COLORADO STATE SENATOR JACK TATE TO INTRODUCE ETHICS LEGISLATION TO REFORM COLORADO’S RECALL LAWS

The Colorado VOTER Act would not infringe on citizens’ right to initiate a recall election

Centennial, CO September 10th, 2019 – Today, Senator Jack Tate (R-Centennial) announced he was introducing legislation to create ethical standards and good-government reforms related to Colorado’s recall process. 

“As a conservative, I believe in small government and I believe in the right to citizen recalls. But it is also our duty to protect Coloradans’ right to ethical elections and functional government, and the current process invites disruption,” says Tate, a small-business owner who was first elected to the General Assembly in 2014.

At the time Article XXI of the Colorado Constitution was passed in 1912, recalls were a vehicle for constituents to remove an officer for corruption or malfeasance. Colorado’s recall laws are one of the more liberal in the United States, permitting the recall of any elected official for any reason.

The Colorado Valuing Open, Truthful, and Ethical Recalls (Colorado VOTER) Act makes changes to existing statute and requires a simple majority in both chambers to pass. It includes:

  • Keeping taxpayer-funded ballot language factual. The law would explicitly state that petition recall statements (“statement of grounds”) may not contain unlawful or defamatory language and are limited to statements of verifiable fact.
  • Protecting citizens’ right to representation when a state legislator is subjected to a recall effort. The Colorado VOTER Act restricts the filing or circulation of a recall petition of a state officer during the 120 days when the General Assembly is in session, reducing the amount of disruption a recall can cause when lawmakers are at the Capitol.
  • Full disclosure on the cost of recalls so that electors can make informed decisions. The measure requires the recall petition to include a disclosure of the estimated taxpayer cost to administer the petition campaign and a recall election, if the petition campaign is successful. 

“It’s prudent for us to look at our recall process and ask ourselves, ‘Is this still serving Coloradans the way it is supposed to, or do we need an update to reflect a twenty-first century political reality?’’ adds Tate. “My focus is ensuring that our recall process isn’t creating so much dysfunction that it is hurting our democratic institutions.” 

Senator Jack Tate will hold a listening session on the subject of recalls on October 12th, 2019 from 9am to noon at the South Metro Fire District Headquarters (9195 E Mineral Ave, Centennial, CO). Constituents can also share their feedback by emailing senator.jack.tate@outlook.com. 

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