Ardent defender of local control; treasure trove of facts and figures about Colorado’s cities; powerhouse lobby. The Colorado Municipal League fits the bill for all those descriptions and more. Of course, the organization’s wide-ranging mission goes with the territory — given the diverse assortment of municipalities it represents.
And that’s why its legislative wrap on the just-concluded 2017 session is wide-ranging as well. And lengthy.
Ever wary of overreaching by the state’s lawmakers, who have been known to trespass on local government’s turf, the league begins its summary and run-down of this year’s key legislative developments with a nearly audible sigh of relief:
Often, the danger of the last hours of the session is that deals get made in haste or by those trying to sneak something in under the wire. Once something gets into a bill or a conference committee report at the end of the session, it is hard for legislators to try to fix it — or kill it if it is not fixable.
In the last 10 days of the session, CML lobbyists were trying to contain and direct multiple bills… to ensure that the League’s positions were able to be maintained and that nothing changed in the bills that … municipalities would oppose.
In the final hours of the legislative session, there was a flurry of activity with many positive results. More importantly, no damage was done.
Like all influential lobbies — its slogan: “the voice of Colorado’s cities and towns” — the league cultivates a list of bills it supports as well as those it opposes every legislative session. And it makes sure it is heard; Executive Director Sam Mamet, a veritable fixture at the Capitol, is regarded as nothing less than relentless in pursuit of his members’ interests .
So, what were the league’s win-loss stats this year?
CML tracked 257 of the 684 bills and concurrent resolutions introduced. Of the 41 bills that CML supported, nearly 70 percent passed. Of the 29 bills CML opposed, 93 percent either were defeated or were amended such that the League dropped its opposition. These numbers may change, as they presume that the governor will sign all pending bills.
Among victories for which the league claims at least partial credit:
- A step toward meaningful construction defects reform to kick-start owner-occupied attached and affordable housing. …
- Defeat of unnecessary and harmful legislation that would have impaired downtown development authorities against the will of the voters who establish them …
- Defeat of multiple bills that would have given business personal property tax and property tax breaks without holding municipalities harmless.
Incidentally, the league doesn’t sound too keen on a special session, whatever the pleasure of the governor:
While disappointing that the legislature could not find a meaningful statewide solution on transportation funding, it seems clear that a special session will not change that. People will have to roll up their sleeves over the summer and get back to work.