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December 22, 2023

Municipal Campaign Finance Reform Law Goes Into Effect

DENVER, CO - A new law to cap financial contributions in municipal elections goes into effect on Jan 1, 2024. HB23-1245, sponsored by Representatives Jennifer Parenti, Jenny Willford and Senate Majority Leader Robert Rodriguez and Senator Kevin Priola, aims to limit the influence of special interests on local elections. 

“Establishing contribution limits and strengthening disclosure requirements for municipal elections will be a great step forward to protect the integrity of our local elections,” said Rep. Jennifer Parenti, D-Erie. “We’ve long had similar measures in place for state and federal elections and it's about time we provide similar protections to our local governments whose races are often more consequential to the lives of ordinary citizens.  By giving the public more information about who is funding their local candidates, we promote government transparency and accountability and provide a foundation for trust. This law will help ensure that cities and towns across Colorado are implementing the best practices for campaign finance.”

“In recent years we’ve seen more and more money flow into local elections,” said Senate Majority Leader Robert Rodriguez, D-Denver. “To help ensure these elections aren’t bought and influenced by special interests and big money donors, this new law caps campaign contributions made by individuals and small donor committees. With the new contribution caps, candidates who aren’t independently wealthy or already well-connected will be on a much more even playing field.”

“The influence of dark money donors is growing in our local elections, making it more difficult for everyday people to play a role in deciding who should represent them,” said Rep. Jenny Willford, D-Northglenn. “Soon, municipal election contributions will be limited to a reasonable amount, which limits the influence of wealthy dark money donors, creates a more even playing field for individual voters, and encourages candidates to campaign in their communities.”

“This new law helps bring transparency to local elections,” Senator Kevin Priola, D-Henderson said. “Our local elections are better off when the public knows where candidates are getting money from and how they are spending it. With the new campaign contribution reporting requirements, the public will have much better access to information that will help them make more informed decisions.”

HB23-1245 sets a municipal election campaign contribution limit at $400 for individuals and political parties and $4,000 for small donor committees to a candidate committee. Amounts are subject to inflation adjustments and the disclosure provisions of the Fair Campaign Practices Act. The law also changes municipal clerk report filing timelines, subjects them to open record requests, extends filing retention requirements, and applies some additional disclosure requirements.

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