These are all of the Elections and Government bills proposed in the 2019 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.

None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about the bill.  If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.

Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in []. They are color-coded by party.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium, Minor, and Technical. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.

HB19-1006 Wildfire Mitigation Wildland-Urban Interface Areas (Fields) [McLachlan, Carver]

From the Wildfire Matters Review Committee

Short Description:

Creates a grant program to fund proactive projects to reduce the dead and combustible vegetation that fuels wildfires in urban areas within high fire danger zones.

Long Description:

Creates a grant program to fund proactive projects to reduce the dead and combustible vegetation that fuels wildfires in urban areas within high fire danger zones. This will be operated by the forest service and to be eligible, grant recipients must live in the urban/fire hazard areas. The forest service is to determine additional criteria. No grant will exceed $200,000.


Arguments For:

About 25% of the wildland (where fires tend to start) and urban interfaces in Colorado are developed, and it’s expected this percentage will only get higher. This is a recipe for devastation to homes and communities. Getting rid of the potential fuels in these areas give firefighters a leg up in fighting future fires and could be all the difference in a community surviving mostly intact or being burned to the ground. No state policy is going to stop people from living in these areas, so we need to do the best we can to make it as safe as we can.

Arguments Against:

This is too much of a carrot and not enough of a stick. The entire state bears the burden of fighting these fires and if there is a way to make these wildland/urban interfaces less susceptible, then we should have some sort of punishment for communities that refuse to take part in addition to incentives for those that do.

We should not incentivize people to live in these dangerous areas. The more we make it seem safer, the more people will want to live there and the more dangerous life and dwelling threatening situations we will face. Getting rid of some fuels in these communities won’t stop fires, it will just make them slightly less dangerous. Slightly isn’t good enough.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1006

HB19-1007 Contribution Limits for County Offices [Sirota]

Short Description:

Sets limits on contributions to candidates for county offices, currently there are none.

Long Description:

Sets limits on contributions to candidates for county offices (county commissioner, county clerk, sheriff, coroner, treasurer, assessor, surveyor), currently there are none. Anyone other than small donor committee or political party is $1,250 (it is $575 for most statewide offices, $200 for state senate and house), small donor committee is $12,500 ($6,125 for major state offices, $2,425 for state senate and house), and political party is $22,125 for entire election cycle (same as state senate, more than most statewide office but much less than the major ones). Bill also adds reporting requirements for campaign finance for county offices.

Arguments For:

County candidates are the only significant elected officials in the state that do not have limits on their campaign financing. These positions are less-known in the public but are still public offices and thus we need to make sure candidates are not getting bought off to do the bidding of a small group of donors. The limits are suitably generous, given that these candidates are going to have a much harder time collecting small dollar donations. This of course must be balanced against the fact that these campaigns are much less expensive to run than other state offices.

Arguments Against:

County candidates are just not going to be able to compete for a slew of small dollar donations and that is why they are currently exempted from campaign limits. Making them a little higher than other offices isn’t enough.

Campaign finance limits are an impingement on free speech and should not exist at all, much less be expanded. People have the right to express their political speech through donating money to candidates they agree with.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1007

HB19-1012 DPA Department of Personnel Flexible Administration of Controlled Maintenance Payments (Fields) [Beckman, Valdez] TECHNICAL BILL

From the Capital Development Committee

Short Description:

Gives the state architect greater flexibility in administering payment of certain controlled maintenance projects from the proceeds of lease-purchase agreements.

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1018 End Local Government Opt Out of Unclaimed Property Act [Bockenfeld]

Short Description:

Requires local government to comply with state laws regarding abandoned intangible property (uncashed checks, insurance policies, stock certificates, etc.). Requires any local government holding abandoned intangible property to deliver it to the state by the end of the year.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

The state stance on abandoned intangible property is to hold in trust until it can be reunited with whomever it lawfully belongs to. Currently local governments can opt out of this by setting their own laws on abandoned intangible property and keep it themselves. The state is by far best positioned to reunite this property with its lawful owner and we can also guarantee that is the only thing being done with the property in state hands.

Arguments Against: The current system works fine and local governments aren’t trying to abscond with these assets. Being closer to the area may actually be a benefit, despite the state government’s larger resources.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1018

HB19-1020 Capital Development Committee Administrative Matters (Fields, Story) [Roberts, Beckman] TECHNICAL BILL

From the Capital Development Committee

Short Description:

Clarifies some appointment details about the capital development committee.

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1024 Colorado Youth Advisory Council Review Committee [McKean]

Short Description:

Creates a legislative interim committee consisting of the legislative members of the Colorado Youth Advisory Council which can meet up to 3 times each interim and recommend up to 3 bills.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

This gives some teeth to the efforts of the Colorado Youth Advisory Council, which is designed to bring issues affecting Colorado youth to the attention of the state legislature. With this addition, these ideas and issues can be turned into actual laws without impinging on a legislator’s annual bill limit.

Arguments Against:

Stacking a committee on top of a committee is not necessary. If there are ideas and issues that arise from the Advisory Council legislators are free to introduce bills to solve them through the regular process.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1024

HB19-1045 Office of Public Guardianship Operation Conditions [Snyder]

Short Description:

Lets the public guardianship commission start work without waiting to raise a certain amount of funds.

Long Description:

Removes the current requirement that the public guardianship commission wait until it has received at least $1.7 million in funds to appoint a director and that the director wait to establish the office to serve indigent and incapacitated adults in three judicial districts until that same $1.7 million threshold is reached.

Arguments For:

There is no need to wait for all of the funds to get things going with a director and getting the three offices off the ground. By forcing the wait, current law not only means that these offices won’t be running when they might be able to on short funds but also that there is a delay while everyone gets up to speed.

Arguments Against:

You can’t run this program without this money, the wait is necessary because it costs money to hire a director and it costs money to run these offices.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1045

HB19-1046 Freedom to Vote Act [Williams]

Short Description:

Requires a major political party to waive any fees associated with participating in the party’s assembly upon request of a delegate or alternate.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

All registered electors should have access to the party assembly process, regardless of their socioeconomic status. This ensures that anyone who wants to be a delegate or alternate is not prevented from doing so by their economic status.

Arguments Against: The political parties are private enterprises. There is no right to participate in the process of a political party and if a party wants or needs to charge a fee for its assembly, it should have the right to do so.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1046

HB19-1047 Metropolitan District Fire Protection Sales Tax [Buentello]

Short Description:

Allows metropolitan districts to levy sales tax to provide fire protection in its district, with voter approval.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Fire protection is becoming more and more difficult in rural areas of the state where the hit from dropping property tax revenue makes is harder to fund a fire department. Fixing this property tax revenue problem is incredibly complicated and difficult and not likely to occur soon. This bill allows these areas to ask citizens for direct aide in funding firefighting operations which are a critical need for any community.

Arguments Against:

We are trying to simplify our sales tax code right now, not add yet more complications to what is already perhaps the most complicated and cumbersome system in the United States. The need for businesses to collect sales tax based on where their customers live has been postponed but it is still coming. Solve the problem of dropping property revenues by fixing the property tax problem caused by the intersection of Gallagher and TABOR, not by further complicating the state’s sales tax codes.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1047

HB19-1048 Local Election of Library District Trustees [Lewis]

Short Description:

Allows voters within a library district to decide if they want to elect library district trustees rather than have them appointed by the governmental unit that established the district.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Libraries serve an important function in the community and citizens should have the right to decide for themselves if they want to pick who is in charge of their public libraries (public is right in the definition).

Arguments Against:

We don’t need to elect everything around us, this falls below the threshold of what we need to bother citizens with. Leave running libraries to people who understand how to run libraries.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1048

HB19-1056 Election Day Holiday in Place of Columbus Day (Gonzales) [Benavidez]

Short Description:

Repeals Columbus Day as one of the 10 state holidays and replaces it with election day.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Columbus never set foot in what is now the United States and furthermore orchestrated brutal acts of slavery and murder to native populations. Alaska, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Vermont have all already taken this step. The benefits to having election day be a holiday instead are enormous. Participation in our democracy is the most sacred aspect to being an American, yet most of us have to work on the day we are supposed to vote and the day we need citizens to act as election judges or in other electoral capacities. The result is long lines before and after work or missed time and productivity at work.

Arguments Against:

Colorado is a mail ballot state and thus the in-person issues of lines do not apply here.

Columbus Day celebrates more than just Columbus himself, it is a celebration of pilgrims going to a new world to be free of religious or state persecution. No one behaved perfectly, there is no dispute about that. But Columbus sailing to America is part of why most of are here today and deserves to continue to be celebrated.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1056

HB19-1057 Publish County Financial Reports Online Annually [Pelton]

Short Description:

Allows counties to post its financial statements on a county website with a link to the report published in at least one legal newspaper, and makes provisions for posting in public places in the county if no such newspaper exists in the county or adjacent counties. Also changes salary report requirement from twice per year to annually.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

It’s 2019 and time to bring the Internet into play for these reports.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1057

HB19-1060 Repeal Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Facility Life Safety Statutes (Zenzinger) [McKean] TECHNICAL BILL

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Short Description:

Removes requirements from the Department of Public Health and Environment for safety regulations the department is no longer responsible for.

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1062 Grand Junction Regional Center Campus (Scott) [Rich]

Short Description:

Currently the state is required to list the Grand Junction Regional Center campus property for sale (it was closed down last year). This bill allows the state to enter a contract to transfer the property to either a state institution of higher learning or a local government interested in its acquisition.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

This 46-acre campus with aging buildings (some going back to the 1800s) is understandably proving difficult to sell. We should explore another option: see if we can find a college or local government interested in. The property costs money to maintain, even if it is not being actively used, and it may well turn out that the only way to get it off the state’s books is to give it someone else. The Capital Development Committee would have to be review and approve any transfer.

Arguments Against:

It’s a little early to give up on selling the property (it was finally listed last year). While it is inarguably true that the state would be better off having the property off its books and used by some other entity that wanted it, it’s also true that the state would be best off selling it. So let’s give it more time before exploring other options.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1062

HB19-1068 Repeal Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Preparation Operational Planning (Moreno) [Arndt] TECHNICAL BILL

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Short Description:

Removes some obsolete language regarding the state board of health.

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1074 Daylight Saving Time Exemption [Ransom, Buck]

Short Description:

Removes the state from observing daylight savings time, keeping us on standard time the entire year.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Daylight savings is a productivity drain that also negatively impacts parents with small children. Losing an hour of sleep and then having to readjust your body clock to the new time in the Spring is harmful. It can take up to 3 weeks for some to get back to a normal rhythm, according to a study in the journal Sleep Medicine. It’s an anachronistic throwback to wartime America where the idea was to save fuel. It hurts farmers (the only organized lobby against daylight savings), the energy gains from it have been found to minimal (less than 1% and with the margin of error in studies, perhaps 0), and productivity losses have been estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Arizona and Hawaii don’t use it, we shouldn’t either.

Arguments Against:

Research has found that motor vehicle and pedestrian fatalities do drop, due to the increased amount of daylight at “night” and it boosts retail spending by giving more sunlight at the end of the day (which is why the Chamber of Commerce has always supported it). The concept of “productivity loss” is a pretty vague idea, that we can accurately measure how much less work someone does because they are “tired”, and not enough to hang such a big decision on. The decreased traffic accidents, increased commerce, and the simple fact that many people like having an extra hour of sunlight are all much better reasons to keep things how they are.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1074

HB19-1079 End Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying Act [Williams]

Short Description:

Bans the entire executive and judicial branches of the government from expending any public funds to lobby the legislative branch of the government. Allows any of these entities to employ a liaison to the legislative branch but prohibits the liaison from lobbying on behalf of the entity. Elected individuals are allowed to publicly express their opinion.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

As taxpayers we pay our legislators to legislate, our executive branch to execute (and of course the governor to concur on bills), and our judicial branch to judge. But what we have instead is a free-for-all of taxpayer funded individuals in the executive and judicial branches attempting to usurp the legislature’s role in creating our laws by actively attempting to change bills through lobbying. This is our tax dollars being misused by individuals with a huge stake in the outcome: a state agency lobbying for more funds or new programs inside its own agency. There is no way we can trust that their efforts are unbiased and the end result is not just tax dollars wasted in lobbying instead of governing, but tax dollars wasted throughout the government.

Arguments Against:

This is an assault on the fundamental division of power within our government. To forbid the other two branches from in essence trying to influence legislation at all (because taxpayers pay their salaries so if they are working they are using public funds) is an affront to our constitution and to common sense. This bill forbids the governor of Colorado from trying to influence votes on legislation. It forbids a state agency, which has the expertise to understand a situation, from trying to influence a bill that to be frank, legislators might not understand quite as well. Legislators are not such delicate flowers that they cannot hear what the executive and judicial branches have to say. The goal of all legislation is to make is a good as it can be, not to “win” battles against the executive and judicial branches.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1079

SB19-019 County Fireworks Restrictions July 4th (Fields) [Gray] TECHNICAL BILL

From the Wildfire Matters Review Committee

Short Description:

Clarifies current law that a county may ban fireworks between May 31 and July 5 with competent evidence, by expanding that competent evidence includes predictions of future fire danger by the national interagency coordination center. Also that counties must adopt a separate resolution to ban fireworks in this period.

Long Description: n/a

SB19-020 Wildland Fire Airspace Patrol System (Coram, Fields) [McLachlan]

From the Wildfire Matters Review Committee

Short Description:

Requires state center for aerial firefighting to study and if possible implement a system to patrol the airspace above a wildfire.

Long Description: N/A

Arguments For:

Airspace above a wildfire can sometimes contain things that interfere with aerial firefighting, such as unmanned drones. There were five such incidents in 2018. This could give the state a better way (than visual observation) to determine if anything is in the airspace and get it cleared.

Arguments Against: N/A

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-020

SB19-027 County Authority Unclaimed Body Final Disposition (Crowder) [Valdez]

Short Description:

Currently counties are required by law to bury an unclaimed dead body. This bill also authorizes cremation or any other lawful means of final disposition.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Limiting to burial does not make sense in this case. It places a large burden on the county and there is no way of knowing the wishes of the deceased.

Arguments Against:

Some religions find cremation sacrilegious and there is no way to know the religion of the deceased.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-027

SB19-037 Wildfire Mitigation (Woodward)

Short Description:

Allows a county to enter federal or state land either inside the county or within 5 miles of it to remove a supply of wildfire fuel materials or create defensible space. This can only occur if the area poses a substantial threat of causing or aggravating a wildfire in the area. Also allocates $10 million of general fund money to the forest restoration and wildlife mitigation grant program.

Long Description:

Allows a county’s board of county commissioners to use people employed by the county or contract with profit or non-profit 3rd parties to enter federal or state land either inside the county or within 5 miles of it to remove a supply of wildfire fuel materials or create defensible space. This can only occur if the area poses a substantial threat of causing or aggravating a wildfire in the area. Also allocates $10 million of general fund money to the Colorado state university system for the forest restoration and wildlife mitigation grant program.

Arguments For:

With so much federal and state land in high risk territory, it makes sense to allow counties to act to lower risks. By limiting their ability to act to substantial threats, the downside of overzealous activity in federal and state lands should be mitigated.

Arguments Against:

This is a recipe for trouble, with county officials given the green light to interfere in federal and state lands without any system in place to monitor or control it or to coordinate with the appropriate federal and state agencies.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-037

SB19-040 Establish Colorado Fire Commission (Hisey)

From the Wildfire Matters Review Committee

Short Description:

Established the Colorado Fire Commission to enhance public safety in Colorado through an integrated statewide process focused on the fire service's capacity to conduct fire management and use, preparedness, prevention, and response activities to safeguard lives, property, natural resources, and increase the resiliency of local and regional communities.

Long Description:

Established the Colorado Fire Commission to enhance public safety in Colorado through an integrated statewide process focused on the fire service's capacity to conduct fire management and use, preparedness, prevention, and response activities to safeguard lives, property, natural resources, and increase the resiliency of local and regional communities. The commission will consist of 18 voting members, including 4 from state forest and fire management agencies, 6 from various firefighting groups, 2 from county sheriffs groups, 2 from county groups, 1 from municipality groups, 1 from special district groups, 1 from emergency manager groups, and 1 from non-profit groups with wildfire fighting expertise. The commission may create task forces and must submit annual reports to the legislature.

Arguments For:

This comes from a two-year stakeholder process that identified the lack of a centralized commission such as this as a problem in fighting and preventing wildfires. Having one entity that focuses on long-term strategies and issues recommendations is the best way to drive policy.

Arguments Against:

A commission with representation from multiple areas sounds great in theory but in practice could lead to inertia. Expertise from all of these areas is certainly welcome, but perhaps would be better suited toward staying within their own lanes and providing their own, separate recommendations.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-040

SB19-042 National Popular Vote (Foote) [Sirota, Arndt]

Short Description:

Joins the state to the National Popular Vote Compact, which commits all members to give their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner in the Presidential election as soon as there are 270 electoral votes worth of states in the compact.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

This only takes effect if there are enough states to automatically make the popular vote winner the Electoral College winner (270), otherwise it has no effect. The constitution lets each state determine on its own how to distribute its electors, so this is likely legal. This would in effect remove the ridiculous and anti-democratic electoral college. Nowhere else in the democratic world (or in the United States) do you find a system where the person with less votes can win because of where the votes are located. Currently 11 states and Washington DC are part of the pact with 172 electoral votes.

Arguments Against:

If we want to get rid of the Electoral College then the remedy is a constitutional amendment, not a patchwork system in the states where the end result could be the state’s electoral votes going against the will of the voters of that state. Furthermore, the legality is not tested and there some scholars that think it is unconstitutional while others believe it would require the approval of Congress.

The Electoral College may be unique but it fits our federal system by making each state matter more, in particular making the small states more important.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-042

SB19-058 Enactment of CRS 2018 (Lee) [Herod] TECHNICAL BILL

Short Description:

Creates the 2018 revised statutes.

Long Description: n/a

SB19-061 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus Testing and Certification (Tate) [Arndt, Hooton]

Short Description:

Directs the department of public health and environment the authority to inspect self-contained breathing equipment (used by firefighters and others) and if necessary write rules governing the inspection of pressure vessels in order to take advantage of new technology that can test air cylinders at the end of their service life.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

This technology allows us to know if a cylinder needs to be discarded or if it can be placed back into service. The cost of retesting and recertifying a cylinder is about 1/3 the cost of purchasing a new one, which can save local governments an estimated $600 to $900 per cylinder.

Arguments Against:

The federal approval for these testing methods is initial. We should wait until it is final.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-061

SB19-062 Limit Agency Rule-Making Authority to Amend Rules (Sonnenberg)

Short Description:

Requires executive agencies with rule-making authority to obtain additional legislative authority to amend or reinterpret an existing rule unless the rule is expiring as a result of its inclusion in the annual rule review bill or it has been determined to be unconstitutional.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Unelected agency officials should not be making policy by changing rules. The legislature sets this rule-making authority quite specifically in our laws and once the rules are in place, it is the legislature’s job to decide if they need be changed. These rules have an enormous impact on the lives of all Coloradans, they dictate what kind of cars we can buy, what hospitals are required to operate, what schools have to do to stay open, and much more. Decisions this big must be left to the people’s representatives. And if an agency needs to change something, then all they need is the legislature to change the law.

Arguments Against:

This is a recipe for chaos and gridlock. Agencies don’t have the luxury of waiting months for the legislature to be in session, and then have to go through the entire legislative process, which includes trying to make non-experts understand why a change is necessary. There is a reason why nearly all bill passed by the state legislature leave wide discretion to state agencies to promulgate rules: it’s because we recognize that this is the realm of experts and a place where sometimes events move fast. If a rule is changed in a manner that the legislature does not like, it is always free to use its power to change it. Our current system works well and should not be changed.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-062

SB19-068 Expand Disclosure Electioneering Communications (Zenzinger, Tate) [Weissman]

Short Description:

Changes definition of electioneering communication to include communication sent more than 60 days before a general election but after a primary election. Also tightens requirements for naming the person making the communication based on annual spending.

Long Description:

Currently “electioneering communication”, which brings a whole set of rules and regulations with the definition, is defined as occurring within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election, among other things. This bill expands that definition for campaign finance disclosure to any communication that satisfies all the other criteria and occurs anytime between the primary and general election. Also requires any person who spends $1,000 or more per calendar year on electioneering communications or regular biennial school electioneering communications to state in the communication the name of the person making the communication.


Arguments For:

This just makes sense. Elections are on once primaries are over, there is no break period. So it does not make sense for there to be a hole in the campaign finance disclosure requirements in this period. In addition, anonymous mailers should not be a thing in Colorado politics. Anyone spending some money on mailer needs to tell us who they are.

Arguments Against:

This isn’t the presidential election, we do have a real break in-between primaries and general elections and we should not put additional reporting requirements on already overburdened campaigns.

The entire notion of finance reporting requirements is a chilling abridgement of first amendment rights to free speech, which includes political speech. Given our current political climate, it is understandable that some people want to support causes they believe in without their names being plastered on public documents.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-068

SB19-070 Department of Natural Resources Language Update (Tate) [Arndt] TECHNICAL BILL

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Short Description:

Changes the authorization language for the department of natural resources foundation fund to match language used throughout the statutes.

Long Description: n/a

SB19-075 Display Original Colorado Constitution in Capitol (Donovan) [Buentello]

Short Description:

Requires the state archivist to develop and implement a plan to display the original draft of the state constitution at the capitol, including protecting and preserving the document.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Much as the federal constitution is publicly displayed, we should have the original state constitution available for viewing. It is a wonderful example of living history and all of the people who come to the capitol should be able to view it.

Arguments Against:

This will cost too much money, preserving and displaying an old document is not cheap.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-075