At least one media outlet in Colorado, where a bipartisan legislature has voted to keep the public in the dark about restaurant inspections, is not playing along. House Bill 16-1401, which would ban local governments from reporting the results of restaurant inspections with letters, numbers or symbol grading systems, has been on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk since May 5. restaurantinspector_406x250While nervous sponsors of the bill that pleases the Colorado Restaurant Association wait on Hickenlooper, the Colorado Springs Gazette filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all 2,400 restaurants in El Paso County and last weekend made the entire “best and worst” database available to the public. The database contains reports on all restaurant inspections conducted by the El Paso County Health Department during the two-year period ending in April 2016. Only 754 of the 2,400 food and beverage establishments performed well enough to meet Excellent in Food Safety criteria for restaurants, according to the newspaper’s findings. While HB 16-1401 seeks to shut down the information flow on restaurant inspections by prohibiting the use of any “oversimplified method of quantifying results,” the Gazette used the total number of critical violations. Those are the violations that put human heath at risk. Colorado Democrats first approved HB 16-1401 through the House they control by 42-11, with 12 excused from the vote. Then the Republicans put it through the GOP-controlled Senate on a 23-11 vote, with one excused, on April 28. The language to limit public disclosures of restaurant inspections is inspired by  the Colorado Restaurant Association’s policy on the issue. In exchange, the restaurant industry is going along with some modest fee increases. HB 16-1401 went to the governor during the last 10 days of the legislative session. That means Hickenlooper has until June 11 to leave his mark, one way or the other, or it becomes law without his signature. Why HB 16-1401 has not yet been acted upon is not known, officially. Since the legislature ended, Hickenlooper has been named by political oddsmakers as a possible vice-presidential candidate for Democrat Hillary Clinton, published “The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics,” and been on a book tour. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)