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Legislative Action Report | Apr. 12th, 2021

Led by Dr. Toni Larson, LWVCO's Director of Action & Advocacy, and Andrea Wilkins, LWVCO's Legislative Liaison, trained volunteer lobbyists of the Legislative Action Committee (LAC) work to influence the Colorado General Assembly on selected bills, based on League positions and principals. During each  legislative session, you can read about each bill the Legislative Action Committee is currently following on this "Legislative Action Report" web page.

The experts on the LAC would be happy to discuss any of the bills or articles you see below. If you would like to get in touch with them, please email the LWVCO office at info@lwvcolorado.org. General questions about the LAC or LWVCO advocacy efforts can be directed to Andrea Wilkins (awilkins@lwvcolorado.org) or Toni Larson (toni.larson@gmail.com). 

Bill Tracker

The Legislative Action Committee (LAC) monitors and lobbies many bills each Legislative Session. See below for the current status of each of these bills. You may print the spreadsheet using the "download to spreadsheet" option.

Legislature Analysis

Track how the Colorado General Assembly votes. Using this tool, you can track individual votes on each bill and how those votes align with the LWVCO's positions. You will also find donor and contact  information.


Long Bill Debated & Passed by Senate

Andrea Wilkins, Legislative Liaison

  

The 2021 Long Appropriations bill, SB21-205, was introduced in the Senate on April 5. It was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee the next day, along with SB 206 through SB 228, the 23 orbital bills that make statutory changes necessary to balance the budget. SB 205 was subject to floor debate and several amendments on Thursday. After consideration of nearly 40 amendments, the majority of which were not passed, the bill was approved on third reading Friday and introduced in the House where it will undergo a similar process beginning April 12.

Following debate and amendments in the House, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) will act as the conference committee responsible for reconciling the amendments made by both the House and Senate. The JBC will provide a conference committee report for policymakers’ consideration, followed by the eventual repassage of the bill by both chambers.

Due to the improved economic outlook following the COVID-19 pandemic, SB 205 restores nearly all the spending cuts the JBC was forced to make last year as the economic crisis set in, while also building the state general fund reserves to historic levels--$1.7 billion in the FY 2021-22 budget.   As debate got underway, Senator Moreno, the chair of the JBC, noted that it was only possible to balance the nearly $35 billion budget because policymakers were able to draw on one-time resources.  While revenue for next year is expected to be sufficient to sustain the current investments and spending, Moreno urged the Senate take a cautious approach.  Senator Moreno further noted that by paying off debt, restoring emergency funds, and funding the state’s PERA obligations, Colorado will be in a strong position to manage the financial uncertainty that may lie ahead.    Republicans spent time during opening remarks questioning whether the historically large reserve was the best approach, suggesting money would be better spent by investing in infrastructure and efforts to get the economy moving again.  This philosophy was reflected in the 14 Republican-sponsored amendments focused on transportation projects.

Some of the key areas in which previous funding cuts were restored through SB 205 include:

  • $480 million in school funding to reduce the budget stabilization factor
  • $473 million to higher education
  • $380 million to the Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) Direct Distribution payments
  • $124 million for transportation
  • $100 million to the State Education Fund

Policymakers will have $50 million to fund 2021 legislative proposals.

[READ MORE]

Response to Election Bills: Empower Voters. Defend Democracy 

Celeste Landry, Gaythia Weis, Peggy Leech & Linda Sorauf


The “Stop the Steal” movement and accusations against Dominion Voting Systems (headquartered in Colorado) have served to increase the level of distrust in our elections. Legislatures across the US have tried to capitalize on this mood, and Colorado is not immune. Colorado is somewhat unique, however, because we have all-mail voting and are admired and respected for our post-election audits. 

In this environment and with both Colorado chambers controlled by a Democratic majority, the Republican-sponsored election bills in this paragraph have already met a quick end.  Using our own descriptive titles, the bills would have:

Made voting more difficult (LWVCO strongly opposed)
SB 007:  Default to in-person voting
HB 1086:  Proof of citizenship to vote

Questioned Colorado’s election results and audits  (Secretary of State argued that these were unnecessary)
HB 1053:  Allow any voter to request a recount
HB 1088:  Annual audit of voter registration system
HB 1176:  Create a commission on auditing election processes

Fixed a loophole or worked to improve processes
SB 010:  Requirements for a Witness of an Elector’s Ballot
HB 1170:  Committee on Elections and Information Technology

In addition, our Legislative Action Committee (LAC) Elections Team felt that SB 010 and HB 1170 had merit, but were, respectively, too extreme and too political. We would welcome similar, but improved, bills in a future session. The League supports HB 1011: Hotline for Ballot Language Translations which could increase voter education and participation. HB 1011 and the remaining following bills are all moving through the legislative process.

We have been working with the stakeholders of SB 188:  Electronic Ballot Return for Voters with Disabilities.  Currently, such voters can receive and mark a ballot electronically, but must print and submit a paper ballot.  Because internet voting is not secure, LWVUS encourages submission of a paper ballot whenever possible. We are hoping that the bill sponsor will limit electronic ballot return to voters with a print disability, rather than allow more widespread internet voting.

[READ MORE]

Bill Trackers

The Legislative Action Committee (LAC) monitors and lobbies many bills each Legislative Session. See below for the status of all the bills, organized by topic area. You may print each spreadsheet using the "download to spreadsheet" option.


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