First Regular Session
Sixty-first General Assembly
LLS NO. 970337.01 GWF
SENATE BILL 97086
STATE OF COLORADO
BY SENATOR Thiebaut
STATE, VETERANS &
A BILL FOR AN ACT
CONCERNING THE FACILITATION OF IMPROVED COMMUNICATIONS
BETWEEN ELECTED OFFICIALS AND MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC.
"Facilitating Constituent Communications"
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced
and does not necessarily reflect any amendments which may be subsequently
Requires the legislative council to consider and implement methods to facilitate communications between the public and members of the general assembly. Specifies that the legislative council shall provide adequate staff and resources, including a tollfree number, to allow the public to contact members of the general assembly. Provides that the council shall consider implementing additional methods, such as electronic mail, to further facilitate public communications with general assembly members. Requires the council to provide staff, interns, or other resources to assist in responding to communications from members of the general public.
Provides for legislative staff assistants for members of the general assembly to assist in communicating with the general public and with performing clerical, research, and other duties as required by the members to which the assistant is assigned. Prohibits legislative staff assistants from engaging in campaign activities or lobbying for or against pending legislation.
Modifies the "Fair Campaign Practices Act"
to allow candidate committees to use unexpended campaign contributions
for defraying expenses related to mailings and similar communications
to constituents. Specifies that unexpended contributions used
to defray such expenses are reportable expenditures but are not
counted as part of the expenditures of a candidate committee that
has agreed to voluntary spending limits.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. Part 3 of article 3 of title 2, Colorado Revised Statutes, 1980 Repl. Vol., as amended, is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read:
23312. Communication with the general public. (1) THE COUNCIL SHALL CONSIDER AND IMPLEMENT METHODS IN ADDITION TO THOSE SPECIFIED IN THIS SECTION TO FACILITATE THE ABILITY OF MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO COMMUNICATE WITH MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY EASILY AND EFFICIENTLY ON ISSUES RELATING TO THE MEMBERS' DUTIES AS PUBLIC OFFICERS.
(2) THE COUNCIL SHALL PROVIDE ADEQUATE STAFF AND OTHER RESOURCES, INCLUDING A STATEWIDE TOLLFREE TELEPHONE NUMBER, TO ALLOW MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO LEAVE MESSAGES FOR AND REQUEST INFORMATION FROM MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
(3) THE COUNCIL SHALL PROVIDE ASSISTANCE, THROUGH THE USE OF COUNCIL STAFF, INTERNS, OR OTHER RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO THE COUNCIL, FOR THE PURPOSE OF RESPONDING TO COMMUNICATIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC. ANY STAFF, EQUIPMENT, OR OTHER RESOURCES PROVIDED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE USED FOR ANY CAMPAIGN PURPOSE OR FOR CONDUCTING ANY CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIES ON BEHALF OF OR AGAINST ANY MEMBER OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
(4) THE COUNCIL SHALL CONSIDER IMPLEMENTING ADDITIONAL METHODS, SUCH AS ELECTRONIC MAIL AND OTHER FORMS OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS, THAT WOULD FURTHER FACILITATE THE ABILITY OF MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO COMMUNICATE WITH MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
(5) ADEQUATE APPROPRIATIONS SHALL BE MADE TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, TO BE INCLUDED IN THE APPROPRIATION TO THE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT.
SECTION 2. Part 3 of article 2 of title 2, Colorado Revised Statutes, 1980 Repl. Vol., as amended, is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read:
22305.5. Legislative employees staff assistants for members. (1) BEGINNING WITH THE SECOND REGULAR SESSION OF THE SIXTYFIRST GENERAL ASSEMBLY, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SHALL PROVIDE LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS FOR MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WHO INDICATE AN INTENT TO USE THE SERVICES OF A STAFF ASSISTANT. STAFF ASSISTANTS SHALL BE EMPLOYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF ASSISTING MEMBERS IN COMMUNICATION WITH MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC, AS WELL AS SUCH OTHER DUTIES AS AN INDIVIDUAL MEMBER REQUIRES, CONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION. THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL SHALL DESIGNATE THE TOTAL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES TO SERVE AS LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS; HOWEVER, IN NO EVENT SHALL THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL DESIGNATE FEWER THAN ONE FULLTIME STAFF ASSISTANT FOR EACH TWO MEMBERS WHO INDICATE AN INTENT TO USE THE SERVICES OF A STAFF ASSISTANT.
(2) THE TOTAL NUMBER OF LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS DESIGNATED PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION (1) OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE ASSIGNED TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE SENATE IN PROPORTION TO THE NUMBER OF MEMBERS FROM EACH HOUSE THAT REQUESTED AN ASSISTANT. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS ASSIGNED TO EACH HOUSE SHALL BE FURTHER DIVIDED AND ASSIGNED AMONG THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY PARTIES IN PROPORTION TO THE NUMBER OF MEMBERS FROM EACH PARTY IN THAT HOUSE THAT REQUESTED AN ASSISTANT. THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY LEADERS OF EACH HOUSE OR THEIR DESIGNEES SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIRING AND TRAINING THE LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS ASSIGNED TO THEIR PARTY IN THEIR HOUSE AND FOR ASSIGNING THE ASSISTANTS TO INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.
(3) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, IN THE EVENT THAT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS, THE NUMBER OF LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS ASSIGNED TO EACH HOUSE, OR THE NUMBER OF LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS ASSIGNED TO EACH PARTY WITHIN EACH HOUSE CANNOT BE DIVIDED EVENLY BY TWO, THEN THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL SHALL PROVIDE ADDITIONAL HALFTIME LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS AS NEEDED TO ASSURE THAT EACH MEMBER WHO INDICATED AN INTENT TO USE A STAFF ASSISTANT SHALL HAVE AT LEAST ONE HALFTIME ASSISTANT.
(4) EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION (3) OF THIS SECTION, LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS SHALL BE EMPLOYED FULL TIME FOR NO LESS THAN TWENTY WEEKS PER YEAR, WHICH SHALL INCLUDE THE TIME THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS IN REGULAR SESSION. THE COMPENSATION OF LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS SHALL BE DETERMINED BY JOINT RESOLUTION OF BOTH HOUSES. LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANTS SHALL BE EMPLOYEES OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE STATE PERSONNEL SYSTEM LAWS.
(5) EACH LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANT SHALL:
(a) WORK DIRECTLY FOR AND AT THE PLEASURE OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS TO WHICH THE ASSISTANT HAS BEEN ASSIGNED;
(b) ASSIST MEMBERS IN COMMUNICATING WITH MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND IN PERFORMING CLERICAL, RESEARCH, AND OTHER DUTIES AS REQUIRED BY MEMBERS TO WHICH THE ASSISTANT HAS BEEN ASSIGNED;
(c) NOT ENGAGE IN ANY TYPE OF CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY FOR OR AGAINST A MEMBER OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OR ANY OTHER CAMPAIGN PURPOSE; AND
(d) NOT LOBBY, PERSONALLY OR IN ANY OTHER MANNER, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, FOR OR AGAINST ANY PENDING LEGISLATION BEFORE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
(6) IN THE EVENT THAT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS SECTION DISPLACES EXISTING EMPLOYEES OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ANY INTERESTED EMPLOYEE WITH THE REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS AND ABILITY SHALL BE CONSIDERED FIRST FOR EMPLOYMENT AS A LEGISLATIVE STAFF ASSISTANT.
SECTION 3. 145106 (1) and (2), Colorado Revised Statutes, 1980 Repl. Vol., as amended, are amended to read:
145106. Unexpended campaign
contributions. (1) (a) Unexpended
contributions to a candidate committee may be contributed to a
political party subject to the limitation set forth in
SECTION 145104 (4), donated to a charitable organization
recognized by the internal revenue service, returned to the contributors,
or retained by the committee for use by the candidate in a subsequent
campaign. pursuant to the restrictions
set forth in subsection (2) of this section.
In no event shall contributions to a candidate committee be used
for personal purposes not reasonably related to supporting the
election of the candidate.
(b) A CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MAY USE UNEXPENDED CONTRIBUTIONS TO DEFRAY REASONABLE AND NECESSARY EXPENSES RELATED TO MAILINGS AND SIMILAR COMMUNICATIONS TO CONSTITUENTS. SUCH A USE OF UNEXPENDED CONTRIBUTIONS IS AN EXPENDITURE THAT IS REPORTABLE PURSUANT TO SECTION 145110 BY ALL CANDIDATE COMMITTEES BUT SHALL NOT BE COUNTED AS AN EXPENDITURE OF A CANDIDATE COMMITTEE THAT HAS AGREED TO VOLUNTARY CAMPAIGN SPENDING LIMITS PURSUANT TO SECTION 145105 FOR PURPOSES OF DETERMINING THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF SUCH EXPENDITURES.
campaign contributions retained by a candidate committee for use
in a subsequent election cycle shall be counted and reported as
contributions from political committees in any subsequent election
for purposes of section 145104 (1) no matter how those
contributions were originally classified.
SECTION 4. Safety clause. The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.