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Republicans voted on a party line, 5-4, Thursday to kill HB 1096, a bill which would have allowed 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote and have their voter status activated when they reach the age of 18.
The Secretary of State will periodically check voter banks for non-citizens if Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, gets his way in the House. Partnering with Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, to introduce the bill, HB 1149 would accomplish similar goals as Harvey's recently defeated bill that would have required proof of citizenship before registering to vote. The bill includes considerable modifications that could serve to defuse some traditional arguments against the this type of legislation.
Colorado State Senator Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, said she missed an opportunity to head off the controversy now surrounding newly elected Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Carroll had been weighing whether or not to introduce legislation that would have set strict disclosure laws for the secretary of state's office in particular and tightened state worker conflict-of-interest laws in general. She didn't introduce that bill but that doesn't mean a legislative response to the Gessler controversy is off the table, she said.
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is no stranger to political controversy. He has represented a long line of conservative advocacy and attack groups and in that role has become the public face of partisan causes. Indeed, his name and the law firm he founded virtually stand for a branch of Colorado politics that seeks to limit government restrictions on and oversight of campaign financing. He has done battle repeatedly with laws the secretary of state is charged to enforce and now he is secretary of state. His election victory put government watchdog groups on high alert. News coming today, a little more than a week since he was sworn into office, that Gessler plans to keep working part-time as an attorney for his former firm even while serving as secretary of state has set conflict-of-interest alarm bells ringing in watchdog offices.
Colorado Senator Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, told the Colorado Independent Tuesday that a bill requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote would protect the integrity of one of Colorado’s most sacred systems. Others disagreed.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that he has appointed former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher as deputy attorney general overseeing the Colorado Department of Law’s State Services Section.
Former Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buescher told a roomful of Garfield County Democrats Monday during their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Dinner that campaign finance disclosure in America is “completely, irretrievably broken,” according to the Aspen Times.
John Hickenlooper was sworn in today as Colorado’s 42nd governor as flags flew at half mast to honor the dead and injured in Arizona. He told a small group of reporters gathered in his new office shortly after the ceremony that America depends on free speech for its democracy, but he said that history swings like a pendulum and that it is time for the country to come together.
Democratic state Sens. Morgan Carroll of Aurora and Lois Court of Denver say stricter penalties and tighter legal definitions should be at the heart of upcoming legislation to prevent abuses to laws regulating those looking to sway public opinion in elections. Both legislators are working with watchdog groups to shore up what they see as serious holes in campaign finance and ethics laws after a mid-term election cycle marred by violations and rumors of clandestine deals.