Update from the Colorado Center on Law and Policy

(May 4, 2017)

On Monday, the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee killed HB 1310 on another party-line vote. The bill would have limited the application fee a landlord may charge a prospective tenant to cover the cost of a personal reference check, consumer credit report or tenant-screening report. CCLP thanks Reps. Chris Kennedy and Dominique Jackson, and Sen. Stephen Fenberg, for sponsoring the bill.

Read the full legislative update at CCLPOnline.org.

Relief for would-be tenants in Colorado’s superheated rental market (ColoradoPolitics.com)

by Dan Njegomir (April 25, 2017)

The state House hopes to give prospective renters a break on the application fees they face when leasing an apartment.

House Bill 1310 passed the lower chamber Monday, proposing limits on the fees, which can add up fast. The bill restricts application fees to the price of what is necessary to screen residents—such as credit reports, reference checks or tenant screening reports. The bill requires the fees to be refunded if the applicant is never screened.

Read the full story at ColoradoPolitics.com.

Reasonable Limits on Rental Application Fees

Press Release (April 21, 2017)

The House gave initial approval this morning to a bill by Reps. Chris Kennedy and Dominique Jackson that would protect renters from unnecessarily high rental application fees.

“Some landlords are using rental application fees as a source of profit, rather than to simply find good tenants,” said Rep. Kennedy. “By limiting these fees to actual costs and ensuring tenants aren’t charged when they aren’t even screened, we’re giving more people a chance to find rental housing without going broke.”

“This is a commonsense move to ensure that landlords only charge the actual cost of screening applicants and that they give a receipt to potential tenants,” said Rep. Jackson, D-Aurora. “It’s expensive to move and Coloradans shouldn’t have to pay inflated and unnecessary fees.”

HB17-1310 puts practical limits on the application fees that renters face as they search for their next rental home. The bill keeps application fees to the price of what is necessary to screen residents—such as credit reports, reference checks or tenant screening reports—and ensures the fee is refunded if the applicant is never screened.

The bill is part of a five bill package to help Coloradans access and retain affordable homes for purchase and rent. It now continues to a third reading recorded vote.

See more press releases at COHouseDems.com.

Press Conference on Campaign Finance Reform Package

Today I was joined by Rep. Mike Weissman, Rep. Jeff Bridges, and Speaker Crisanta Duran to discuss four bills that will increase transparency and accountability in our elections. Press release after the video.

Campaign Finance Reform Press Conference

Campaign Finance Reform Press Conference this afternoon! Honored to work with Speaker Duran and Reps Weissman and Bridges to make some much-needed changes to the way our campaigns are funded.

Posted by Representative Chris Kennedy on Wednesday, March 15, 2017

 

2017 House Democratic Campaign Finance Reform Legislation

Voters of all political persuasions are tired of the large and growing influence of money in politics, especially when it’s difficult or impossible to tell who is spending that money.

Today House Democratic members are announcing four bills to close loopholes and increase transparency in Colorado campaign finance law.

Closing the Gap in Campaign Finance Reporting by Rep. Jeff Bridges, D- Greenwood Village

Problem:  Under current law, “electioneering communications” disclosure captures only mass communications sent 30 days prior to a primary election or 60 days prior to a general election.  However, the reality of modern campaigns is that political spending continues all summer. Colorado Ethics Watch estimates that, in 2016, more than $1.9 million fell through the “gap” between the primary election and 60 days before the general.

Solution:  Rep. Bridge’s bill will bring additional transparency to Colorado elections by closing that gap. It requires that all spending meant to directly influence voters between the date of the primary election and 60 days prior to the general election be subject to enhanced disclosure. Voters will be able to look up who is spending money to influence their vote throughout the campaign.

Taking Responsibility for Campaign Ads by Rep. Bridges

Problem: Under current law, mass “electioneering communications” are not required to state who is paying for them, leaving voters unable to assess the credibility of these communications, or know who is funding the effort.

Solution: Update Colorado law to require a short and simple disclosure of the “electioneering communication” spender’s identity.  This will bring additional transparency to Colorado elections by requiring “paid for by” disclaimers on all electioneering materials.

Eliminating Shadow Committees by Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora

Problem: A recent Colorado Court of Appeals case left open the possibility that a candidate could create an independent expenditure committee to receive unlimited donations.

Solution:  Update Colorado law to make clear that candidate-controlled committees are subject to the same contribution limits set forth in the Colorado Constitution and approved by voters by a 2 to 1 margin. This would confirm the common sense understanding that an “independent expenditure committee” could never truly be independent from the candidate running it.

Contribution Limits for County Candidates by Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood

Problem:  Our election system should provide a level playing field. Every candidate should have a shot – not just those with wealthy friends – but in county races, we often see contributions of $5,000 and $10,000, and sometimes up to $40,000 from wealthy individuals. Colorado has contribution limits for all state candidates, but there are no limits for county candidates.

Solution:  This bill levels the playing field by limiting individual contributions to county candidates to $2,500 per cycle with proportional limits for partnerships, political committees, small donor committees, and political parties. The bill maintains the prohibition on corporate contributions.

 

See coverage in the Denver Post here.

See coverage in the Grand Junction Sentinel here.

See covered on ColoradoPolitics.com here.

Lakewood’s House representatives stay Democrat (Lakewood Sentinel)

by Clarke Reader (Dec. 28, 2016)

Both of Lakewood’s House representative seats remained Democrat after the November election, with Chris Kennedy defeating Republican Chris Hadsall for the House District 23 seat with 23,872 votes to Hadsall’s 18,850. Current seat holder Max Tyler was term-limited.

Incumbent Brittany Pettersen held off Republican Nancy Pallozzi in the race for House District 28 with 22,431 votes to Pallozzi’s 14,522.

Read the full story at LakewoodSentinel.com.