Compromise Senate deal on CO Civil Rights Commission faces House Democratic objections

A bipartisan compromise bill approved by the Senate shifts some panel appointment power from the Governor to the legislature is facing objections from House Democrat leadership.  The Senate bill ensures a mix of Republican, Democrat and Independent voters on the Commission.  The bill does not change the mission of the Commission, but rather which body has the authority to appoint members to the Commission.

House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Rep. Leslie Herod, both Democrats, released a joint statement saying, “The changes added in the Senate go too far, reworking the commission dramatically.  We cannot support the current changes, and hope that we can find common ground and pass a bill reauthorizing the Civil Rights Division and Commission before the end of the session.”  Without House approval, differences in the reauthorization will have to be quickly worked out in a conference committee between the Senate and House.  The current Colorado legislative session ends on May 9.

The deal raises the panel membership from seven to nine, with five appointed by the Governor, and four appointed by legislative leaders from the opposite party.  additionally, five members must be from a protected class, and the nine seats will be apportioned equally amongst Republicans, Democrats and Independent voters.