Colorado Rights Blog

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado 6.15.2016

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.

View the 2016 ACLU of Colorado Legislative Scorecard.

This year, we picked six bills to score on the scorecard. scorecardThe 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.

Find out how your legislators voted in the 2016 ACLU of Colorado Legislative Scorecard.



  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.

    Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.

    Donate now at

  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people.