CO: Aggressive Lobbying Disclosure Bill Becomes Law

As voters grow increasingly fed up with corruption in public office, a number of courageous legislators are taking the lead on issues like voter-owned elections and lobbying reform. In Colorado, the forces of reform just landed a major victory.

Representative Morgan Carroll has become well-known in Colorado for her strong stands on ethics and lobbying reform. When she recently requested an audit of lobbyist compliance with state law, the Rocky Mountain News noted that she is "known for her policy of refusing to talk to lobbyists on the House floor." (The audit, which would be the first of its kind, is now being considered by the Secretary of State's office.)

Yesterday, Governor Bill Owens signed Carroll's HB 1149 (PDF) into law. The measure, also sponsored by Sen. Ron Tupa, greatly strengthens Colorado's lobbyist disclosure rules, requiring lobbyists to declare their clients, the bills on which they are lobbying, and what position they are taking on those bills.

Rep. Carroll made the bill in priority after noting that Colorado nearly flunked in a recent rating of state lobbying disclosure laws by the Center for Public Integrity.

Governor Owens' signature on the bill comes as a bit of a surprise as he seemed to make it a priority to veto a number of good bills from Colorado's 2006 legislative session, just as he did last year -- not a big surprise for one of America's worst Governors.

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