Bill aimed at 2018 election woes signed into law

Three generations of Nevilles pose with Gov Hickenlooper as he signs an elections measure into law. Also pictured, at right, is Tim Greismer, legislative liaison for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, and the deputy secretary of state, Suzanne Staiert. (SOS photo)

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an election petition bill into law designed to prevent some of the problems that plagued last year’s election and thrust a dog named Duke into the limelight.

Under House Bill 1088, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office will conduct signature verification on candidate petitions — previously only the address was checked. It also allows petition circulators to cure administrative deficiencies in their circulator affidavits.

In what is believed to be a legislative first, the measure signed into law was sponsored by a father-son duo. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, introduced House Bill 1088 with his father, Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton. The bill was first heard in committee in March.

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SOS helps open-records measure survive tumultuous journey

Sen. John Kefalas talks about his public records bill that Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law today. It was the second year in a row the Fort Collins Democrat has introduced a bill to modernize open records laws. (SOS photo)

An effort to modernize the state’s open records law died in one legislative session, spent months being studied by a working group at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, appeared destined to die again this legislative session but was reborn and finally signed into law today.

Gov. John Hickenlooper referred to its tumultuous journey.

“This is one of the bills that was hotly debated throughout the session, and really did require some gentle caressing and firm molding,” Hickenlooper said. “But when you see some very conservative components of our community and some very liberal components of our community coming together, generally you know that there’s good things close at hand.”

In urging the passage of Senate Bill 40 during committee hearings, Secretary of State Wayne Williams quoted “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which lawmakers said likely was a legislative first.

The law now requires public records that are kept digitally to be released to requestors in that format.

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Five Colorado governors offer up some advice

Secretary of State Wayne Williams with former Gov. Roy Romer, his wife Bea and their son Tom.

What a treat to visit with all five of Colorado’s living governors, who participated Thursday morning in a policy discussion on partisan politics.

They talked about their individual legacies and also offered advice to President Trump, according to The Denver Post’s Jesse Paul.

The governors: Dick Lamm, who was first elected in 1974, Roy Romer, Bill Owens, Bill Ritter and the current occupant, John Hickenlooper, who is term limited after next year.

As a reporter, I covered Owens, Ritter and Hickenlooper. I never covered Lamm or Romer but I interviewed them countless times over the years.

And while at the Rocky Mountain News, I was assigned to write Lamm’s and Romer’s obituaries and have them ready to go, you know, just in case. Yes, awkward, but Lamm was very gracious when I explained why I was interviewing him. My lede: “Dick Lamm did his duty today.”

Lamm and Romer outlived the Rocky, which died in 2009.

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Gov. Hickenlooper signs campaign-finance reform measure into law

Gov. John Hickenlooper signs into law House Bill 1155 concerning campaign finance. Present are, left to right, Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, SOS  legislative liaison Tim Griesmer, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert, and elections legal manager Ben Schler. (SOS photo)

Military voters will be protected and voter intent honored, candidates will be given a chance to correct errors on campaign-finance reports and avoid what could be absurd fines, and nonprofits will have enhanced ability to raise money under three bills Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law Tuesday.

“We want to establish common-sense processes to ensure that Coloradans can meet the requirements of the law,” said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. “Working with legislators from both parties, we improved business, charity, and election procedures during this legislative session.”

Williams said he is pleased that nine of the 11 measures his office advocated for passed the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-led Senate during the 2017 session, which ended earlier this month. So far, seven of the bills have been signed into law — three on Tuesday — and two are awaiting action by the governor’s office.

Among the bills receiving action Tuesday: House Bill 1155, which allows candidates to cure campaign finance reports.

“I love this bill,” said the House sponsor, Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction. “It fixes a problem that led to ‘gotchas.'”

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SIPA: helping government go digital

Marybeth Van Horn accepted a $1,000 micro grant on behalf of the town of Moffat at an event Tuesday in Denver. With her are, left, Irv Halter, the director of the Department of Local Affairs, and to her right, Secretary of State Wayne Wiliams and state Sen. Dom Coram, R-Montrose. (SOS photo)
Jill Jolton, enterprise content management coordinator for the city of Arvada, and Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale. (SOS photo)

Government agencies big — the University of Colorado — and small — the town of Moffat, pop. 116 — rejoiced Tuesday night when accepting grants designed to help them put more information and services online.

CU received $3,000 to scan historic maps of the state published between 1880 and 1907 and put them online, and another $6,500 to digitize the state House and Senate journals back to the 1800s and make them available to the public.

The town of Moffat, located in Saguache County, received $1,000 to help update and maintain the town’s website.

“We are excited to use this SIPA grant to help increase communications, educate our citizens and create accessibility in our small rural community,” said Marybeth Van Horn of Moffat.

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