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Colorado’s legislative session winds down with unfinished business

  • May 8, 2018

ADL Mountain States Regional Board member Stuart Pack (center) testifies against a bill that would have funneled tax-payer dollars into private, religious education.

As the 2018 Colorado legislative session comes to an end on Wednesday, May 9, one big issue remains unresolved:  the reauthorization of the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

The Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) protects all Coloradans from discrimination in housing, employment and public spaces. The agency was established in 1951, with the support of ADL. Colorado was the third state in the country to establish a civil rights agency. The CCRD underwent a “sunset” review this session, which is a standard process to review the functions of a particular state agency. Unfortunately, some lawmakers used this year’s sunset review to attempt to undermine the Division and strip away its funding.

A bill to reauthorize the CCRD passed both the Colorado House of Representatives and Senate, but not without amendments in the Senate that changed the composition of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and weakened its authority. A legislative conference committee is still working on a compromise. If a compromise cannot be reached, the CCRD has enough funding to operate through the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year and lawmakers can take up the reauthorization issue next session.

The Mountain States Region advocated on a variety of issues during the Colorado General Assembly’s 2018 session, including protecting voting rights, religious freedom and women’s access to reproductive health care. In addition to testifying on several bills, ADL Mountain States Board members and legislative liaisons engaged in several action alerts and also participated in a tour of the Capitol and observed a committee hearing.

If you would like to become involved in the Mountain State Region’s advocacy work, contact ADL Senior Associate Director Jeremy Shaver at

Several ADL Board members and legislative liaisons participated in a tour of the Colorado State Capitol and observed a committee hearing on May 7. Some of the participants were able to share a conversation with Representative Janet Buckner after the House Education Committee hearing. Pictured front left to right, back row: ADL Mountain States Regional Board members Carolyn Shulman, Stuart Pack and Scott Esserman; ADL Mountain States Senior Associate Director Jeremy Shaver; front row: Representative Janet Buckner.