2012 Legislative Wrap-up

Republicans score ‘uniformly high’ on Chamber scorecard

The Colorado Statesman

Republicans outscored Democrats this year on the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce annual legislative scorecard.

The Republican caucus scored “uniformly high” with the lowest scoring member in the House — Rep. Glenn Vaad, R-Mead — earning a 69 percent, according to the Chamber. The lowest scoring Republican in the Senate was Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, with 77 percent.

The highest scoring Republican in the Senate was Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, with 94 percent. Reps. Mark Barker, R-Colorado Springs, Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, and Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument, all scored the highest in the House with 96 percent.

While no lawmakers scored below 62 percent, Democrats held the lowest scores for the year. In the House, Rep. Jeanne Labuda, D-Denver, had the lowest score. In the Senate, the lowest score was 70 percent for Sens. Irene Aguilar, D Denver, and Jeanne Nicholson, D-Black Hawk.

The highest score for any Democrat was a 77 percent, held by Reps. Joe Miklosi, D-Denver, and Su Ryden, D-Aurora.

“The scorecard holds the Chamber accountable to our members by highlighting the policy decisions we are taking on their behalf,” said Kelly Brough, president and chief executive of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. “This year’s scores reinforce that Colorado legislators are hearing the economic message from us as the business community.”

The Chamber tracked a wide range of issues close to the business community, including policies concerning early literacy, health care and reforms to the state’s unemployment system, to name a few.

Of the 631 bills introduced over the course of the session, the Chamber took a position on 53 — 32 in support and 20 opposed. Of the bills the Chamber supported, 20 passed for a success rate of 63 percent. Of the bills opposed, 19 were killed, for a success rate of 95 percent.

With an overall prevailing rate of 75 percent, 2012 was 3 percentage points lower than during the 2011 legislative session.

The Chamber had several successes from the 2012 session, including passage of House Bill 1238, or the READ Act, which takes steps to improve early literacy in Colorado by intervening before the end of the third grade.

“It is harder to garner support than it is to create opposition,” Brough said of the Chamber’s efforts on the READ Act.

The Chamber also watched as Senate Bill 35 passed the legislature, which creates a limited liability for companies that operate commercial space flights in Colorado.

House Bill 1002 was another victory for the business community, allowing Colorado to credit bond repayments made by employers to their experience rating. The outcome could lower unemployment taxes.

-Peter@coloradostatesman.com