Frank McNulty’s Very Good Bill

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.

20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Middle of the Road says:

    This is a very good bill indeed. This bill would close a major loophole in the system.  

  2. ajb says:

    The Durango Herald story also says

    The judge fined Active Citizens Together $11,300, and the charity dissolved itself a week later.

    This seems pretty weak. Once the damage is done, there’s really no recourse. I’d prefer to see the measure pulled if the sponsors can’t comply with the law. They’re changing the friggin’ constitution, after all.

    • I know that supposedly the petition signers verified their desire to put the language on the ballot, but it is the measure’s sponsors who put the petition drive together, who are essentially thumbing their nose at the lawful democratic process, and what do they care really, once the measure is on the ballot and to a point where other 3rd parties can pick up the promotion of the measure?

  3. droll says:

    Bipartisanship.  Two bills of it.  Not bad, all things considered.

  4. bullshit! says:

    What is the exact mirror image opposite of the term “love the sinner, hate the sin?”

    That’s what it feels like to see a Republican do something good for a change.

  5. the_spaces_between says:

    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

    Good to see that the Pols crew is as committed to fostering partisan bickering as our legislators. Can’t give a supportive shout-out without stopping to highlight what we don’t agree on. Nice stretch finding something sorta related to complain about though.

  6. Mark G. says:

    The First Amendment is simple.

    The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion”, impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

    Nowhere does the right to petition the government for redress include red tape, qualifiers, expense, etc.

    Therefore all Colorado petition laws and campaign finance laws are anti constitutional.

    Let us be honest.

    We want to void parts of the USC in an attempt to reduce citizen rights and increase politician power.

    Let us be honest.

    • Ralphie says:

      Fraud is among them.  The Constitution prohibits prior restraint, but it doesn’t prohibit consequences for fraud.

      The difference between freedom and lawlessness isn’t quite as gray as you make it out to be.

    • There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that defines the Initiative and Referendum process here in Colorado – nothing that even says the States should have one of those.

      The States are given the right to form their own Constitution and their own legislative processes.  Colorado should refine their own legislative process by ensuring that Initiative filers must follow the rules or see their initiatives removed from the ballot.

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