Common Cause Colorado

2014 Legislative Advocacy

Elections

 

The Create Voter Outreach through Enfranchisement Act (HB14-1043)
Oppose
Killed in committee

This bills rolls back several voter friendly improvements made in the 2013 session. Among them, it would force voters who have moved to vote as if they still lived at their old address, it would allow counties to skip counting write-in votes in certain circumstances, and makes it easier to reduce the number days and hours that voter service centers are open.
Sponsor: Rep. Stephens

Optional Approval Voting In Nonpartisan Elections (HB14-1062)
Support
Introduced 1/8/14
The bill allows for an alternative method of voting for nonpartisan local elections. Approval Voting allows voters to choose as many candidates as they wish in a particular race. An advantage to this method is that the top vote getter may more accurately represent the wishes of the majority of the electorate. The traditional plurality method can lead to a winner who receives less than a majority of the votes, while another candidate may have in fact enjoyed broader support. Approval voting also eliminates the need for run-off elections.
Sponsors: Rep. Singer; Sen. Balmer

Non-Partisan Elections Not Coordinated by County Clerks (HB 14-1164)
Support
Signed by the Governor 2/18/14
This bill sets out procedures for municipal and special district elections that are not coordinated with the county clerk, clarifying that those elections can be run as they were previously run prior to the adoption of the Colorado Voter Access and Modernized Election Act last session, and that if the municipalities and special districts want to coordinate their elections with the county, then those elections will be run under the current provisions of the state elections code. A totally sensible piece of legislation sought by the municipal league and special districts throughout the state, as well as many municipal clerks, that has become a partisan re-hashing of the election reform law passed last year.
Sponsors: Rep. Hullinghorst; Sen. Ulibarri


Elect County Commissioners by Districts (SB14-084)
Support
Killed in committee

Currently, counties with populations of less than 70,000 have the entire county electorate vote on commissioners residing in three districts. This bill would allow a county to change how commissioners are elected, by having only voters from a district vote for the commissioner to represent them, instead of the whole county choosing for them.
Sponsors: Sen. Roberts; Rep. Corum; Rep. Labuda

Challenges To Ballots Cast By Mail (SB14-079)
Oppose
Killed in committee

The bill opens up the elections for voter suppression by allowing anyone to challenge the eligibility of a voter with respect to a returned mail ballot Strong protections are already in place to ensure a voter’s eligibility, and opening up this challenging process, without any limitations, means mail ballots would be open to an unlimited number of these challenges.
Sponsors: Sen. Harvey

Reapportionment Commission Appointees from Rural Areas (HB14-1088)
Oppose
Killed in committee
The bill seeks to disproportionately weight the members of the state reapportionment commission in favor of rural areas. It sought to establish that seven members of the eleven member commission would represent, at a maximum, only 7% of the state’s population. This is not consistent with the notion of representative democracy, in other words one person one vote.
Sponsors: Rep. Dore; Sen. Roberts

Reduce Voter Identity Theft (HB14-1128)
Oppose
Killed in committee

In an attempt to solve a problem that does not exist, this bill would limit the ID options a voter has when casting a ballot. By trying to solve a problem that occurs less than a handful of times a year, limiting the options for voter ID would suppress the vote for people who use these IDs to vote.
Sponsors: Rep. Szabo; Sen. Harvey

Suspend Until 2016 House Bill 13-1303 Provisions (SB14-141)
Oppose

Killed in committee
The bill would put a time-out on the Colorado Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act passed last session. Colorado is a national leader when it comes to elections. We brought Colorado’s elections into the 21st century last year, and we want to keep it that way. A “time-out”  new election law would be a step backward. Elections are finally more consistent for voters and eligible voters no longer need to worry about missing deadlines in order to vote.
Sponsors: Sen. Grantham; Sen. Lundberg; Rep. Szabo; Rep. Murray

Transparency in Government


Application of CORA to Associations of Elected Officials (SB14-70)
Monitor
Killed in committee
The bill would have the Colorado Open Records Act apply to associations primarily made up of elected officials and which have at least 10% of the budget come from public monies. This kind of change would result in a significant shift in policy and potentially impact a large number of groups in Colorado. Before changing the law, CCC wants to study the impact of this particular language more.
Sponsors: Sen. Lundberg

Research Retrieval Fees Public Records Under CORA (HB14-1193)
Monitor
Passed House with Amendments 2/24/14.

This bill would put a cap on the amount a records custodian could charge someone for research retrieval fees on a records request at three times the minimum wage. It would also require the prices to be posted online, or otherwise published. It also codifies the case law standard that these fees by nominal in comparison to actual costs. While there is much more we could do to improve the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), this bill is a small step forward.
Sponsors: Rep. Salazar; Sen. Kefalas


Ethics


 

Respondents' Legal Rights IEC Complaints (HB14-1258)
Oppose
HEARING: Mon Mar 10 House State Affairs at 1:30PM in Room LSB-A

The bill holds Independent Ethics Commission Commissioners personally and severely liable for a respondents’ rights being infringed upon during the IEC process. What this means is that the Commissioners themselves, in their personal capacities, would have to pay any damages to a public official if the official prevailed in a complaint alleging that his or her rights were infringed upon. Now, of course we should make sure that those with complaints filed against them have certain protections, but that should be the role of the state, not the families of the people voluntarily serving as Commissioners of the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission.
Sponsor: Rep. Stephens 

 

 

Last updated 3/3/14.