(Feb. 4) – Four separate Republican attempts to take Colorado backward were rejected today by the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.
HB15-1051, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, would have changed the review process for signature verification of mail-in ballots in local elections to make it easier for eligible voters’ ballots to not be counted.
“This was yet another GOP attempt at voter suppression masquerading as an attempt to limit voter fraud,” said Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, architect of the 2013 law modernizing Colorado’s voting system. “Voter fraud is essentially nonexistent in Colorado. All this bill would have done is make it more difficult for Coloradans to have their vote count.”
HB15-1076, sponsored by Rep. Justin Everett, R-Littleton, and 11 other House Republicans, would have undermined collective bargaining for Colorado workers.
“This is the third time Rep. Everett has tried to stack the deck against middle-class Coloradans,” Rep. Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield, said after she voted against the bill. “His bill would have forced hard-working Coloradans to work harder for lower pay and fewer benefits.”
HB15-1093, sponsored by Rep. Tim Dore, R-Elizabeth, tried to roll back a 2014 law phasing in certified high-efficiency plumbing fixtures sold in Colorado.
“Water conservation is one of this state’s highest priorities,” said Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, who voted against the bill. “Rep. Dore’s district includes the Lower Arkansas Valley, where Front Range water users are buying up farmers’ water rights. It’s puzzling that Rep. Dore would try to overturn a reasonable step to conserve our most precious natural resource and ease ‘buy-and-dry’ pressures on his own communities.”
The first three bills died on party-line 6-5 votes. But Rep. Jack Tate, R-Centennial, joined the Democratic majority in killing HB15-1081, sponsored by Rep. Kim Ransom, R-Littleton, and 10 other House Republicans. The bill would have allowed someone to restrict access to a sex-segregated locker room based on an individual’s biological sex, discriminating against transgender Coloradans.
“Gender identity is not as simple as biology, and I thank Rep. Tate for understanding that fact,” said Assistant Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, a member of the House LGBT caucus. “But it’s sad that in the year 2015 such a large number of Republicans signed on to a bill discriminating against transgender Coloradans. Just a few days ago, Rep. Ransom championed Dr. Martin Luther King for his leadership in the civil rights movement. Talk about hypocrisy.”