We’ve been hard on new Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty for some controversial decisions he’s made since (barely) winning the chamber last November. But as the Durango Herald’s Joe Hanel reports, McNulty is the sponsor of at least one very good bill our readers should be aware of–and deserves credit:
House Bill 1072 would require the official sponsors of a ballot question to file affidavits and show up for the hearings to put their questions on the ballot. They also have to say within 10 days who paid to circulate petitions – something the two groups in 2010 never did.
“If you have a good idea, stand behind it. That’s all this is saying,” said the sponsor, Speaker of the House Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch.
The bill does not prevent anyone from running ballot initiatives, McNulty said…
“Coloradans have always had an interest in having access to the ballot,” McNulty said. “What last year showed us was a pretty major flaw we had in our process.”
Opponents of the three tax initiatives last year – measures 60, 61 and 101 – began targeting Bruce almost a year before the election. But legal proceedings dragged out all year, and it wasn’t until late December that a judge found Bruce’s charity, Active Citizens Together, spent up to $250,000 to circulate petitions.
McNulty’s bill, sponsored in the Senate by Democrat John Morse, would dramatically increase fines for noncompliance with disclosure law, and speed up the complaint process: both objectives sought after Doug Bruce and his minions openly flouted these laws last year, along with the sponsors of Proposition 102 on behalf of the bail bond industry. In both cases, it became obvious that Colorado law simply didn’t have the teeth to motivate shady interests to comply. In the end, Bruce could factor any fines into the cost of running the initiatives, as they amounted to tiny sums compared to what was actually being spent by these campaigns.
And while we’d really like to ask why nonpartisan disdain for Bruce and his reckless methods has never been extended by the GOP to his most famous creation, TABOR, we’ll let McNulty slide on this very good question out of relief at seeing him do the right thing.