Which Way Did Colorado Legislators Vote on Civil Liberties in 2016?
As we do after every legislative session, we prepared a legislative scorecard so you, our members and supporters, can see where each legislator stands on civil liberties issues.
This year, we picked six bills to score on the scorecard. The ACLU was of course involved in many other legislative initiatives, but these six represent a cross section of civil liberties issues we work on – mass incarceration, economic justice, solitary confinement and immigrant rights – and those we played a significant role in as they made their way to the Governor’s desk.
Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated bill sponsors, staff, members, and volunteers, each of the six top priority bills passed through the legislature with bipartisan support and are now law.
As in other years, the ACLU championed and defeated many bills that are not reflected on the scorecard. For example, for the second year in a row, the Right to Rest Act was defeated in its first committee hearing. The bill prohibited Colorado municipalities from enacting laws that criminalize our growing homeless population. We also advocated in favor of a law that would make it easier for transgender individuals to change their gender on their birth certificate. This, too, was defeated on a party line vote in a Senate committee, after gaining bipartisan support in the House chamber.
We were successful working in coalition to defeat the many bills attempting to limit a woman’s access to reproductive health options, to limit access to voting through photo ID bills and the like, and to create enhanced penalties for already existing crimes. Finally and with the help of Senate Republicans, we were able to again defeat an attempt to expand the State’s DNA database by collecting DNA from individuals convicted of committing certain misdemeanors.