FOR COLORADO STATE LEGISLATURE BILLS (for Federal bills, scroll down):
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the 2021 Colorado Legislative Session will tentatively begin on February 13th. We have a Democratic majority in our Colorado State House this session (65 members in the State House: 41 Ds, 24 Rs — 2-year terms, 8-year term limit). We have a Democratic majority in our State Senate this session (35 members in the State Senate: 20Ds, 15 Rs — 4-year terms, 8-year term limit). If you are interested in receiving training to testify for a bill, participate in weekly conference calls with your legislators — and more — please consider joining CLEAN (Citizen Legislative Early Action Network).
It’s helpful to know the bill number (but you can search for a bill using other criteria). Bills are named starting with an SB (Senate Bill) or an HB (House Bill), signifying the side that it originates in. SB or HB is followed by the year of session, then a hyphen, then the bill number. (for example, SB19-181)
HOW TO USE THE COLORADO LEGISLATIVE WEBSITE:
BOOKMARK: leg.colorado.gov Take a tour of this site. Your most used feature will be the menu button top right (3 horizontal lines), where you can track bills and get committee information and legislator contact info.
When you click the bill title, the bill page will include the list of sponsors. Clicking on the legislative sponsor name will give you party affiliation, what district they represent (and what counties are within that district), contact info, including an email link.
Going back to the bill page, you’ll find a summary of the bill, what committee the bill is assigned to (remember, there are Senate Committees and House Committees), the actual text of the bill, the bill status (“Introduced”, “Upon Consideration”, etc.), and the Upcoming Schedule: when and where the bill goes to committee (Date, time, meeting room at the Capitol), and what committee. PLEASE NOTE: The meeting rooms for committee hearings have been known to change the morning of the hearing. If you are planning on testifying, be sure to check the bill page for any updates.
As you get to know the bill(s) you’re tracking and the leg.colorado.gov page, you can simply type in (for example) leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb17-1230 (swapping out the appropriate bill number you are tracking) in the url field of your browser.
Watch & Listen:
On the Legislative website home page is “Watch & Listen”, where you can watch LIVE coverage (video or audio) of proceedings in the house or the senate on the Colorado Channel. (Each day of session is called Legislative Day “085”, for example) Scroll down on the Watch & Listen page, and you’ll see “Committees of Reference” — (every bill goes through House and Senate Committees of Reference). Click on the committee for the bill you are tracking and you can listen to the audio of that Committee hearing. http://leg.colorado.gov/watch-listen
FOR FEDERAL LEGISLATURE BILLS:
The 117th Congress will convene on January 3, 2021, and will conclude on January 3, 2023. We hold a Democratic majority in the House and a 50-50 Split in the Senate: 435 Representatives (Congresspersons) — 221 Ds, 211 Rs, 3 vacancies — 2-year terms, unlimited terms. 100 Senators — 48Ds, 2 Is (who caucus with Democrats) 50 Rs, — 6-year terms, unlimited terms (with Vice President Harris as the tie breaker in her constitutional role as Senate President).
The Indivisible Guide has been extremely energizing and crucial to the surge of citizen participation in the federal legislative process after the 2016 Election. If you haven’t done so already, download the guide, sign up for their updates or connect with a local Indivisible group (Longmont Area Democrats is listed as one). But there are other legislative tracking tools:
Daily Action Alert — Immediate & Easy: “…text the word DAILY to the number 228466 (A-C-T-I-O-N). You’ll be prompted to enter your ZIP code and that’s it—you’re signed up. You will subsequently receive one text message every workday…”
popvox.com — “POPVOX is a civic engagement platform that meshes real-time legislative data with users’ personal stories and sentiment, delivering public input to government in a format tailored to actionable policy decisions.”
govtrack.us — This one has been around for awhile, and when you register an account online, you can sign up for specific bill updates. It’s for more long-term tracking — since the trump administration is sneaking in bills when the public is distracted by tweets.
congress.gov — Official website for U.S. federal legislative information. Pretty wonky, but a good resource.
There’s an app for that: Try Votespotter. Once you register and enter your district info, votes from your state and federal reps are tracked for you. You then click whether you agree with their vote, and are taken directly to an email to tell your rep as such.
ourstates.org — Geared for dealing directly with the fallout of a trump agenda, this site opens with a map of the US, and lets you know what issues are being threatened by state. Check it out!