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INCLUSIONS AND EXCLUSIONS:
Submitting a Data Exclusion Challenge

Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) 24-72.4-103(1) describes the data that must be included, the data that must be excluded, and the data that may be excluded from the Transparency Online Project System (TOPS). Within the “Inclusions and Exclusions” menu item on the TOPS homepage we have provided a listing of data excluded from TOPS and the State agency’s justification for the exclusion. CRS 24-72.4-103(2) provides a way for citizens to challenge the exclusion of data from TOPS. The following text is a summary of that statute section; you may want to review the statute for additional details.

Written Notice To a State Agency
To make such a challenge, you need to send a written notice to the State agency that excluded the data from TOPS.  Your written notice must include a reference to CRS 24-72.4-103(2) and your basis for challenging the exclusion.

The State agency must respond to you within 30 days and indicate whether they agree to remove the exclusion (that is, present the data) or they disagree and will not remove the exclusion. If the State agency agrees to remove the exclusion, they must present the data on TOPS within 2 weeks of the agency’s response to you. 

Application to Denver District Court
If the State agency fails to respond within 30 days or rejects your challenge, you may apply to the Denver District Court for an order directing the State agency to show the court why the data should not be presented in TOPS. If you challenge the exclusion in court, you are required to prove through evidence that excluding the data is improper. If the court determines the State agency has improperly excluded data from TOPS, it will order the State Controller to make the information available on the system.

After being notified of a challenge, a State agency may also apply to the Denver District Court for a ruling on whether a specific exclusion is appropriate.  If the State agency does so, you are not allowed to apply to the court regarding the same exclusion, but you will be notified of the State agency’s actions, and you may appear in court and testify. When the State agency applies to the court, the State must prove through evidence that excluding the data is proper.

If you apply to the court and the court finds the State agency improperly excluded data from TOPS, the court will award you attorney fees and costs if you appeared in court. If the State agency applies to the court first, then you will only be awarded attorney fees and costs if the court determines the State agency did not actually need a court ruling on whether it was proper to exclude the data from TOPS and did not act in good faith.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

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