2016 Legislative Wrap-Up

Posted on May 12, 2016


May 11th marks the last day of the 2016 legislative session in Colorado. Over the last 180 days, nearly 700 bills were introduced and debated. We worked on dozens of bills to protect voting rights, reduce the influence of money in politics, and strengthen transparency and government accountability.  

With your support, we were able to defeat all of the bills we opposed, and nearly half of the bills we supported were signed by the governor or are on their way there. For those bills that didn’t make it, we’ll be back next session.  

Below is a wrap-up of the priority legislation we worked on this session. We would like to thank everyone who helped us pass or defeat these bills, either by contacting your state legislator, signing a petition, or talking to your family, friends, and neighbors about our work. We couldn’t do it without you!   


Protecting the Right to Vote

HB16-1111: Photo ID for Same Day Voter Registration
Position:  Oppose
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Rep. Coram
Summary: HB 1111 would have required all voters registering to vote in person to show a state-issued photo ID during the month leading up to Election Day. Photo ID laws have been shown to disenfranchise voters, particularly youth, people of color, and senior citizens.  

SB16-074: Mail Ballots Opt-out & Provide 24-hour Drop Boxes
Position: Oppose
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Sen. Crowder / Rep. Dore
Summary: SB 074 would have established a mail ballot opt-out list, creating confusion for voters and adding administrative burden.  This bill was unnecessary, as Colorado gives voters the option to vote in person if they prefer to not vote by mail.

SB16-112: Voter Service and Polling Centers for Early Voting
Position: Oppose
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Sen. Tate / Rep. Wist
Summary: SB 112 would have reduced the number of Voter Service and Polling Centers (VSPCs) required to be open during the first 7 days of the early voting period. This would have eliminated options for Coloradans who wished to register to vote, update their voter information, and/or vote in person.  

SB16-083: Government Issued ID for Voting
Position: Oppose
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Sen. Baumgardner / Rep. Joshi
Summary: SB 083 would have required individuals voting in person to present a photo ID, removing several documents from the list of approved ID.  Photo ID laws have been shown to disenfranchise voters, particularly youth, people of color, and senior citizens.  

HB16-1369: Eliminate Criminal Penalty Self-Disclosure Ballot
Position: Oppose
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Rep. Rosenthal
Summary: HB 1369 would have removed the prohibition on showing one’s voted ballot (e.g. posting photos of the voted ballot on social media). This prohibition is a long-standing protection against vote buying and intimidation.

HB16-1093: List Maintenance
Position: Support
Status: Signed into Law
Sponsors: Reps. Ransom & Ryden / Sen. Tate
Summary: HB 1093 expands the use of National Change of Address (NCOA) data to update voter registration records of voters who move throughout the state. This makes it easier to maintain accurate voter rolls, and ensures that voters will receive a ballot in the mail at their new residence.

SB16-107: Regulation of Voter Registration Drive Circulators
Position: Support
Status: Signed into Law
Sponsors: Sen. Cooke / Rep. Pabon
Summary: SB 107 clarifies that Voter Registration Drives (VRDs) may register new voters throughout the year, including the period immediately before an election. It also requires circulators working on VRDs to fulfill mandatory training requirements.  

HB16-1070: Signature Verification in Municipal Mail Ballot Elections
Position: Support
Status: Signed into Law
Sponsors: Rep. Neville / Sen. Neville
Summary: HB 1070 requires municipalities that run elections to perform signature verification on mail ballot envelopes, with the same standards and protections for voters that exist for state signature verification.  

HB16-1300: Mail Ballot Return Options Requirements & Procedures
Position: Support
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Rep. Ryden/ Sens. Donovan & Ulibarri
Summary: HB 1300 would have expanded options for voters to return their mail ballots, by increasing the use of drop boxes and giving counties the option to provide pre-paid postage mail ballots.

HB16-1126: Election Watchers
Position: Support
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Rep. Windholz
Summary: HB 1126 would have implemented recommendations from a watcher advisory group regarding the appointment and role of election watchers. The bill would have ensured that watchers could observe the process while balancing the public’s right to vote.

SB16-142: Miscellaneous Updates to Election Laws
Position: Support
Status: Sent to Governor
Sponsors: Sen. Scott / Rep. Ryden
Summary: SB 142 provides a technical update to Colorado’s election laws. It corrected statutory citations, updated terms and procedures to reflect modern elections administration, eliminated redundancies and obsolete references/practices, and harmonized residency requirements for certain local government elections.

SJR16-040: Application for an Amendment Proposing Convention 
Position: Oppose
Status: Did not advance
Sponsors: Sen. Lundberg / Rep. Singer
Summary: SJR 040 would make an application to Congress calling for a convention to the US Constitution under Article 5, with the purpose being to add term limits for US Senators and Representatives. Common Cause opposes the use of an Article V convention, as there is no certainty that it could be limited to a single issue and would invite constitutional chaos.

HB16-1454: Primary Participation Act 
Position: Support
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Reps. Dore & Moreno / Sen.   Guzman
Summary: HB 1454 would have restored the presidential primary in Colorado while preserving the caucus system for local/state races. Would have allowed unaffiliated voters to “temporarily affiliate” in order to vote in the primary.

SB16-216: Restore Presidential Primary Election 
Position: Support
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Sen. Lundberg
Summary: SB 216 would have restored the presidential primary in Colorado while preserving the caucus system for local/state races. Unaffiliated voters would be allowed to participate only if they affiliate with a political party on or before the primary.

Fighting Big Money in Politics

HB16-1282: Align Regular Biennial School Elections & FCPA
Position: Support
Status: Sent to the Governor
Sponsors: Reps. K Becker & Pettersen/ Sens. Tate & Todd
Summary: HB 1282 requires school board elections to follow the same disclosure requirements as are in place for other elections under the "Fair Campaign Practices Act" (FCPA).  

HB16-1434: Political Party Communications
Position: Support
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Reps. K Becker & Kagan / Sen. Carroll
Summary: HB 1434 would have expanded transparency by requiring disclosure of political communications that refer to political parties and/or candidates of political parties.

SB16-106: Administration of Laws Governing Campaign Finance
Position: Support
Status: Sent to Governor
Sponsors: Sen. Holbert / Rep. Salazar
Summary: SB 106 would require all administrative law judges who handle campaign finance complaints to receive training.

HB16-1140: Contribution Limits for School Board Candidates
Position: Support
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Reps. Court & Pabon
Summary: HB 1140 would have set contribution limits for school board elections at $500 for individuals/political committees and $5,000 for small donor committees.

Supporting Equitable and Accountable Telecommunications

HB16-1376: Expand Authority Office of Consumer Counsel
Position: Support
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Reps. Esgar & Winter / Sen. Carroll
Summary: HB 1376 would have given the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) authority to speak for customers of providers of telecommunications, water, taxi and bus service, and all other services defined as public utilities under the "Public Utilities Law."

SB16-183: Clarify Portion of 911 Call Subject to PUC Regulation
Position: Support
Status: Sent to Governor
Sponsors: Sens. Scheffel & Kerr / Reps. Williams & Lawrence
Summary: In its original form, SB 183 attempted to deregulate 911 emergency service. Thanks in part to our opposition to this bill, it was updated to instead create a legislative task force to study the deployment of 911 services in Colorado.

SB16-136: Broadband Deployment
Position: Oppose
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Sen. Donovan
Summary: SB 136 would have made it more difficult for communities to build broadband networks for their residents. 

Strengthening Ethics & Transparency 

SB16-037: Public Access to Digitally Stored Data Under CORA
Position: Support
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Sen. Kefalas / Rep. Pabon
Summary: SB 037 would have required records custodians to provide public documents in formats (such as Microsoft Excel) that can be easily used to analyze data. Although the bill failed, it sparked a conversation about how to modernize the Colorado Open Records Act.

SB16-038: Transparency of Community-Centered Boards
Position: Support
Status: Sent to Governor
Sponsors: Sen. Aguilar / Rep. Young
Summary: SB 038 would allow performance audits by the State Auditor of community-centered boards that receive more than 75% of their funding from government.  

HB16-1216: Facilitate Administration of IEC
Position: Support
Status: Postponed Indefinitely
Sponsors: Sen. Steadman / Rep. McCann
Summary: HB 1216 would have allowed the Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) to retain independent legal counsel instead of relying upon the Colorado Attorney General, which is a structural conflict of interest.

Office: Colorado Common Cause

Issues: Ethics, Government Accountability, Media and Democracy, Money In Politics, Voting and Elections

Leave a Comment

  Get news & updates

 

 

*

 

 

If you respond and have not already registered, you will receive periodic updates and communications from Common Cause.

 

What's this?

   Please leave this field empty

Take Action

The Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Tell Congress to fix the court’s bad decision!

Take action.

Donate

Give Today