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COMING JANUARY 2018!

 

 

LWVCO President’s Letter to Gov. Hickenlooper

Requesting that Colorado JOIN the Paris Accord Climate Coalition

June 16, 2017

Dear Governor Hickenlooper,

The League of Women Voters of Colorado applauds your statement of June 1, 2017 –  “It is a serious mistake to back out of the Paris Accord. This is a historic global agreement between almost every nation on earth to address the single most pressing issue facing humanity.”  This aligns completely with a statement issued by Chris Carson, President of the LWV US –  “Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement is a giant step in the wrong direction for the health of the planet and all living beings. President Trump’s decision today will undermine global cooperation and have a harmful impact on U.S. relations with our most trusted world allies.”

The League asks that you take a step further by joining a coalition of states led by California, Washington and New York working to reduce carbon emissions.  History informs that reform in the US has often risen from state and local activism. A coalition of states representing a significant share of the country’s population and economic activity can and should take the role the federal government has abandoned and seek official status with the countries of the world that have signed the Paris agreement.

As a strong supporter of the Paris Climate Agreement, you have the opportunity to make Colorado a national leader in addressing the “the single most pressing issue facing humanity.”

Sincerely, Nancy Crow, President, League of Women Voters of Colorado

ACTION ALERTS 2017 Session

Require Candidates to Disclose Income Tax Returns

SUPPORT  HB2017 1328

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. 

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.

Additional Funding Charter School Operating Costs

OPPOSE SB 61

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.

 

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

SUPPORT HB2017-1187

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.


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.

National Popular Vote Agreement

SUPPORT SB2017-99
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. 

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.