These are all of the Elections and Government bills proposed in the 2020 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 or highlighted in yellow. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments; yellow highlights mean conference committee amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Mega, 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.

HB20-1004 Assistance Landowner Wildfire Mitigation (Lee (D)) [Cutter (D), Will (R)]

From the Wildfire Matters Review Committee

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Negligible on its own

Goal: Increase education around fire mitigation for homeowners and extend and expand a fire mitigation tax credit.

Description:

Creates a wildfire mitigation resources and best practices grant program. Grantees can use the money for outreach to landowners to inform them of resources and best practices for wildfire mitigation. Eligible entities are local governments, special districts, tribal agencies, faith-based organizations, or other non-profits. State must prioritize applicants in high hazard areas and consider potential impact of any award. Bill also extends the income tax credit for fire mitigation measures until 2024 and expands it to 100%, rather than 50%, of money spent.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: January 2025 for grant program, January 2024 for tax credit

Arguments For:

We need more education around fire mitigation resources for homeowners. People are often willing to do fire mitigation on their homes, but just don’t know what to do. And fire mitigation can sometimes be costly, but it can also be absolutely crucial to slowing wildfires. So it makes sense to give 100%, rather than 50%, in a tax credit for this mitigation work. In addition to the danger, fighting wildfires is costly, so we can easily make up the lost revenue from tax credits, which in any case are still capped at $2,500 a year per person.

Arguments Against:

The $2,500 cap is totally inadequate. Raising the ceiling to 100% won’t help if you are way over $2,500 to begin with. Just removing one or two trees could easily blow the entire credit, much less fire-hardening buildings. If resources are a problem, let’s divert money from the education grant recipients. The bill also does not appropriate any funds to this grant program or permit the program to accept gifts or donations. It is entirely reliant on the budgeting process.


The solution to our fire problem is to stop letting people build into extreme fire danger areas in the first place. There is only so much mitigation you can do. We should not spend more state money encouraging people to live in these areas.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1004

HB20-1010 Colorado Accurate Residence For Redistricting Act [Tipper (D), Coleman (D)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Minimal

Goal: End prison gerrymandering in Colorado.

Description:

For purposes of the census, requires non-partisan legislative staff to move prisoners from the count of the place of their imprisonment to the count of their last home address. If no last home address is known, the prisoners are to be removed from all specific location counts and counted as address unknown. Requires the department of corrections to start collecting last known home address immediately, along with age and race data, in electronic form. This is to be provided to the non-partisan legislative staff in a form that makes it impossible for anyone outside the department of corrections to identify the individual. The state will ask federal facilities to provide this information as well. The corrected population counts are then to be provided to the state’s independent redistricting commission.

Additional Information:

Counties used to be banned from counting prisoners as part of their population. This language is altered by the bill to account for the adjusted totals provided by the bill’s new process for counting prisoners.


Arguments For:

Prison gerrymandering hits unfairly twice. First, the actual home of the prisoner loses them for purposes of redistricting, which dilutes the political power of the area. Second, the area in which the prison is located gains political power, despite the fact that the prisoner does not really “live” there and in most cases will not stay in that prison for the full ten years of the redistricting cycle. In Colorado, the just over 20,000 state prisoners are clustered together in just a few spots, most of them rural. Almost 6% of one current state house district is composed of prisoners. We already recognize this as a problem in Colorado by banning counties from counting prisoners (something this bill makes no longer necessary). This practice is already done in six other states and has survived legal challenge, including at the Supreme Court. It’s time to make our districting process even fairer by putting prisoners in the correct location.

Arguments Against:

We count people for the census where they reside, in this case in prison. To extrapolate backward that they would still be living in the exact same place without prison is its own form of unfairness. And communities located around prisons need to receive adequate funding for the services they provide. It also should not be lost that people on both sides of this issue acknowledge that if this goes through it will benefit more urban areas of the state at the expense of more rural areas of the state: in other words Democrats over Republicans.

Auto-Repeal: None

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1010

HB20-1021 Colorado Youth Advisory Council Membership [McKean (R), Buentello (D)]

PASSED HOUSE COMMITTEE

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: To add Ute tribe representation to the Colorado Youth Advisory Council.

Description:

Removes two at-large members of the 40 voting member Colorado Youth Advisory Council and replaces them with one representing the Southern Ute tribe and one representing the Ute Mountain tribe. All members must still be enrolled in and attending a state junior high, middle, or high school.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

The diversity section for the five at-large members of this council, which is supposed to bring the voice of youth around the state to the legislature, is more about geographic diversity, with an expressed intent for rural area representation. The council is also a great pathway for those interested in government to make critical connections. 1% of the state is Native American and reservation life can be quite different with different challenges. We have not had representation from a Native American on the council so far. We should ensure they have guaranteed representation on the council.

Arguments Against:

Each senate district in the state gets one representative, which includes the Ute tribe lands. We don’t need to carve out special representation solely for Utes, the at-large members with requirements for ensuring diversity on the council is sufficient.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1021

HB20-1029 Allow County Officers To Accept Lower Salary [Pelton (R)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Allow county officers to accept a lower salary than specified in law.

Description:

Allows county officers to accept a salary lower than that specified in law. They can later decide to increase or decrease their salary annually, so long as they do not exceed amount allowed by law.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

Some county officials do not need the full salary the law entitles them to and may want to let their county keep that extra money and put it to good use elsewhere. This bill lets that happen.

Arguments Against:

We pay a certain salary because we want people working for it. If someone is accepting less than the full amount they may, even sub-consciously, contribute less to the work.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1029

HB20-1031 Replace Columbus Day With New State Holiday [Benavidez (D)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Remove Columbus Day as a state holiday

Description:

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

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

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 HB20-1031

HB20-1038 Repeal Colorado Department Of Public Health And Environment Youth Services Statutes (Woodward (R), Moreno (D)) [Arndt (D), Van Winkle (R)]

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Description:

Removes obsolete statutes relating to department of public health and environment.

HB20-1066 Contribution Limits School District Director Candidate (Gonzales (D)) [Sirota (D)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Set limits on contributions to candidates for school district director.

Description:

Sets aggregate limits on contributions to candidates for school district director for anyone other than small donor committees at $2,500 per election ($575 for most statewide offices, $200 for state senate and house), for small donor committees at $25,000 per election ($6,125 for major state offices, $2,425 for state house and senate), and requires adjustment for inflation as with other contribution limits. This matches the limits created last year for county elections last year (combining primary and general election). Subjects contribution limits to existing provisions on disclosure as well as new provisions for special school elections.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

School district directors are extremely powerful positions but currently face no limits on campaign contributions. These positions 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:

School district director 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 HB20-1066

SB20-034 Statutory Revision Committee Annual Report (Moreno (D), Zenzinger (D)) [McKean (R), Arndt (D)]

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Description: Moves the statutory revision committee report due date from November 15 to July 1.

SB20-062 Enactment of CRS 2019 (Gardner (R), Lee (D)) [Herod (D), Soper (R)]

Description: Enacts the 2019 revised Colorado statutes as the law.

SB20-063 Recodify Statutes Concerning Department Of Law (Lee (D)) [Weissman (D), McKean (R)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Update the statutes for the Department of Law to codify current practices and eliminate out-dated language.

Description:

Specifies the department may represent the office of the state auditor on some matters, moves some statutes out of this section to more appropriate places in law, updates references and language through the statutes, and slightly reorganizes the offices of the department. Makes the deputy attorney general a chief deputy. Clarifies that any money received by attorney general belonging to the state must be paid as soon as possible to the department of the treasury.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

This is just a clean-up of this law to better reflect current practices. Any operational changes will be minor at best.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB20-063