Monday, January 26, 2015

Goodbye Voters and Elections

In a blog entry last week, we pondered whether our state legislators shared our concerns about low voter turnout and ways to improve participation and make elections more fair. In week one of the state legislature, the new Republican majority sent out a resounding “NO!” to our query.

One of the first acts of business each year is staffing the standing committees. This year, however, the leadership decided to do more, and renamed or eliminated many committees.

Most importantly to followers of this blog: the House Voters and Elections Committee has been disbanded. Elections have been folded into the Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee, leaving us wondering what happened to the aspect of the committee concerned with Voters?

Speaker Tripp will still have to send voting related measures somewhere, and we assume that will be the now transformed HGEIC.

Meanwhile, we wait to see what will be introduced to help elections attract more voters. After week one, we so far have a Voter ID bill (HB61, Rep James Smith), a bill expanding Motor Voter (SB13, Sen Jacob Candelaria), a bill “fixing” the public campaign financing system (SB58, Sen Peter Wirth), and a resolution for a constitutional amendment creating an independent redistricting commission (SJR1, Rep Carl Trujillo and Sen Bill O'Neill).

We will keep you posted- or visit to track these and other bills.

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