Three Campaign Finance Reform Bills Pass Committee

(April 5) – Sponsored by Majority Leader KC Becker, Rep. Jeff Bridges and Rep. Chris Kennedy, three pieces of legislation to increase transparency and accountability in Colorado’s elections passed out of the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee this afternoon.

“One thing we can do to create greater confidence in our electoral system and our elected officials is to create greater transparency—and both of these bills will do just that,” said Majority Leader Becker, D-Boulder, referring to HB17-1261 and HB17-1262.

Sponsored by Majority Leader Becker and Rep. Bridges, HB17-1261 ensures that voters know who is paying for any mass electioneering communications by requiring “paid for by” disclaimers on all electioneering materials.

HB17-1262, also sponsored by Majority Leader Becker and Rep. Bridges, closes a crucial gap in reporting requirements between the date of the primary and 60 days before the general election. The bill applies the same disclosure requirements throughout the campaign—from before the primary and continuing up to the general election.

“Everyone knows that elections last for more than just 60 days,” said Rep. Bridges, D-Greenwood Village. “This is a necessary step to make sure Coloradans know who is spending money to influence their vote. This bill brings dark money into the light and reflects the Colorado values of transparency and accountability. We owe it to the people of Colorado to pass this bill.”

The third bill, sponsored by Rep. Kennedy, limits individual contributions to county candidates to $2,500 per cycle with proportional limits for partnerships, political committees, small donor committees, and political parties. HB17-1260 maintains the prohibition on corporate contributions.

“Not having any contribution limits whatsoever for county candidates is really an outlier in our state’s campaign finance laws,” said Rep. Kennedy, D-Lakewood. “I’ve seen a county candidate who received a $40,000 contribution and it was perfectly legal. Contributions that size raise concerns that elected officials may not be putting the people first. Putting in place these contribution limits is a reasonable step to restore faith in county elections.”

All three bills passed on a 6-3 party-line vote and now proceed to the House floor.

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