Even without term limits, Colorado lawmakers say good-bye

Not a single House Republican is term limited this year — which is a legislative record — but six of them won’t be coming back anyway.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with two Senate Democrats who are term limited, Lucia Guzman of Denver and Andy Kerr of Lakewood. (SOS photo)

That’s because five of the GOP members are running for another office and the sixth, Yeullin Willett of Grand Junction, chose not to run again.

Every two years, the House and Senate chambers say good-bye to the members who won’t be back, usually because of term limits, which voters approved in 1990 and went into effect in 1998. House members can serve four, two-year terms, senators can serve two, four-year terms.

On the last day of the 2018 session, on May 9, Willett pointed out how many lawmakers who were sworn in with him in 2015 were already gone, backing up the point made by the late, great political sage, Jerry Kopel.

Former lawmaker Jerry Kopel. (Dave Kopel photo)

“Term limit supporters claim it’s necessary to limit terms so legislators don’t overstay. But a little research casts doubt on the idea that overstaying was ever a problem. It would seem the whole reason for term limits is based on a myth of political junky careerist state legislators,” the former lawmaker wrote in 2008.

Kopel’s research showed that an average of 22 or 23 legislators were gone every two years without term limits being involved. Some died in office, others lost elections. And of course some resigned or chose not to run again.

This year, eight of the Senate’s 35 members are term limited. And 17 of the 65 representatives won’t return to the House next year for one reason or another. Here’s a breakdown of departing lawmakers by chamber and by caucus:

Read moreEven without term limits, Colorado lawmakers say good-bye

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.'”

Read moreGov. Hickenlooper signs campaign-finance reform measure into law