The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce released the third annual edition of its Colorado General Assembly legislative scorecard June 20, 2011.
The scorecard analysis shows that Colorado is the beneficiary of divided power in the House and Senate.
This session, legislators worked together to steer clear of a budget cliff and advanced carefully crafted legislation supported by multiple constituencies.
In January, the Chamber joined with 50 other organizations from across the state to send a letter to all of Colorado's state leaders to promote renewed civility in the state and federal legislative process, following a particularly caustic election season.
The letter read, "We understand that the challenges faced by our state and nation are many and the solutions, in some cases, are too few. Challenges will arise, viewpoints will differ, and lines will be drawn. In those inevitable challenging times, we respectfully request that we all commit to rise above the rhetoric and negativity and focus on finding solutions that are to the betterment of Colorado and the country as a whole."
The letter can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here.
"We appreciate that the legislature was attuned to the issues of the business community during this session," said Lori Fox, regional director of government and corporate affairs for United Airlines. Fox serves as chair of the Chamber's Legislative Policy Committee, which is composed of appointees from the Board of Directors to make policy decisions on behalf of the organization. "The tone and tenor was much more collaborative - recognizing that we all need to work together for the success of the state," she said.
The Chamber's goal with the legislative scorecard is to ensure that Colorado's state elected officials have a clear understanding of where their positions and pro-business ideals intersect.
To attain this goal, the Chamber begins by informing state lawmakers at the beginning of the legislative session that it will be tracking votes and then follows up with weekly e-mails to every legislator, notifying them of the positions the Chamber takes on bills. The information is also available for review on the organization's website at www.denverchamber.org. Legislative measures on which the Chamber took a position to support or oppose in 2011 focused on the state's overall business climate including key areas like health care, business mandates and reform of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.
Also this session, the Chamber worked closely with Speaker Frank McNulty and Senator John Morse to craft and pass HB-1072 - Designated Representative of Initiative Process, a measure focused on increased transparency and accountability in the ballot initiative process. The need for such reform became more relevant during the 2010 election cycle when legal action was required to identify who was behind Amendments 60, 61 and 101. The Chamber was also instrumental in helping to pass SB-200 - Health Benefit Exchange, sponsored by Senator Betty Boyd and Representative Amy Stephens. The measure creates an insurance marketplace for individuals and small businesses Colorado.
Over the session, 701 bills and resolutions were introduced. Of those bills, The Chamber supported or opposed 45. The Chamber's desired outcome prevailed 78 percent of the time; up from 58 percent in 2010. During its first year of conducting the scorecard project, the Chamber's desired outcome prevailed 80 percent of the time. View the 2009 and 2010 scorecards.
The Chamber tracked 3,193 votes this year, compared to 5,712 last year. The organization attributes the lower number to shared power in the statehouse.
Detailed below is the methodology employed by the Chamber in producing the scorecard. It is the same language as has been used in previous years to allow for even comparison.
In 2011, no legislator scored below 50 percent.
"As an organization, the Chamber works to partner with the state's elected officials to create a healthy business climate on behalf of our members and their employees," said Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. "We believe these scores reflect the success of those partnerships."
She noted that the Chamber is a non-partisan organization that does not endorse candidates.
"We hope we can continue to build upon this trend of cooperative efforts," Brough said. "This year's efforts and scores are evidence that, by working together, can we achieve what is best for all of Colorado."
The sources of data used to determine voting records are the First Regular Session of the 68th Colorado General Assembly House and Senate Journals and the Colorado General Assembly website committee reports as of June 13, 2011. The data is based on votes cast during members' full or partial term of service. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce takes full responsibility for tabulation of voting records on bills of interest to the organization.
The Chamber tracked all committee and floor votes for bills on which the Chamber took a position. Votes were tracked from the point the organization took action on each piece of legislation.
Members' percentages were determined by dividing the total number of votes that matched the Chamber's position by the total number of opportunities to vote on committee and floor votes on bills of interest to the Chamber. That is, matches divided by individual opportunities. The percentages are not weighted.
The scorecard can be viewed at www.denverchamber.org/scorecard.
About the Denver Metro Chamber
For nearly 150 years, the Denver Metro Chamber has been a leading voice for Colorado's business community. With a membership that spans the state and includes 3,000 businesses and their 300,000 employees, the Chamber is an effective advocate for small and large businesses at the local, state and federal levels. Chamber affiliates, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center, the Colorado Competitive Council and the Colorado Space Coalition, play a vital role in defining the economic landscape of our state. For more information, go to www.denverchamber.org.