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.

Some bills will have text highlighted in pink or highlighted in orange. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

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.

House

Click on the House bill title to jump to its section:

MAJOR

HB19-1056: Election Day Holiday in Place of Columbus Day KILLED BY SPONSORS
HB19-1074: Daylight Saving Time Exemption KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB19-1079: End Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying Act KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB19-1156: Proof of Citizenship to Register to Vote KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB19-1185: Replace Columbus Day with New State Holiday KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
HB19-1318: The Clean Campaign Act of 2019 SIGNED INTO LAW

MEDIUM

HB19-1007: Contribution Limits for County Offices SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1195: Restrict Election Communications County Candidates KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR
HB19-1239: Census Outreach Grant Program SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
HB19-1243: 16-Year-Olds Voting School District Elections KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB19-1278: Modifications to Uniform Election Code SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED

MINOR

HB19-1006: Wildfire Mitigation Wildland-Urban Interface Areas SIGNED INTO LAW VERY SIGNIFICANTLY AMENDED
HB19-1018: End Local Government Opt Out of Unclaimed Property Act KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB19-1024: Colorado Youth Advisory Council Review Committee SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1045: Office of Public Guardianship Operation Conditions SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
HB19-1046: Freedom to Vote Act KILLED ON HOUSE CALENDAR
HB19-1047: Metropolitan District Fire Protection Sales Tax SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1048: Local Election of Library District Trustees KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB19-1057: Publish County Financial Reports Online Annually KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB19-1062: Grand Junction Regional Center Campus SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1087: Local Public Meeting Notices Posted on Website SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
HB19-1108: Nonresident Electors and Special Districts KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
HB19-1127: Lieutenant Governor Concurrent State Service SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1179: Public Fund Investments SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
HB19-1213: Urban Drainage Flood Control District Director Compensation SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1248: Lobbyist Transparency Act SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
HB19-1274: Board County Commissioners Delegation Subdivision Platting SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
HB19-1284: Urban Drainage Flood Control District Board Directors SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1292: Colorado Resiliency Office Reauthorization Funding SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1295: County Treasurers to Serve as Public Trustees SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
HB19-1304: Final Disposition Reimbursement Payment KILLED ON HOUSE CALENDAR

TECHNICAL

HB19-1012: DPA Department of Personnel Flexible Administration of Controlled Maintenance Payments SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1020: Capital Development Committee Administrative Matters SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1060: Repeal Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Facility Life Safety Statutes SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1068: Repeal Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Preparation Operational Planning SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1136: State Auditor Access to Records for Audits SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1172: Title 12 Recodification and Reorganization SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1173: Legislative Council Temporary Appointments Ex Officio Members SIGNED INTO LAW
HB19-1214: Joint Budget Committee Requirement to Recommend Capital Financing Methods SIGNED INTO LAW

Senate

Click on the Senate bill title to jump to its section:

MAJOR

SB19-042 National Popular Vote SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-062: Limit Agency Rule-Making Authority to Amend Rules KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
SB19-235: Automatic Voter Registration SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SCR19-002: Modifications to Operations of General Assembly KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

MEDIUM

SB19-037: Wildfire Mitigation KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
SB19-068: Expand Disclosure Electioneering Communications SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-229: Campaign Contributions Dependent Care Expenses SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-232: Campaign Finance Enforcement SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SB19-244: Management of Legislative Workplace Conduct SIGNED INTO LAW

MINOR

SB19-020: Wildland Fire Airspace Patrol System SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-027: County Authority Unclaimed Body Final Disposition KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS
SB19-040: Establish Colorado Fire Commission SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SB19-061: Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus Testing and Certification SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-075: Display Original Colorado Constitution in Capitol KILLED ON SENATE CALENDAR
SB19-151: Sunset Emergency Planning Subcommittee SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-152: Sunset Public Safety Communications Subcommittee SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-168: Rule Review Bill SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-202: Voting Rights for Voters with Disabilities SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SB19-251: Requirements of OIT Office of Information Technology Based on Evaluation Recommendations SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-252: State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act Committee Hearings SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-253: Exempt CDE Department of Education from Office of Information Technology SIGNED INTO LAW

TECHNICAL

SB19-019: County Fireworks Restrictions July 4th SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-058: Enactment of CRS 2018 SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-070: Department of Natural Resources Language Update SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-241: Revisor's Bill SIGNED INTO LAW

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

From the Wildfire Matters Review Committee

AMENDED: Very Significant

SIGNED INTO LAW

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. Gives $3 1 million to existing forest restoration and and wildfire risk mitigation grant program with expressed legislative intent that the money go to forest management fuel reduction projects.

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 (Zenzinger) [Sirota]

AMENDED: Technical

SIGNED INTO LAW

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

SIGNED INTO LAW

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]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

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

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Clarifies some appointment details about the capital development committee.

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1024 Colorado Youth Advisory Council Review Committee (Todd, Coram) [McKean, Buentello]

SIGNED INTO LAW

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 (Ginal) [Snyder, Soper]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

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, Lontine]

AMENDED: Technical

KILLED ON HOUSE CALENDAR

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 (Danielson, Garcia) [Buentello]

SIGNED INTO LAW

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]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

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]

KILLED BY SPONSORS

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.

There may be unintended consequences to making this a state holiday. First, businesses are not required to follow suit, so the idea that everyone will have a day off to vote may not materialize. But the state will be forced to give a day off to a lot of the public transportation network that many rely on to vote. So the bill may actually backfire in making it easier for people to vote.

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]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

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: 

This would make it nearly impossible for someone who does not use the Internet to track this information.

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

SIGNED INTO LAW

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, Zenzinger) [Rich]

AMENDED: Moderate

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Currently the state is required to list the Grand Junction Regional Center campus property for sale, it has been mandated to close by the state but still has some residents. This bill allows the state to enter a contract to transfer all or a portion of 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. Mesa County has expressed interest. 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

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Removes some obsolete language regarding the state board of health.

Long Description: n/a

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

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

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]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

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

HB19-1087 Local Public Meeting Notices Posted on Website (Woodward, Bridges) [Soper, Hansen]

AMENDED: Significant

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Requires Permits all local governments to post notices of public meetings at least 24 hours in advance on a public section of their website, with agenda information if available to fulfill meeting notice requirements.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Public meetings aren’t really public if the public doesn’t know about them. The 24 hour notice is perfectly reasonable for the local government and the agenda information is encouraged but not required.

Arguments Against:

This will require some website programming for these local governments, some of which operate on a shoe-string budget. While the goal is laudable, it should be a goal, not a requirement.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1087

HB19-1108 Nonresident Electors and Special Districts (Tate) [Liston, Hooton]

AMENDED: Technical

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Expands definition of voter in special district elections to anyone who owns property in the special district but is not a resident of the state. The special district is solely responsible for maintaining the list of non-state residents eligible under this bill, which the bill also sets up a registration process for. It also allows special districts to add non-state residents to their boards as additional members, with restrictions on the number of additional non-state resident board members based on the size of the board.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

People who own property in a special district are certainly interested in the running of the district and ought to have a say in its elections. They may not live or work in the district themselves, but their interests surely do and if they are not involved, special districts risk alienating extremely important members of their district.

Arguments Against:

Non-state residents shouldn’t have a say in Colorado affairs. Absentee property owners should not be given preferential treatment in this manner and certainly should not be allowed to on boards of these special districts. If they want more of a say, become a resident of the state.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1108

HB19-1127 Lieutenant Governor Concurrent State Service (Fenberg, Fields) [Garnett, Lontine]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Allows the lieutenant governor to be appointed to be the director of the office of saving people money on health care, a newly created office by Governor Polis. Bill specifies that the lieutenant governor would earn a salary of whichever is higher, the lieutenant governor’s office or the director of the office.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

This is required to allow the lieutenant governor to serve in this role, it is already state law that the lieutenant governor can serve as the head of a principal department, so this doesn’t materially change the office and allows the governor to utilize the lieutenant governor in this manner, which is his prerogative as the elected chief executive of the state.

Arguments Against:

This is an underhanded way to get the lieutenant governor more money. Her salary is her salary, we shouldn’t be using newly invented offices to increase it.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1127

HB19-1136 State Auditor Access to Records for Audits (Smallwood, Todd) [Kraft-Tharp, Saine] TECHNICAL BILL

From the Legislative Audit Committee

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Gives the state auditor the authority to audit the new energy improvement district and program, the state historical fund used to preserve and restore Central City, Blackhawk, and Cripple Creek, the health benefit exchange, and community centered boards.

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1156 Proof of Citizenship to Register to Vote [Neville]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Requires anyone registering to vote near or on an election day (already a regulated category in state law) to provide proof of citizenship via either a valid US passport or photocopy of the relevant pages in a passport, or combination of identifying documents and citizenship documents.

Long Description:

Requires anyone registering to vote near or on an election day (already a regulated category in state law) to provide proof of citizenship via either a valid US passport or photocopy of the relevant pages in a passport, or combination of identifying documents (driver’s license, or state-issued ID card, school ID card with photo, voter registration card, US military card, Native American tribal document, or Canadian driver’s license) and citizenship documents (social security card, birth certificate, Native American tribal document, US citizen ID card).


Arguments For:

The right to have your vote count just as much as the next American is a sacred right in this country and as such, it deserves to be protected. We all have only one vote, if someone who is not a citizen votes in an election that in effect nullifies the vote of an actual citizen. This is easily preventable by requiring people who register at the last minute to prove that they are a citizen through a combination of documents most of us have readily accessible (and those that don’t can get their hands on). The lack of prosecutions for voter fraud are frequently paraded around as proof that it barely exists. But we have millions of people all over this country voting every year, the resources required to chase down every vote just don’t exist. Instead we just ask a very small responsibility of our citizens: help us keep our elections clean by proving you are eligible if you register at the last moment.

Arguments Against:

This is an unneeded infringement on the most sacred right we have in this country: to vote and choose our representatives. Proof of citizenship always sounds simple in the abstract until it comes to the people who don’t have these documents. Believe it or not it is not unheard of to not have a passport or a driver’s license and not be of school-age. It is not unheard of to have lost your birth certificate and social security card (and it is not easy to replace those). This bill leaves these people out in the cold, unable to fully exercise their voting rights without spending money, which of course amounts to a poll tax. And for what reason? Actual voting fraud, when people vote illegally in an election, remains incredibly rare despite multiple attempts to uncover it around the country. Plain error, by voters and/or vote counters, generally accounts for the voter registration errors found (and frequently the errors have nothing to do with being ineligible to vote) and even then, voter registration is not the same as actual voting. Study after study has found only handfuls of cases of voter fraud (literally less than three digits) over vast periods of time. Even Republican lawmakers, who have been given the greenlight to find all of this fraud, have only prosecuted 6 cases (in Kansas), 2 cases (in Texas), 1 case (Florida), and 1 case (right here in Colorado). Iowa did manage 27. Congress itself, under a Republican mandate to examine the issue, found 26 cases of convicted voter fraud out of 197 million votes cast between 2002 and 2005. So this bill will not protect elections from non-existent fraud but will provide a large burden to some Coloradans in exercising their right to vote.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1156

HB19-1172 Title 12 Recodification and Reorganization (Gardner, Cooke) [Weissman]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description: Finishes the reorganization of title 12 (regulation of professions and occupations).

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1173 Legislative Council Temporary Appointments Ex Officio Members (Fenberg, Holbert) [Garnett, Neville] TECHNICAL BILL

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Allows ex officio members of the legislative council to designate a temporary appointment to replace them at a meeting. Cannot be a meeting of the executive committee.

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1179 Public Fund Investments (Lee) [Gray]

AMENDED: Moderate

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To modernize laws around the investment of public funds by allowing securities issued by the federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac).

Short Description:

  • Adds the federal agriculture mortgage corporation to the list of fully secured federal securities public funds can be invested in.
  • Lowers the credit rating requirements for public funds securities one step from A to A-/A3 in some cases and one step from AA to AA-/Aa3 in others.
  • Clarifies the ratings apply first to security itself and only if security is unrated to the issuer.
  • Includes the secured overnight financing rate as an allowable index.
  • Allows public entities to invest in local government pooled funds.
  • Clarifies that negotiable certificates of deposit are a legal investment and not subject to limitation of the Public Deposit Protection Act

Long Description: N/A

Arguments For:

The slight downgrade in investment quality should still leave us with an acceptable risk tolerance and this bill also allows us to keep up with market changes (such as switching to overnight financing rate as allowable index as the LIBOR index is going away).

Arguments Against:

We don’t need to be upping the risk factor in these portfolios as all of the lights on the board are flashing that we are getting close to some sort of recession.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1179

HB19-1185 Replace Columbus Day with New State Holiday (Gonzales) [Benavidez]

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Goal: To no longer honor Christopher Columbus with a state holiday.

Short Description:

Replaces the Columbus Day state holiday as Colorado Day, which is the first Monday in August.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Our current list of state holidays is as follows: New Year’s Day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. One sticks out like a sore thumb. We do not have state holidays to honor individual heritages except for Columbus Day. There is no Irish state holiday, no German, no Spanish, no French, no Japanese, no Chinese, no Russian, no Jewish, no Mexican, etc. state holiday. You name the culture, and we don’t have one. Except for Italian-Americans and Columbus Day. The day is a holiday because Columbus “discovered” America, when in fact of course it had been “discovered” centuries earlier by the Vikings and people already lived here. Those people were widely slaughtered in the colonization process Columbus began (and the man himself never set foot in what would become the United States), and we should no longer honor that process or the individual with a state holiday. This does not take away recognition of Italian-Americans, no more than the fact that St. Patrick’s Day is not a holiday does not diminish Irish-Americans. Colorado Day, the anniversary of our becoming a state, is a perfect substitute in its place.

Arguments Against:

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. No one in favor of this bill is suggesting that we all leave the United States to Native Americans, so everyone of non-native ancestry has accepted our modern situation In addition, the fact is that we have a national holiday that Italian-Americans take great pride in. Removing it does take away recognition and pride for Italian-Americans, regardless of how other cultures are celebrated in the state.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1185

HB19-1195 Restrict Election Communications County Candidates [Mullica]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR

Goal: To reduce mass communications by county candidates close to elections.

Description:

Bans county candidates from sending mass communications to wide amounts of the public at public expense within 60 days of an election where the candidate appears on the ballot. Any communication that is required by law is excluded from the ban. Also requires any mass communication sent at any time at public expense not include any campaign solicitations, partisan language, disparagement of other public officials, gratuitous personal or biographical information, or unrelated images, and it must contain the words “prepared and distributed at taxpayer expense”.

Additional Information:

Mass communication is defined as the same message sent out to 500 or more people if the total county population is 50,000 residents or more and 150 people if it is less than 50,000. News releases are also exempt, in addition to other communications that are direct responses or to federal, state, or local government officials.


Arguments For:

Unfortunately county officials can abuse their office by sending out communications at taxpayer expense that are really designed to help get the official re-elected (or elected to some other office). Name recognition is critical at this level and we have to ensure that people are not abusing public office or public funds to further their own careers.

Arguments Against:

This is too broad and restrictive as written on the job requirements of these elected officials who frequently do need to send out mass communications with their name on it as part of their duties.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1195

HB19-1213 Urban Drainage Flood Control District Director Compensation (Priola) [Titone]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To put urban drainage flood control district directors on equal compensation footing with other special district directors.

Description:

Changes the maximum limits for urban drainage flood control district directors from $1,200 a year (not to exceed $75 per meeting) to the same amounts as the general maximum for special district directors: $2,400 a year (not to exceed $100 per meeting).

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

There is no reason urban drainage flood control directors should be treated worse than other special district directors. This bill puts them on equal footing.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1213

HB19-1214 Joint Budget Committee Requirement to Recommend Capital Financing Methods (Rankin) [Hansen] TECHNICAL BILL

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To no longer require joint budget committee to develop and make recommendations on new methods of financing state’s ongoing capital construction, renewal, and financing needs.

Description:

Repeals requirement that the joint budget committee develop and make recommendations on new methods of financing state’s ongoing capital construction, renewal, and financing needs.

Additional Information: n/a

HB19-1239 Census Outreach Grant Program (Priola, Winter) [Tipper, Caraveo]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To use state resources to get a more accurate census count in 2020 and beyond.

Description:

Creates a 2020 census outreach grant program to provide grants to local governments, intergovernmental agencies, councils of government, housing authorities, school districts, and non-profit agencies to support accurate counting of state population in 2020 census. Creates a 7 member committee to oversee program. Grants are to be used to conduct 2020 census outreach, promotion, and education to focus on hard-to-count communities in the state and to increase self-response rate, either directly or through additional grants. All grants must be awarded prior to November 1, 2019. $12 million appropriated from general fund to program. Also creates requirement for governor to create strategic action plan before May 1, 2026 (and every ten years after) to plan for the next census.

Additional Information:

Committee is composed of: one member from each majority and minority leader in the state legislature and three members appointed by governor. All officials must take care to reflect geographic and demographic diversity of state. Grant recipients must report back to the state by May 2021 how the money was used.


Arguments For:

This is quite literally about federal money on the table. The census is what determines how much federal money each state gets. In 2016 this was an $883 billion pie that Colorado got over $13 billion of to pay for programs that provide health care, education, transportation, nutrition, child care, housing, energy assistance, and a lot more. It is estimated that in the last census, in 2010, Colorado children under the age of 5 were undercounted by 18,000, of which 8,000 were Latino children. The census also of course determines Congressional representation and electoral votes in Presidential elections. It is absolutely critical that we count every person in Colorado because other states are aiming to do the same thing (and Colorado will have a tougher time than say, Kansas, when it comes to counting hard-to-count populations) and this is very much a zero sum game. And yet the 2020 census is so far underfunded compared to 2010 (the year we already didn’t count enough children). So we need to use state resources to make sure that the estimated 1.5 million people who live in this state that are hard-to-count get counted.

Arguments Against:

The census is a federal program with federal dollars used to support it. We shouldn’t be spending state resources on a federal problem because it will be nearly impossible to use them efficiently. Note that the bill does not give money to help actually count people because we cannot, that is a federal function. So we are instead going to spend money on advertising and trying to get people to fill out their census forms themselves. We are not in danger of losing that additional Congressional seat everyone expects Colorado to gain and the rest of the country will be in the same boat as us when it comes to how effective the federal census is at actually counting the country’s population. Another zero sum game is our state budget: $12 million spent on this is $12 million we cannot spend on education or transportation. Let the federal government worry about federal things while we worry about state things.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1239

HB19-1243 16-Year-Olds Voting School District Elections (Moreno) [Coleman]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Goal: To increase youth participation in elections by allowing preregistered 16 year-old to participate in school-related elections.

Description:

Allows any 16 year-old to preregister to vote to vote in school-related elections: state board of education, school district offices, measure to raise property taxes for schools, measures relating to school district organization, measure related to school financial obligations and debt. Preregistrants can circulate and sign petitions related to these elections as well as donate money related to these elections. These actions will, however, end the confidentiality of the preregistrant as a voter. Preregistrants cannot run for any office. The state must reimburse counties for any costs associated with sending ballots to preregistrants. Applies to elections in 2021 and beyond.

Additional Information:

Bill also updates ability for schools to preregister eligible students (currently can only do registration), the information given to preregistered students regarding their eligibility to vote in school related elections and how to get a ballot, and that individuals in juvenile detention facilities must be given information about their right to preregister and vote in school related elections.


Arguments For:

Multiple cities already allow this practice because we trust 16 year-olds to operate cars on the roadways and we should also trust them with a voice in laws that directly affect their school. Many 16 year-olds work and pay taxes. And most importantly, numerous studies have shown that voting is a learned habit. People who vote once are much more likely to do so in the future. Getting these 16 and 17 year-olds voting on a smaller scale will make it much more likely that they will be full participants in our democracy when they turn 18. Right now the 18-24 year-old turnout rate is abysmal in this country, it didn’t crack 40% in the 2016 presidential election. One of the cities that has allowed this practice found about 17% turnout for 16 and 17 year-olds, double the number of 18 year-olds in the same election. The constitutionality has been studied very closely and this process matches closely to processes in other states with very similar language in their state constitution as ours.

Arguments Against:

Anyone who has ever met a 16 year-old and an 18 year-old knows there is a big difference that cannot be waived away. While individuals always mature at different rates, in general there’s a reason 18 is the age where we truly start treating people like adults, whether it’s admission to the military, expectation to leave home and start work/college, or the ability to vote. And while we can always find 16 and 17 year-olds who would be perfectly capable of rational and effective participation in the electoral process, the same thing could be said of 12 year-olds. We have the cutoff at 18 for good reasons, and already pre-register 16 and 17 year-olds and automatically convert these registrations when the individual turns 18.

This may also be unconstitutional in terms of changing the voting age without changing the state constitution. And it may cause serious problems with both maintaining confidentiality and with maintaining the integrity of elections.

This doesn’t go far enough. All of the arguments about driving and paying taxes and boosting interest in voting apply writ large, not just to school related elections. Quite a few 16 and 17 year-olds may be interested in national and state politics, but not in local issues. Not to mention that “things that affect them” go far, far beyond school. The environment, tax policy, health care, all of it affects these teens too.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1243

HB19-1248 Lobbyist Transparency Act (Foote) [Weissman, Cutter]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To get greater transparency around lobbying of the general assembly.

Description:

Clarifies that a lobbyist’s client is not a lobbying firm but the person who has hired the lobbying firm. Clarifies that heightened disclosure requirements apply when assembly is in regular or special session. Requires that when assembly is in session, lobbyists notify secretary of state by means of the already existing electronic filing system within 48 72 hours after they undertake lobbying connected with new legislation or after they take a new position on a bill. Bans lobbyists who are attorneys from refusing to disclose lobbying due to attorney-client privilege.

Additional Information:

For disclosure of lobbying for a new bill or changing position on an existing bill, the lobbyist must disclose the bill number and whether the lobbyist’s client is supporting, opposing, amending, or monitoring the legislation.


Arguments For:

The people of Colorado deserve transparency about what happens at the general assembly. Lobbyists are a huge presence at the capital and are already required to disclose their activity. Unfortunately current laws aren’t quite up the total challenge. First, it should go without saying that a lobbyist’s client is not their own lobbying firm that employs them. But current law isn’t written strictly enough. Second, attorney-client privilege should not shield anyone from having to disclose they are lobbying the general assembly. And third, lobbyists should not be able to retroactively disclose their lobbying on particular bills after the bill has already gone through the system or been defeated. 48 hours is plenty of time to make disclosure.

Arguments Against:

Lobbyist is not the dirty word that some people like to make it out to be. A lobbyist is simply someone expressing an opinion on behalf on an organization on legislation. Teachers’ organizations have lobbyists. Doctors, unions, lawyers, local governments, police officers, you name the profession and they might sometimes hire someone to help them out at the capital. We should not chill this activity by shaming it out in the open or by overly stringent reporting requirements. The legislators in the assembly are big boys and girls and should be able to make up their minds on legislation without overly worrying about lobbyists.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1248

HB19-1274 Board County Commissioners Delegation Subdivision Platting (Hisey) [Snyder]

AMENDED: Moderate

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To allow county board of commissioners to delegate some land use subdivision decisions to county administrators.

Description:

Allows counties to delegate board of commission authority to one or more county administrative officials to approve or deny final plots, amendments to final plots, correction plots, subdivision agreements, and review and approve data, surveys, analyses, studies, plans, and designs submitted with these plots. Counties may not delegate any approval to deviate from state or county law, any expenditure of public funds, or any appeals process waivers. Public notice must be given prior to any action and all actions are appealable to the board.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

County boards are extremely busy and should be able to delegate these administrative tasks. The bill has sufficient safeguards to make sure the public can still weigh in, that more weighty matters are left to the board, and that administrative actions are appealable. It is voluntary, so any county board that wants to keep making all of these decisions can do so.

Arguments Against:

Land use is one of the primary responsibilities of a county and as such, the county board who are the people’s elected representatives. They should be the ones making all of these decisions.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1274

HB19-1278 Modifications to Uniform Election Code (Fenberg) [Lontine]

AMENDED: Moderate

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To update our election laws with numerous small changes to make it easier for Coloradans to vote.

Description:

  • Allows 17 year-olds who are pre-registered to vote the ability to vote in a primary election if they will be 18 by the time of the general election
  • Public high schools must allow voter registration drives subject to reasonable restrictions to avoid disruption and rules from the secretary of state
  • Allows electors to vote at a party precinct caucus even if they cannot verify their eligibility with an affidavit attesting to their eligibility
  • Small changes to number of days someone has to be state resident to be an elector and number of days candidate for governor has to name lieutenant governor candidate.
  • Lowers number of signature required for candidates petitioning onto ballot in party elections and general elections.
  • Sets more detailed rules around petition signature requirements and the process for challenging them.
  • Decreases number of polling stations required near elections for larger counties but adds requirement for smallest counties and increases number of days these must be open prior to election for everyone.
  • Sets requirements to have a polling station and drop box within an institute of higher education.
  • Requires counties to consider proximity to historically under-represented communities for polling station locations.
  • Sets requirements for number of mail ballot drop boxes in counties based on population (previously were none) Counties may petition to opt-out of this requirement if they can demonstrate good faith effort to comply
  • Allows for petition to keep polling stations open on election day past 8 PM if a judge finds significant disruptions occurred that impaired access to voting.
  • Details more requirements for election day plans from counties.
  • Details requirements for checking with a voter if a ballot is returned without a signature.
  • Numerous smaller, more technical changes
  • Creates a cash fund to reimburse counties that need to purchase more equipment to comply with this law

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

We are a mail ballot state, so it makes sense to shift resources from polling locations to drop boxes, while it also makes sense to make sure that all smallest counties have at least one early voting location open. We had numerous petition issues in the 2018 election, so again, the changes makes sense to both lower the thresholds that were a bit onerous and to more clearly delineate the entire process. The changes to election day voting are mostly simply precautionary, again as a mail ballot state we are unlikely to have polling place issues, but these changes skew toward making it easier to vote, which should always be the goal. Voter fraud (as opposed to voter registration fraud) remains almost completely non-existent in this country. It would be like structuring our entire lives around not getting struck by lightning, except you are more likely to be struck by lightning.

Arguments Against:

Making it easier to vote is fine, but we can’t make it easy to commit fraud and the loosening of restrictions around returning a ballot without a signature and voting in caucus if they cannot approve you veer too far in the wrong direction. The mail drop box requirements may also prove onerous for smaller counties with fewer resources.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1278

HB19-1284 Urban Drainage Flood Control District Board Directors (Holbert, Moreno) [Titone, Beckman]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To make it easier for the urban drainage flood control district to operate.

Description:

Repeals requirement that the urban drainage flood control district have 16 directors and requirement that the board meet on the first business day of February each year.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For: This board has been operating with more than 16 members for a while so the 16 membership is not needed and the board meeting day requirement has been getting in the way of its operation since it changes the day they have to meet in February.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1284

HB19-1292 Colorado Resiliency Office Reauthorization Funding (Ginal) [Singer, Galindo]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To continue the Resiliency Office.

Description:

Reauthorizes the state resiliency office and makes it available to receive general fund money with a sunset review in 2022.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

This office was created by executive order in 2013 in response to our massive floods, then was created in statute in 2018. But it is solely funded by grant money and if nothing is done, will have to close at the end of June. The office is now integral to long-term recovery in every disaster, including coordinating community and economic recovery efforts across multiple agencies and supporting risk and vulnerability reduction efforts across Colorado before and after disasters occur.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1292

HB19-1295 County Treasurers to Serve as Public Trustees (Scott, Story) [Rich, Becker]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To have county treasurers serve as public trustees in all counties except the city and county of Denver and Broomfield, where the local government handles trustee actions.

Description:

Currently the governor selects public trustees for so-called class 2 counties (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa, Pueblo, and Weld) and smaller, except for Broomfield. The bill changes this so that in July 2020 the county treasurer will assume the role in all of these counties, leaving some form of local control and responsibility in all Colorado counties.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Trustees are independent arbiters between banks and property owners, dealing with foreclosures and deeds of trust. Colorado is unique in the nation in having this public trustee system, other states either use private trustees or the courts. But the system is struggling with a lack of funding, as they are funded by the very actions we don’t want to see happen: foreclosures (and releases of deeds of trust). Right now the larger counties, which are the ones struggling the most and do more than 70% of the work, are struggling. Moving this office to the county treasurer, as it is in smaller counties, will ensure that it can survive as a county function.

Arguments Against:

Having an elected official perform these functions in our larger counties flies in the face of the concept of having some statewide oversight of this office that is supposed to be independent. Political pressures may cause rulings that veer toward popular sentiment (or monetary sentiment) rather than what is right.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1295

HB19-1304 Final Disposition Reimbursement Payment (Winter, Crowder) [D. Valdez, Will]

KILLED ON HOUSE CALENDAR

Goal: To increase the limit on the amount counties can spend and be reimbursed to give an indigent person final disposition after death.

Description:

Increases the amount a county can spend to give an indigent person final disposition after death and be reimbursed in full from $2,500 to $3,000. Allow counties to still be reimbursed $3,000 if the total cost is more than $3,000.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Raising the limit helps us keep up with the times. Allowing the counties to still be reimbursed $3,000 if they exceed closes a silly situation where if the county spent more than the limit they got nothing at all. The county isn’t going to want to spend its own money if it doesn’t have to, so the purpose of punishing it for going over the limit is limited.

Arguments Against:

It’s all too easy to spend other people’s money, and forcing the counties to stay under the limit prevented them from overspending. Now they know they’ll get $3,000 regardless, so they’ll have less incentives to keep costs down.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1304

HB19-1318 The Clean Campaign Act of 2019 (Bridges, Foote) [Weissman]

AMENDED: Technical

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To reduce the amount of dark money in Colorado politics by expanding disclosure requirements.

Description:

  • Requires any corporation, labor organization, or PAC that contributes, donates, or transfers $10,000 or more to any person for electioneering purposes to disclose all owners of more than 5% of the company if a for-profit corporation and all donors of more than $5,000 if a non-profit. Individuals can request exemption from this disclosure if they have a reasonable belief of harm, threats, harassment, or reprisals. Subject to review by Secretary of State.
  • Bans any issue committees and PACs from accepting contributions from non-citizens or foreign governments or corporations. Extends existing restrictions on foreign corporations spending money in elections to include non-citizens and foreign governments.
  • If an individual solicits contributions to a PAC within 6 months prior to becoming a candidate, any expenditure by the PAC made during the campaign is considered coordinated and must fall within those rules.
  • Expands disclosure requirements on communications worth over $1,000 from just issue committees to anyone.

Additional Information:

Makes more specific rules for when small-scale issue committees (under $5,000 spent per election cycle) are required to disclose and file reports of contributions and/or expenditures.


Arguments For:

Too often, Coloradans feel that their politicians are beholden to big money special interests, and that the rich and powerful are allowed to side-step the rules. Enormous amounts of money are funneled into PACs and issue committees and no one knows where this money comes from. This is an enormous contributor to the negative nature of campaigns, as these organizations feel unaccountable to the public and are thus unafraid of blowback. Right now in Colorado, a $50 contribution to a candidate is more transparent than a $50,000 contribution to Colorado’s version of a SuperPAC. It’s relatively easy right now to hide your donors, and this bill makes that more difficult while ensuring that true dangers from transparency are avoided. Everyone still has the right to make financial contributions and thus “speech”, but they need to be willing to put their name behind it. The need to keep foreign money and influence out of our elections is obvious. For the restrictions on raising money for a PAC prior to becoming a candidate, this is another obvious loophole we need to close. Candidates have done this, most recently in our last governor’s race, and it is a clear way to avoid campaign finance rules on candidates.

Arguments Against: This is an infringement on our right to free speech, as the Supreme Court has found, through financial contributions to candidates. In our current political climate, just about any public disclosure of money contributed to PACs is likely to result in negative attention from the opposite side of the political spectrum. This bill also has stricter requirements on businesses, who cannot exempt themselves from any disclosure requirements, from non-profits and labor unions that can. Given where money in politics comes from, this would seem to favor Democrats over Republicans. The complete conversion of a PAC if someone later becomes a candidate is also overly harsh. There should be more room for money raised after the candidate has declared to be used in the traditional PAC manner.

The exemption is too easy to get and too hard to check. The Secretary of State can look into any exemption, but the process should be opposite. The person wanting an exemption should prove to the Secretary of State that they need it first.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1318

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

From the Wildfire Matters Review Committee

SIGNED INTO LAW

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

SIGNED INTO LAW

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, Winter) [D. Valdez]

AMENDED: Minor

KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR

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)

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

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, Fields) [Carver, Roberts]

From the Wildfire Matters Review Committee

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

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]

SIGNED INTO LAW

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 some of the small states (the competitive ones) more important.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-042

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

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Creates the 2018 revised statutes.

Long Description: n/a

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

SIGNED INTO LAW

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)

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

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, Cutter]

SIGNED INTO LAW

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

SIGNED

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]

KILLED ON SENATE CALENDAR

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. The non-partisan state legislative council estimates it will cost less than $70,000 to install the document and fewer than $5,000 a year to maintain it.

Arguments Against:

The incident at the Capitol this year involving the defacing and destruction of some statues shows that securing the constitution may not be an easy thing to do.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-075

SB19-151 Sunset Emergency Planning Subcommittee (Bridges) [Exum]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To permanently continue the Emergency Planning Subcommittee.

Description:

Removes the sunset provision entirely from the Emergency Planning Subcommittee, continuing it without review in the future.

Arguments For:

This is a federally mandated subcommittee, so that’s a good place to start and a valid reason to remove the sunset review entirely. In addition, from the department of regulatory agencies sunset review report: “The Planning Committee has completed several outreach activities in calendar years 2016 and 2017 that further the goals outlined in the Planning Committee’s federal mandate. Therefore, the General Assembly should continue the Planning Committee.”

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-151

SB19-152 Sunset Public Safety Communications Subcommittee (Williams) [Duran, Arndt]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To permanently continue the public safety communications subcommittee.

Description:

Removes the sunset provision entirely from the public safety communications subcommittee, continuing it without review in the future.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

From the state division of regulatory agencies sunset review report: “The Communications Subcommittee continues to offer a forum for discussion and input to participant groups and other stakeholders, and regularly provides insight to HSAC and the legislature to create policy recommendations to strengthen the critical public safety communications system in Colorado. For these reasons, the General Assembly should continue the Communications Subcommittee.” This committee was created in 2014 and has proven its worth, most recently in the last legislative session with SB18-158, school access to interoperable communication technology. There is no need to continue sunset review, public safety communications is a constantly moving target that will always require attention.

Arguments Against:

While the subcommittee should continue, we should not remove entirely the sunset provision. Sunset review provides a powerful hedge against bureaucratic creep and ossification and it is always useful to review not just the utility of a particular council or subcommittee but also its mandate, rules, and makeup.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-152

SB19-168 Rule Review Bill (Lee, Gardner) [Weissman, Herod]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To implement the recommendations of the committee on legal services and extend all state rules adopted between November 1, 2017, and November 1, 2018, except those the committee found to either conflict with statute or lack statutory authority.

Description:

Extend all state rules adopted between November 1, 2017, and November 1, 2018, except those the committee found to either conflict with statute or lack statutory authority.

Additional Information:

State rules that were not extended and will expire in May:

  • Department of Education
    • Rule 2.6(o) of 1 CCR 301-35, relating to notifications to parents of alleged criminal conduct by charter school employees
  • Department of Human Services
    • Rule 30.100 of 12 CCR 2518-1, definition of self-neglect concerning adult protective services
  • Department of Labor and Unemployment
    • Rules 2-1 (B), 2-3(D), and 3-2(B) of Colorado uninsured employers board, 7 CCR 1106-1, relating to applications for hearings, notice filing, and denial of access to the fund
    • Rules 1-5, 3-4(A), 3-4(B), 3-4(D), and 6-1(G) for explosives regulation (7 CCR 1109-9), incorporating codes and division notification of denial of permit, surrender of permit to division, higher standard of conflicting federal, state, and local rules.
  • Department of Natural Resources
    • Rule 012F of parks and wildlife commission (2 CCR 406-0), relating to aquatic nuisance species
  • Department of Public Safety
    • Rule 4.9 of safety dealing with fireworks (8 CCR 1507-12), procedure on denial, suspension or revocation
    • Rule 5.5.1.4, 10.5.1, and 10.5.4 dealing with fire suppression (8 CCR 1507-11), conviction of crime that reflects on integrity of applicant and suspension for single substantiated violation of rules, notices of suspension or denial issued as letters of admonition
    • Rule 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9 ,4.2, 5.3, 5.4, 6.2.1, 6.2.3, 6.5, 6.5.3(C), 7.2.1, 8.4, 9.1.1, 9.2.1, 9.2.2, 10.1.3 A and B, 10.2.3 B, and 12.1.3 of certification of health facilities for fire and life safety (8 CCR 1507-31).
  • Department of Revenue
    • Rule 12.2.6, title and registration (1 CCR 204-10), canceling or suspending an operator or towing law enforcement agency’s registration and access to department website

All public employees’ retirement association and board of equalization rules have their review postponed.


Arguments For:

This about legal authority for these rules. A rule must not conflict with other statutes (which always take precedent) and must have some statutory authority for implementation.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-168

SB19-202 Voting Rights for Voters with Disabilities (Danielson, Zenzinger) [Froelich]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To make it easier for voters with visual disabilities to vote in Colorado.

Description:

Requires secretary of state to establish procedures to enable voters with disabilities to independently mark a paper ballot using nonvisual access or low vision access technology whether they are voting in a mail ballot or at a physical location.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

While the state does currently make provision for voting in a polling place on a machine for those with visual disabilities, there is no such ability for someone to vote on paper in our mail ballot system and these machines at polling places sometimes do work properly. The technology exists to allow this to occur, other states like Maryland and New Mexico have adopted similar measure, so we need to step up and make it happen.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-202

SB19-229 Campaign Contributions Dependent Care Expenses (Winter, Foote) [Gonzales-Gutierrez, Mullica]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To allow candidates for office to use campaign contributions to child care or care of other dependents.

Description:

Allows candidates to use campaign contributions to reimburse the candidate for reasonable and necessary expenses for the care of children or other dependents the candidate incurs directly in connection with the candidate’s campaign activities. These must be disclosed in same manner as other expenditures.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

With the way our society is structured, the burden of child care frequently falls upon women, so when women with children try to run for office, it frequently is a barrier for them. They cannot use any funds raised to pay for child care, they are on the hook for it themselves. Given the intense nature of just about any campaign, this tends to mean that women need to come from means or have extensive family supports or they simply cannot afford to run. This bill would fix this. It is important to note that these funds will have to be publicly disclosed, so any candidate foolish enough to lavishly spend campaign funds (which you know, they need for actual campaigning) on frivolous or unnecessarily expensive care will be outed and it will harm their campaign.

Arguments Against:

We quite simply do not allow anything like this in our campaign finance laws. Candidates may be reimbursed, but only for campaign expenditures. The same argument used for child care expenses could be used for personal rent/mortgage, health insurance, utilities, etc. The fact that our current system of elections (and frankly, actually serving in office as well) requires someone to have access to means beyond just the salary of being a public official will not be fixed by selectively allowing some people to offset some of their living expenses while not doing the same for others. The language of the bill is also extremely loose: the terms “reasonable and necessary” and “campaign activities” are not defined.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-229

SB19-232 Campaign Finance Enforcement (Foote) [Weissman]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To provide an enforcement mechanism in law for violating campaign finance laws.

Description:

Allows anyone to make a complaint for campaign finance violations. Must be filed within 180 days. State must take action on complaint after 10 days. If it determines that the violation is curable, the violator has 10 days to file the necessary paperwork to do so. If it is cured successfully, the complaint is dismissed. If the claim is not dismissed or cured and dismissed in this initial review, then the state must investigate further. This must be done in 30 days. If the complaint goes forward it then goes to a hearing officer. Bill also allows secretary of state office to audit any campaign finance document.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

A federal court case in 2018 found that our previous system of 3rd party complaints of campaign finance violations was unconstitutional. The secretary of state was then ordered to write new rules for the 2018 elections. This bill is designed to put these rules into law, with some extra tweaks. The issue with the 3rd party system as is exists now is that we need a 3rd party individual to make a complaint. People can make violations and so long as there are no whistleblowers or people combing through the documents, it can go undetected. Allowing the non-partisan staff of the secretary of state’s office to audit documents gives us the ability to find these problems without relying on a 3rd party.

Arguments Against:

The bill shifts the investigation from the department of personnel to the secretary of state’s office, and although the officer involved is a non-partisan individual who does not report to the partisan secretary of state, it still puts the investigation into an elected officer’s purview which could lead to trouble. Along these same lines giving the office the ability to audit any document gives large power to the potentially partisan office to go fishing for partisan gain. Too much power given to an office headed by a partisan official without any oversight.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-232

SB19-235 Automatic Voter Registration (Fenberg, Danielson) [Esgar, Mullica]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To increase automatic registration of voters through the DMV and beyond into other state agencies.

Description:

  • Puts the current automatic voter registration through the DMV from situation the Secretary of State office runs into law. Citizen may decline registration by responding to registration notice (or accept and select party affiliation).
  • Requires state Medicaid office to also automatically send voter information so as to register Medicaid applicants through the same process.
  • Requires state to determine which offices that are already designated as voter registration agencies (can register people to vote) can provide the information required to automatically register someone who interacts with the office. These agencies include all offices that provide public assistance.
  • Creates a procedure for voters who are registered through these processes but do not have a signature on file to provide a signature for verification.

Additional Information:

This is the process for all electronic transfers of information: County clerks and recorders receive the electronic information from the secretary of state and determine if the record is complete for registration purposes. If it is not, then the clerk sends a request for whatever information is missing to the citizen’s address. The citizen has 24 months to provide the information before it is canceled (they cannot vote in the interim). If the information is complete, then the clerk sends a registration notice to the address with a postage-paid pre-addressed form by which the citizen may decline the registration or affiliate with a political party. Form must include statement that if the individual knows they are not eligible to vote, they must decline. If the mail is returned as undeliverable after 20 days the registration is cancelled. If the notice is not returned within 20 days the registration is completed (as of day of receipt at clerk’s office) and marked unaffiliated. If the form is returned later with party affiliation, the registration is changed as of the date the notice is received by the clerk. If the form is returned unmarked, then it is deemed to have no effect. Each voter registration agency must provide monthly information to the secretary of state: people who applied for assistance through the office, number of registration forms collected, and number of people who received a form. For missing signatures, the clerk must, within 3 days of realizing they have a ballot from an elector with no signature on file but no later than 2 days after election day, send a letter explaining need for signature verification and a form to provide verification. Voter has until 8 days after election day to supply completed form or the ballot will not be counted.


Arguments For:

Our government works best when our citizens engage in the democratic process. This holds our politicians accountable and prevents the concentration of power in the hands of the elites. The first step toward greater engagement is registering to vote. This improves our current law by decreasing what eligible citizens have to do in the state to register to vote or to update their registration. In 2019 we have the ability to securely register or change the registration for an individual that interacts with the government. Combined with our mail ballot, this is a powerful tool for increasing voter participation since most people will be able to register and receive a ballot without proactively needing to do anything themselves. This will also keep our election rolls more up-to-date, again without the intervention of the voter.

Arguments Against:

The more systems we have interacting with each other the higher the potential for errors becomes. California had over 100,000 errors in the few months after it implemented its version of automatic voter registration. These errors make the entire process more cumbersome for our government and for voters. It is not difficult to register to vote in Colorado. If someone cannot be bothered to do so, then do we really want them voting in the critical races and on the critical issues that will affect all of us that do care?

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-235

SB19-241 Revisor's Bill (Lee, Gardner) [Weissman] TECHNICAL BILL

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To clean up state statues for clarity and to remove obsolete provisions.

Description:

Cleans up numerous state statutes for better clarity and to remove obsolete provisions without changing meaning or intent of any laws.

Additional Information: n/a

SB19-244 Management of Legislative Workplace Conduct (Winter, Gardner) [Lontine]

AMENDED: Technical

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To increase the ability for people to issue confidential complaints of misconduct at the general assembly.

Description:

Creates the office of legislative workplace relations. This office will provide training to all general assembly employees as well as investigate complaints of harassment and other workplace misconduct at the general assembly. All records created and kept by this office relating to harassment are not public records and not subject to open records laws. The office must issue an annual report of the number of complaints and their resolution (with no identifying information). If the office determines that a member of the general assembly more than likely violated harassment policy the summary of the report of the incident(s) must be made public while protecting the identity of the accusers, unless there is a 2/3 vote of the workplace harassment committee to keep it secret.

Additional Information:

The office is to be provided workspace that is discreet so as to allow confidentiality and convenient access.


Arguments For:

As we discovered last year, the general assembly is not immune to workplace harassment and was also not equipped to handle the issue. Some strides were already made, this bill creates an office specifically designed to investigate claims and designed to keep things confidential. The 2/3 barrier is a strong one, and should provide the ability for the assembly to still consider extremely minor one-off incidents as something that should not ruin someone’s career.

Arguments Against:

This office is not given much power. It is directed to investigate but there is nothing in the bill that directs individuals to comply with the investigation. Furthermore, no standards are laid out for the investigation: for discreet interviews, for requesting evidence, or for standards of evidence to use in reaching conclusions. The assembly is given a standard of evidence, more likely than not, but it is also given the power to sweep things under the rug. 2/3 is close to the current Democratic House majority (63%) and it is not impossible to imagine a scenario for misconduct gets hidden from the public.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-244

SB19-251 Requirements of OIT Office of Information Technology Based on Evaluation Recommendations (Rankin, Todd) [Hansen, Titone]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

From the Joint Budget Committee

Goal: To implement some of the recommendations of a 3rd party consulting firm that evaluated our IT resources.

Description:

Requires the office of information technology to include a change management plan in the project plan for every major IT project. Must also develop and implement a communications and stakeholder management plan for interacting with any government body being billed for services provided by the office. Must convene a working group to develop a strategic plan for how state agencies use technology to provide services, data, and information to citizens and businesses. Must convene a different working group to determine cost and feasibility of transferring ownership of IT infrastructure from state agencies to the office.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

If you go to the trouble and expense of getting a 3rd party consulting firm to evaluate your systems, you should listen to their recommendations. In this case, change management is always a critically under looked area of IT projects and the firm identified ownership of IT infrastructure as fitting better within the office of IT rather than in various state agencies.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-251

SB19-252 State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act Committee Hearings (Moreno) [Esgar, Hansen]

SIGNED INTO LAW

From the Joint Budget Committee

Goal: To move the SMART hearings to the first 2 weeks of the legislative session rather than just before the session.

Description:

Moves the SMART hearings to the first 2 weeks of the legislative session and therefore also repeals requirement that committees be set no later than December 1st.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Those first two weeks of session are pretty low-key, as bills just start to get going. It will not be overly burdensome at all to have these hearings during this time rather than rushing the committee appointments (particularly after an election) so we can have them in December.

Arguments Against:

Perhaps the end of the session would be less grueling and crazy if more effort was put into getting bills through the process in the first two weeks. Moving the SMART hearings here may make the problem worse.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-252

SB19-253 Exempt CDE Department of Education from Office of Information Technology (Rankin) [Esgar, Ransom]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To remove the department of education from the list of state agencies served by governor’s office of information technology.

Description:

Removes the department of education from the list of state agencies served by governor’s office of information technology but clarifies that the department of education may enter into contracts with the office of information technology for disaster recovery purposes.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

The department of education has its own in-house technology group and doesn’t need the state office of information technology, except perhaps for disaster recovery services. So this bill removes the statutory requirement that the office of information technology serve the department of education, but does leave it open for the two to contract together if necessary.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-253

SCR19-002 Modifications to Operations of General Assembly (Lundeen) [Geitner]

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Goal: To reduce the activities of the general assembly by constitutional amendment.

Description:

Refers to the ballot a constitutional amendment that does the following:

  • Reduces days general assembly meets from 120 to 90 in even numbered years and 60 in odd years
  • Places a limit on number of bills a legislator can introduce at 2 in the constitution (currently this is determined by rule and is 5)
  • Puts the state on a two-year budget cycle, with budgeting done in even years
  • Removes the power of the joint budget committee to determine the entire budget and instead delegates each section of the budget to appropriate committees

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Many citizens feel that our government does too much and is too intrusive in our lives. Each year the assembly passed about 60% of bills introduced in session, meaning that 40% fail. Clearly legislators have too many bills they can propose if they feel comfortable with so many that are clearly doomed (and waste taxpayer money in their preparation) and we need to take that decision away from the legislature, which is always going to want to be able to do more, and put limits into the constitution itself. The joint budget committee is also too powerful, it presents the legislature with a fait accomplit that by design is too difficult to unwind for anyone who isn’t on the committee and is not happy with the larger budgetary picture. We need to get government off our backs so the citizens of this state can thrive. All this bill does is put the choice to our citizens: less government, better control of spending, and fewer “messaging bills” or the status quo.

Arguments Against:

It is also a waste to put constitutional measures on the ballot that are messaging bills with little chance of passage. But more importantly, this bill violates several important tenets that our legislature functions on. First, responsiveness. If we have a problem, the legislature has 120 days each year to try to fix it. Chopping that in ½ every other year (and drastically reducing it even in the “long” years) is a recipe for a legislature that cannot address our problems. Second, flexibility. You don’t enshrine process into the constitution because it becomes difficult to change if it doesn’t work well. That’s why we don’t have constitutional provisions about committees or number of bills a legislator can introduce. Third, efficient methods of budgeting. The fact is that the joint budget committee works nearly year-round in order to produce a budget. Its members have to focus nearly exclusively on budgetary work, leaving other legislators to do other things. If every legislator becomes a budgeter, then just about nothing except the budget is going to get done, and the budget itself will be nearly impossible to create, with so many cooks in the kitchen. And that, perhaps, is the point of this. Make it so our state government doesn’t function.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SCR19-002