Fairness in State School Board Elections

(June 8) – A bipartisan bill by Reps. KC Becker and Brittany Pettersen to ensure fairness and accountability in state school board elections was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper this afternoon after passing both chambers unanimously. HB16-1282 adds regular biennial school elections to the Fair Campaign Practices Act, which outlines disclosure requirements, contribution limits and elections communications rules.

“This law aligns campaign rules for school board races with the requirements for other state races,” said Rep. Becker, D-Boulder. “Colorado voters have a right to know who is spending money to try to influence their votes. Prior to this law, that information was not required for school board races.”

“In Jefferson County, we saw a huge shift in the amount of money being spent in school board races, which resulted in an extreme board who were then recalled by an overwhelming majority,” said Rep. Pettersen, D-Lakewood. “That’s why this law is important for Jefferson Country and districts across Colorado—to ensure citizens know who is funding campaigns. This will bring more transparency so that voters can make more informed decisions.”

The bill requires disclosure of independent expenditures of more than $1,000 prior to the election. It also requires disclosure of spending on advertisements, billboards and direct mailings.

Recently, Colorado has been seeing more and more money being spent on school board races. Some estimates put funding totals over a million dollars in recent school board recall races in Jefferson County, but the figure is difficult to determine because much of the funding against the recalls was undisclosed.

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