SUPPORT HB 1328

 

Require Candidates to Disclose Income Tax Returns

Sponsors: Reps. Hooton & Hansen; Sens. Kerr & Jones

 

This bill, which passed in the state House on April 21, requires candidates for president and vice president of the United States to file with the Colorado Secretary of State the candidates’ federal income tax return forms for the last 5 completed tax years. Neither the name of any candidate who fails to comply with the filing requirement nor the name of that candidate’s running mate shall be printed on the official ballot.

 

Four decades of presidential candidates from both major parties have voluntarily released their federal tax returns. The exception has been with the 2016 presidential election and Donald Trump’s decision to break with that tradition. A specter of doubt is raising deep concerns about potential conflicts of interest and how possible tax reform measures might beneficially affect Mr. Trump personally. As a result, legislators from 27 states, including Colorado, have introduced this legislation to require the provision of federal tax returns. There have also been bills proposed at the federal level.

 

Candidates for the highest office should disclose their personal finances to reassure voters that…

  • The taxes they pay on their income and assets will not drive federal tax policy.
  • Their domestic business interests will not unduly favor certain industries.
  • Their foreign business interests will not take precedent over national security decisions.
  • Their charitable contributions reflect their capacity to make them and their values.

 

Cabinet and sub-cabinet level nominees do not get a hearing by the Senate until their tax returns are disclosed and conflicts corrected. Why should they be held to a higher standard than the President? Also, a recent poll by the Global Strategy Group shows that 80% of Americans, including 64% of Republicans, support presidential candidates’ federal tax returns being made public.

 

HB 1328 was introduced in the Senate on April 21 and has been assigned to the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. It must pass this committee to have a full debate on the Senate floor. Given the Republican control of the Senate, HB 1328 must be bipartisan to become law.

 

The League believes in full disclosure with regard to money in politics as well as efforts to provide voters with sufficient information about candidates. Transparency and disclosure are nonpartisan issues.

 

Please contact the Senators below who serve on the State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee and voice why this issue is important to you.

Urge them to vote YES on HB 1328. 

 

Chair Sen. Vicki Marble: vicki.marble.senate@state.co.us    ph: 303-866-4876

Sen Owen Hill: owen.hill.senate@state.co.us  ph; 303-866-2737

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg; senatorsonnenberg@gmail.com  ph: 303-866-6360

 

NOTE: INDIVIDUAL LEAGUE MEMBERS CAN’T SPEAK FOR THE WHOLE LEAGUE, BUT YOU CAN REFER LEGISLATORS TO THE LWVCO POSITION ON A BILL FOUND IN THE LEGISLATIVE LETTER.


 

OPPOSE SB 61

Additional Funding Charter School Operating Costs

Sponsors: Sens. Hill and Williams A.; Rep. Sias

SB 61 would mandate that charter schools get an equal per-pupil share when voters approve a mill levy override in their school district. Supporters say that would be more equitable, but traditional schools are not currently on an equal footing with charters. Charter schools are automatically allowed 17 waivers from state rules that allow for cost cutting measures, with the option for more.

Some Colorado school districts already share their override funding with charters, typically larger districts that have more flexibility within their budgets. School boards in smaller districts may have made other decisions about use of their locally raised revenue.

District school boards are held accountable to the public that funds them. Charter school boards are not elected, and there is little transparency of funds they raise through gifts, grants and donations, which they are not required to share with other schools.

SB 61 has passed the Senate and will be heard in the House Education Committee on March 27 at 1:30.

 Contact members of the House Education Committee and your own state Representative.
Ask them to VOTE NO on SB 61.

Find your state Representative’s name and contact info here.

NOTE: INDIVIDUAL LEAGUE MEMBERS CAN’T SPEAK FOR THE WHOLE LEAGUE, BUT YOU CAN REFER LEGISLATORS TO THE LWVCO POSITION ON A BILL FOUND IN THE LEGISLATIVE LETTER.

Action based on LWVCO School Finance position: Support for local school district control over the use of funds and the raising of  revenue over the state determined level; and the LWVCO Education Position: support for equity for students, taxpayers and school districts.


 

SUPPORT HB 1187

Concerning a Change to the Growth Factor in the Excess State Revenues Cap

Sponsors: Reps. Thurlow, Covarrubias & Landgraf; Sen. Crowder

Are you opposed to restricting our lawmakers’ ability to make budgeting decisions that provide adequate funding for the state’s most pressing needs?  TABOR is a Constitutional amendment that restricts taxes and spending in Colorado.  HB 1187 would provide more budgeting flexibility.

HB 1187 proposes modifications to Referendum C, which was a 2005 voter-approved revenue change to the TABOR fiscal year spending limit.  The modifications would allow for an annual adjustment for an increase based on the average annual change in Colorado personal income over the last 5 years, as opposed to the current adjustment based on inflation and population increases.

Many suggest personal income is a better measure of state revenue. In addition, the adjustment has the potential to increase the amount the state retains and can spend on essential state programs and services such as transportation infrastructure, education, and healthcare.

HB 1187 passed third reading in the House on March 9 and now heads to the Senate.

 Contact your Senator and urge them to support HB 1187.

Find your state Senator’s name and contact info here.


Action based on LWVCO position on Fiscal Policy: We oppose constitutional amendments that restrict taxes and spending.  These measures undermine the philosophy of representative government and impose severe restrictions that prevent an equitable and flexible system of taxation.  They reduce the ability of elected officials to provide adequate funding for state and local government, schools, highways, and public welfare programs.


 

SUPPORT SB 99
National Popular Vote Agreement
Sponsors:  Senator Kerr; Representative Rosenthal
Do you think it’s undemocratic that a candidate can lose the presidency, even though a majority of the voters in the US vote for him or her? The National Popular Vote (NPV) Agreement is a way to work around the Electoral College. 
 
If Colorado joins NPV, it will join 10 states and the District of Columbia. Each state that passes it agrees that all of its electoral votes will go to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. The Agreement will take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority (270) of the 538 total electoral votes.
 
NPV has passed one house of the Colorado General Assembly on 3 different occasions, but never went all the way.  Let’s make it happen this year!
 
SB 99 will be heard in the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs (SVM) committee on Feb. 15 at 1:30 pm. 
Contact members of the committee: vote YES on SB 99. SVM Committee
Testify: The committee will accept remote testimony from Grand Junction, La Junta, Durango, Trinidad, and Alamosa. Sign up here.
Contact your state Senator: vote YES on SB 99 when it comes to the floor.  
Find your Senator’s name and contact info here.

League has supported direct election of the president by popular vote since 1970.

Action based on LWVUS position on Selection of the President:
We support the use of the National Popular Vote Compact as one acceptable way to achieve the goal of the direct popular vote for election of the president until the abolition of the Electoral College is accomplished. 


Rescind Executive Order Regarding Immigration
Sponsors: Representatives Hansen and Jenet; Senators Merrifield and Fields
The Colorado House of Representatives has passed a resolution that will now go to the Senate. If passed, the following message will be sent to the President and Congressional leaders, calling on them to remove the blanket ban on all refugees or immigrants from particular countries:
 
We, the members of the Colorado General Assembly, find that:
The United States should continue to thoroughly review refugee, asylum, and immigration applications on an individual basis to ensure that those entering the country do not pose a threat to public safety, but such reviews should be conducted without establishing a blanket ban on all refugees or immigrants from particular countries and religions…
The President of the United States should immediately rescind the January 27th Executive Order; and
Absent immediate action by the President of the United States,Congress should act to supersede and render moot the President’s January 27th Executive Order
Some of the reasons laid out in the resolution are:
  • Throughout its history, the United States of America has welcomed people seeking refuge from war, famine, terrorism, and other atrocities occurring in other nations on every continent
  • Throughout its history, the United States has benefited from the significant contributions of immigrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees who have become scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs
  • President Donald J. Trump signed a sweeping Executive Order on Friday, January 27, 2017…that blocks as many as 218,000,000 people from entering the United States
  • Since its signing, the January 27th Executive Order has had a grave impact on individuals, families, and businesses around the globe
Action: Ask your state Senator to vote YES on HJR1013.   
Find your Senator’s name and contact info here.


Action based on LWVUS position on Immigration:
The League of Women Voters believes that immigration policies should promote reunification of immediate families; meet the economic, business and employment needs of the United States; and be responsive to those facing political persecution or humanitarian crises.

From 2016 Session

 

SUPPORT HB 1388

Concerning the timing of inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal history

Sponsors: Rep. McCann

To reenter society after being involved with the justice system, getting a job is critical. HB 1388 would remove barriers to employment by not letting employers ask about criminal history on the initial job application. Also, job announcements couldn’t say “No one with a criminal history may apply.” This brings private employers into line with current state hiring practice.

If employers can’t just throw out all applications that have the criminal history box checked, they may have time to see that someone has excellent experience, or that the arrest has nothing to do with a person’s reliability on the job.

There are exceptions for jobs that are required by law to exclude people with certain convictions. Employers may ask about criminal history once an applicant has been invited to interview, or has received a conditional offer of employment.

Please ask your state Representative to vote YES on HB 1388. 

Ask your state Senator to sign on as a sponsor of HB 1388. 

Action based on LWVUS position on social policy: Secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all. Promote social and economic justice…

To Contact Legislators:

If you need to look up the name of your state senator or representative, the Open States website is easy to use.

When you have the names, click here for contact information for the House of Representatives or here for Senators.

Then, using the information above about the bill, write emails or phone your legislators’ offices. Not sure how to start? Look over these handy tips.


SUPPORT  HB 1004

An act to include measurable goals that are subject to deadlines in
Colorado’s Climate Action Plan

Sponsors: Reps. Winter and Arndt; Sen. Kefalas

Please email or phone the members of the SENATE AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES, & ENERGY COMMITTEE

 to ask them to SUPPORT HB 1004. They will hold a hearing on Thursday, March 24, to decide whether to send it on to the whole Senate for a vote. 

On the committee page, click on each name to find contact info. 

The purpose of the act is to:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Increase Colorado’s adaptive capability to respond to climate change,
  • Provide an annual climate report to the General Assembly which includes an analysis of the progress made in meeting the measurable goals and specific deadlines,
  • Require decisions to be based on best scientific data available.

Colorado’s Climate Action Plan addresses the correlation between climate change and wildfires, bark beetle infestation, snowpack, water storage, drought, and statewide emissions of greenhouse gases.  HB 1004 adds the requirement that specific measurable goals and target dates be used in the monitoring of the plan.

LWVUS  statement on global climate change: Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge of our generation. The League supports legislative solutions, including setting caps on greenhouse gas and carbon pollution, encouraging conservation and renewable energy and investing in a new clean energy economy.


 

OPPOSE: SB 46 Preserve Options Respond EPA Clean Power Plan Rule

Sponsors: Sen. Cooke; none in House

Colorado’s Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is currently developing a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in order to comply with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Interrupting that process, SB 46 would require the state to:

  • apply for a two-year extension of the deadline to complete the plan,
  • submit a report, prepared with participation of the Public Utilities Commission, to the General Assembly for approval by joint resolution, and
  • discard the plan if the courts overturn the federal Clean Power Plan.

League finds that the provisions of this bill are problematic:

  • CDPHE’s current process already includes a robust process for public input.  We see no reason to delay air quality protections.
  • It puts the General Assembly into the business of the executive branch of which CDPHE is a part.  In addition, resolutions express the opinion of the General Assembly but are not binding.
  • Bringing in the Public Utilities Commission appears to be duplication of effort and costs.
  • Colorado may follow a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions even without a mandate from the EPA.

Please email or phone the members of the  SENATE AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES, & ENERGY COMMITTEE

  to ask them to OPPOSE SB 46 . They will hear the bill on Thursday, March 17, to decide whether to send it to the whole Senate for a vote. 

On the committee page, click on each name to find contact info.  

Position that action is based on: The League supports the preservation of the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the ecosystem and maximum protection of public health and the environment. (LWVUS)


 

SUPPORT: SB 129 Neutral Oversight Of Oil And Gas Activities

Sponsors: Sen. Jones; Rep. Arndt

CONCERNING THE REPLACEMENT  OF THE WORD FOSTERWITH “ADMINISTERIN STATUTE SO AS TO REQUIRE NEUTRAL ADMINISTRATION BY THE COLORADO OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION WITH RESPECT TO ITS OVERSIGHT OF OIL AND GAS OPERATIONS.

Please email or phone the members of the SENATE AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES, & ENERGY COMMITTEE

right away to ask them to SUPPORT SB 129. They will hear the bill on Wed. morning, March 2, to decide whether to send it to the whole Senate for a vote.

On the committee page, click on each name to find contact info.

Members of the Legislative Action Committee will be testifying on behalf of LWVCO. If you wish to testify before the committee as an individual, this is one of the bills that is available for remote testimony. You’ll need to sign up ahead of time. If you don’t see the bill listed, try scrolling down.

The purpose of this word change is to allow the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to provide a balanced  and fair review of any oil and gas operations in Colorado that could be hazardous to the public health, safety, or welfare. The current word, foster, could be interpreted as upholding the good of the oil and gas industry at the expense of our environment.

If SB 129 were enacted, the law would read:  “Administer the responsible, balanced development, production, and utilization of the natural resources of oil and gas in the state of Colorado in a manner consistent with protection of the environment and wildlife resources.”

Position that action is based on: Support for strong environmental and safety regulation of water quality and air quality, including pre and post testing of water wells and air around all oil and gas well sites.


 

HB 1191 Bill Of Rights For Persons Who Are Homeless

Sponsors: Rep. Salazar and Melton

The Right to Rest bill simply allows persons who are experiencing homelessness the right to use and move in public places without discrimination, to eat and accept food in public places, and to occupy a legally parked vehicle with privacy.

Please email or phone the members of the House Local Government Committee right away to ask them to SUPPORT HB 1191. They will hear the bill on Wed. afternoon, Feb. 24, to decide whether to send it to the whole House for a vote.

On the committee page, click on each name to find contact info.

With the rapidly growing numbers of people who are becoming homeless, services and shelters are not available to meet the needs of this population.  People are pushed into public places and then into courts and jails. This bill requires that the human and civil rights that you and I enjoy in our homes be extended to those who are forced to live in public places.

Cities throughout Colorado are enacting and enforcing laws that criminalize basic acts of survival, such as sleeping or using a blanket to cover oneself. Local ordinances of this kind do not reduce the incidence of homelessness or crime. Instead they increase incarceration rates and costs, and the financial indebtedness of people who have no means of supporting themselves or paying fines.

This bill would prohibit local governments from passing or enforcing ordinances that disproportionately impact persons experiencing homelessness, or have the direct intent of impacting persons who are homeless.  It would allow local governments to shift their focus from law enforcement and to redirect resources to positive approaches that directly address poverty and homelessness. A new study by the U of Denver Sturm College of Law found that 6 CO cities spent a combined $5.1 million on enforcing anti-homeless laws from 2010-2014. Denver spent more than $750,000 in 2014 alone.


 

OPPOSE: HB 1113 Protect Human Life at Conception:

Class 1 Felony charges for the provider of a procedure that results in the termination of the life of an unborn child.

The League strongly opposes this irresponsible escalation of penalty for actions that are legal in the US and should be a private matter.

HB1113 will be heard in the Health, Insurance & Environment Committee on Feb. 11. Members of the Committee: McCann (Chair), Ginal (Vice-Chair), Buckner, Brown, Esgar, Humphrey, Joshi, Klingenschmitt, Landgraf, Lontine, Primavera, Ransom, Ryden.

Before Feb. 11, ask members of the committee to vote NO.

HB 1113  provides for a Class 1 felony – life imprisonment or death sentence – for  any  provider of a procedure that results in the termination of the life of an unborn child.   The bill would prohibit not only abortion itself, but “any medicine, drug, or other substance…causing or abetting” abortion.  Under the strict definitions of pregnancy applied here, some forms of birth control would be prohibited, including IUDs and emergency contraception.

In addition, the bill explicitly separates itself from the Offenses Against Pregnant Women statutes, an existing group of laws that address cases in which fetuses are harmed or killed as a result of crimes against pregnant women.   These laws carry penalties ranging from Class 3 felony to Class 1 misdemeanor and avoid charges of homicide.

Sponsored by Rep. Humphrey and Sen. Lundberg

Position that action is based on: The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that public policy in a pluralistic society must affirm the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices.