's staffer told us, "If there are certain legislators that feel the language of the bill doesn't match their intent, we share that frustration for other reasons as well. If they want to work to correct errors like this in Senate Bill 267, we're open with talking to them."

In other words, fix the pot tax money mistake or take a hike.

We'll update when we get a response to our CORA for the same information.