2019 Legislative Wrap Up

Colorado’s 2019 legislative session, which concluded on May 3rd, was full of wins for voters, residents, and our democracy. Our members, board, and staff passed legislation to protect voting rights and fair elections, reducing the influence of money in politics, and promoting government ethics.

Below are some of the bills that were the highlights of this session. Legislative Wrap-Up 2019

Redistricting & Gerrymandering

One of the biggest wins for Colorado this session was HB19-1239, the Census Outreach Grant Program. The 2020 Census is coming up quickly and it is important that in Colorado everyone is counted. This bill allocates $6 million in grants to local governments and nonprofits to do census outreach and education in hard-to-count communities. This education and outreach will help ensure an accurate and complete count for Colorado.

Voting & Elections:

This past session Colorado legislators voted to enter into the National Popular Vote Compact (SB19-042). This will award all the state’s electoral college votes to the presidential candidate that wins the national popular vote across the country no matter the outcome in the state of Colorado.

Colorado Common Cause also supported SB19-235, expanding automatic voter registration (AVR). Once implemented, every eligible voter who interacts with either the DMV or Medicaid will be notified by a postcard that they will be registered to vote unless they explicitly decline registration.

In the 2018 legislative session, we supported SB18-150, which created measures to allow for a person on parole to pre-register to vote, so that they are automatically registered to vote after completing their sentence. Continuing this effort, this session we worked on HB19-1266. This bill restores the ability for over 11,000 people that have completed their term of imprisonment and are currently on parole to vote.

Media & Democracy

Last session we supported HB18-1312. This bill would have encouraged the protection of open internet by incentivizing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) providing service in rural Colorado to abide by net neutrality rules. Unfortunately, this bill was killed in the Senate.  This session we came back to work on this issue by supporting SB19-078 which stops internet service providers (ISPs) from engaging in blocking, throttling or paid-prioritization of internet content of the ISP receives certain state funds for the deployment of broadband in Colorado (benefiting rural Colorado).

Money & Influence

HB19-1248, the Lobbyist Transparency Act, requires lobbyists to report their positions on bills within 72 hours. It also clarifies that attorney-client privilege cannot be used to shield an individual who acts as a lobbyist from disclosing their lobbying activities and positions.

Ethics & Accountability

Voters deserve an ethical government that works for everyone. There were several bills that were presented that we were in support of. The highlight was HB19-1119, Peace Officer Internal Investigation Open Records. This bill makes a completed peace officer internal investigation file that involves a member of the public subject to an open records request. This applies to internal investigation files started after April 12, 2019.

HB19-1039, Identity Documents for Transgender Persons, known as “Jude’s Law” allows for a person to change the sex designation on their birth certificate once without a court order. Because a birth certificate is one of the documents that individuals can use to register to vote and this bill will allow for people to register and vote as they are.

During the 2019 legislative session, Colorado Common Cause took positions on 21 bills. We took a support position on 17 bills and opposed four. Of the 17 bills that earned our support, only two failed to become enacted. Legislative Wrap-Up 2019 Colorado Common Cause knows that the strength of our democracy the people who are part of it. We will continue our fight for democracy in during the next session and every day leading up to it.