BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1326
SENATE COMMITTEE ON STATE, VETERANS & MILITARY AFFAIRS
|Votes: View--> ||Action Taken: |
|Moved a prepared amendment to House Bill 09-1326, |
Moved that House Bill 09-1326 be referred to the C
Moved to strike Section #1 of House Bill 09-1326.
|Pass Without Objection|
02:11 PM -- House Bill 09-1326
Senator Shaffer, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 09-1326, concerning the integrity of the statewide citizen-initiated petition process. Senator Shaffer began by showing a video of signature collection for a Colorado petition. He said that nothing in House Bill 09-1326 is intended to subvert the right of the public to pursue amendments to Colorado law or to the state constitution. He described the provisions of the bill. He said that payment for signature collectors based on thenumber of signatures that are collected encourages the forgery of signatures.
The following persons testified in regard to House Bill 09-1326:
02:25 PM -- Douglas Bruce, Colorado Springs, representing himself, said that the fee and training requirements in the bill may not make the petition circulators more truthful. He said that the bill will limit the right to petition, and he commented on current petition signature collection requirements in Colorado. He said that the state should not license people to exercise their first amendment rights. He expressed numerous concerns with the provisions of House Bill 09-1326. He said that initiated laws are not adopted as a result of signatures that are collected, but rather as a result of votes cast. He said that Colorado courts may pursue perjury charges if they choose to and that this power renders the bill unnecessary. He said that remote training under the bill will not be verifiable and that no person should be required to be licensed to petition the government.
02:54 PM -- Doug Campbell, representing Citizens for Petition Rights, expressed concerns with the bill. He said that the bill will be burdensome on petition circulators. He said that "piece-work" payment is a time honored tradition and that the bill will interfere with the right of persons to contract for services.
03:03 PM -- Russell Haas, Golden, representing himself, opposed House Bill 09-1326.
03:05 PM -- Roger McCarvile, Arvada, representing himself, objected to a provision of the bill relating the payment of attorney fees.
03:07 PM -- John Lindback, Elections Division, Oregon Secretary of State's Office, supported House Bill 09-1326. He commented on petition signature requirements in Oregon and the requirement that petition signature gatherers register with the Secretary of State's office. He commented on the verification of signatures of petition circulators.
03:16 PM -- Ted Blaszak, representing Democratic Resources, Inc., commented on compensation for signature gatherers in Oregon. He said that signature gathering companies must now follow labor laws and keep records relating to their employees. He said that House Bill 09-1326 will standardize signature gathering and prevent fraud. He added that paying an hourly wage dramatically reduces fraud in the petition process.
03:20 PM -- Phil Hayes, representing the Colorado AFL-CIO, supported House Bill 09-1326. He said that the bill is supported by a wide range of individuals in the state and will bring integrity to the petition process. He commented on instances of fraud in petition gathering in the most recent election cycle.
03:29 PM -- Janice Sinden, representing Colorado Concern, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the Colorado Farm Bureau, supported the bill. She said that the bill will restore the integrity of the ballot process. Senator Schulthies asked that Ms. Sinden comment on the potential for the bill to restrict the right of the public to petition the government. She said that it is not the goal of her organization to inhibit the process. She said that the bill will make it clear to the voter whether a statutory or a constitutional change is proposed.
03:40 PM -- Mark Grueskin, representing Citizens for Integrity, said that the bill will not restrict the right of the public to petition the government, but that it will prevent fraud. He distributed a document to the committee (Attachment A). He commented on instances of fraud in the petition gathering process. He commented on the issue of per-signature compensation for signature collection. He noted that the large volume of signatures, and potentially invalid signatures, that are collected can put a measure on the ballot. He said that no person can effectively challenge a petition under the current system. He commented on the qualifications of signature gatherers for measures that have been proposed in Colorado. He said that there have been initiatives whose ballot placement has been fueled by fraud. He commented on requirements for training in the bill and said that petition circulators sign a statement regarding their familiarity with the laws relating to the circulation of petitions. He said that the bill is not a bar for initiatives to make it onto the ballot and that there is no check on fraud in the initiative process in Colorado at the present.
04:00 PM -- Cathy Hazouri, ACLU of Colorado, said that the ACLU believes that the right to petition government is a fundamental right. She supported the right of citizens to remove their names from petitions. She said that the training requirement in the bill will be burdensome of volunteers signature collectors. She added that it is not appropriate to create two separate requirements for paid and volunteer petitioners.
|TIME: || 04:16:38 PM|
|MOTION:||Moved to strike Section #1 of House Bill 09-1326. The motion failed on a 2-3-0 roll call vote.|
Not Final YES: 2 NO: 3 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: FAIL
|TIME: || 04:17:15 PM|
|MOTION:||Moved that House Bill 09-1326 be referred to the Committee on Appropriations, as amended. The motion passed on a 3-2-0 roll call vote.|
Final YES: 3 NO: 2 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
The committee meeting recessed.