2021 Legislative Scorecard

See how your legislators voted on key public interest priorities.


Colorado Capitol. Cris Gonzales via wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

CoPIRG is an advocate for the public interest. We speak out for a healthier, safer world in which we’re freer to pursue our own individual well-being and the common good. In 2021, we worked successfully with members of the Colorado General Assembly to pass bills that will protect consumers, strengthen our democracy, and safeguard public health as well as defeat bills that would fail to do so.

We had tough fights this year. We took on powerful interests in the chemical, energy, financial and tech industries. We certainly didn’t win on everything, but with the support of our members we will continue to do research, public education, organizing, and advocacy to deliver tangible results that benefit all Coloradans. 

For a breakdown of votes and to see how your state Representatives and state Senators did on bills CoPIRG scored, click here

To find out who your legislators are, use the state’s Find My Legislator feature


HB21-1162 – Management of Plastic Products. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Lisa Cutter and Alex Valdez

Senate Sponsors: Julie Gonzales and Leroy Garcia

HB21-1162 would phase out single-use plastic bags, polystyrene cups and containers, and reverse a law that prohibited municipalities from taking action around plastic pollution. Single-use plastic pollutes our waterways and parks, harms our health and wildlife, and takes centuries to break down. Nothing we use once to carry food or a beverage for a few minutes should pollute our state for hundreds of years.


SB21-110 – Fund Safe Revitalization of Main Streets. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Leslie Herod and Tony Exum

Senate Sponsors: Rachel Zenzinger and Kevin Priola

SB21-110 would transfer $30 million from the general fund to the state highway fund to provide additional funding for the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Revitalizing Main Streets and Safer Main Streets programs. A focus on safer streets could dramatically improve our transportation system in Colorado. Making it safer to cross the street or use a bike to go to the grocery store will help people get where they need to go without cars. Fewer cars on the road means fewer car crashes and less air pollution that causes climate change and other health problems. All Coloradans deserve to get where they need to go, when they need to get there, safely. 


SB21-175 – Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Yadira Caraveo and Chris Kennedy

Senate Sponsors: Sonya Jaquez Lewis and Julie Gonzales

SB21-175 would create a board that can research, review, and establish affordable costs for the most expensive and unaffordable prescription drugs. The Board would also investigate and review when drug companies sharply increase the price of a specific drug. The high cost of life-saving medications places a significant financial burden on Coloradans. Nearly one in three Coloradans struggle to afford prescription drugs. Coloradans should not have to choose between life saving medications and other basic necessities. 


HB21-1199 – Consumer Digital Repair Bill of Rights. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Brianna Titone and Steven Woodrow

Senate Sponsors: Robert Rodriguez

HB21-1199 would require companies that sell electronics to Coloradans to make their parts, tools, diagnostics, and repair manuals available to consumers and independent repairers for the same cost that those items are already made available to their authorized dealers. Fixing our electronics can save Colorado families $330 per year and reduce electronic waste, the fastest-growing waste stream on the planet. Electronics from cell phones to tractors, ventilators to electric-powered wheelchairs, are a critical part of life in Colorado. Going without our electronics doesn’t just mean that we can’t text our friends for a while. In a time dependent on digital technology, it means we can’t attend remote work or school meetings, harvest crops, or get around in ways that are recommended by our doctor.


SB21-103 – Sunset Office of Consumer Counsel. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Daneya Esgar

Senate Sponsors: Stephen Fenberg and Faith Winter

SB21-103 would reauthorize the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC), an advocate for consumers to the Public Utilities Commission, as it considers different rates and regulations. For decades, the OCC has represented the public interest and specifically the interests of residential, small business and agricultural consumers in electric and natural gas proceedings. Over the last 30 years, the OCC has saved consumers $1.7 billion – with average annual consumer savings of $113 million over the last five years. In order to ensure that consumers and ratepayers have a voice and that their interests are represented, we need a utility consumer advocate.


SB21-148 – Creation of Financial Empowerment Office. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Daneya Esgar and Kerry Tipper

Senate Sponsors: Julie Gonzales and Chris Kolker

SB21-148 would create a statewide Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) in the Colorado Attorney General’s office to expand access to non-predatory banking products, support financial counseling and coaching services, and enhance consumer protection programs. Many Coloradans are struggling to make ends meet. This was the case even before the pandemic. However, there are examples from cities in Colorado and across the country of financial empowerment and consumer protection strategies that can make a difference. The OFE can connect these successful programs to more cities and more Coloradans in the coming years helping more people reach financial stability. 


SB21-190 – Protect Personal Data Privacy. Vote NO.

House Sponsors: Monica Duran and Terri Carver

Senate Sponsors: Robert Rodriguez and Paul Lundeen

SB21-190 would allow Coloradans to opt out of companies tracking and sharing their data for a few purposes and prohibits consumers from having a private right of action against companies that violate their right to opt out. It places the burden on consumers to navigate today’s incredibly complex data ecosystem and take steps to opt-out of unwanted uses of their information (to the limited extent they are allowed to do so). Coloradans should have full control over their personal data and companies should be required to get consumer approval before they collect, track or share people’s personal data.


SB21-215 – Use of Open Educational Resources in Higher Education. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Leslie Herod and Julie McCluskie

Senate Sponsors: Chris Hansen and Bob Rankin

SB21-215 would expand the Open Educational Resources grant program to help faculty develop Open Educational Resources, including free and open textbooks, for their courses and extend the grant program for five years. Attending college in America is one of the largest expenses someone will ever have in their lifetime. One expense that can prevent college students from finishing their degrees is the high cost of textbooks, which has risen three times faster than inflation. Open Educational Resources can save students hundreds to thousands of dollars. Providing faculty with grants to create Open Educational Resources for their courses will ensure that more courses use them and more students save money.


SB21-057 – Private Lenders of Student Loans Acts and Practices. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Matt Gray and Serana Gonzales-Gutierrez

Senate Sponsors: Faith Winter and Julie Gonzales

SB21-057 would expand and build upon important protections in the Colorado Student Loan Servicers Act that regulate entities that use private student loans. These new regulations will protect students and their families, who often co-sign on their loans. Students should have the resources they need to navigate the world of student loans and payments. 


HB21-1131 – Cooperative Electric Associations Governance Requirements

House Sponsors: Judy Amabile and Marc Catlin

Senate Sponsors: Faith Winter and Don Coram

HB21-1131 would impose good governance requirements on electric cooperatives in Colorado. Electric cooperatives would have to modernize their election procedures so that every member can easily and securely cast their vote for board members. It would make it easier for people to run for their cooperative boards by requiring electric cooperatives to clearly notify members of who is eligible to vote and how to cast a ballot in a board election. Additional transparency measures include disclosures of conflicts of interest. The decisions that electric cooperatives make have a big effect on their members and owners from the size of their monthly utility bill to the public health impacts of the kind of power they purchase. The elections and governing structure should be clear and open to all members. 


HB21-1238 – Public Utilities Commission Modernize Gas Utility Demand-side Management Standards. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Tracey Bernett

Senate Sponsors: Chris Hansen

HB21-1238 would require the Public Utilities Commission to include the cost of carbon dioxide and methane emissions into the cost effectiveness analyses of Demand Side Management programs for gas utilities. With this new calculation, a more accurate evaluation can be made around the benefits of energy saving measures allowing gas utilities to give consumers more ways to reduce their energy use and save money on their gas utility bills. The cleanest and cheapest kilowatt hour is the one we don’t use.  


SB21-246 – Electric Utility Promote Beneficial Electrification. Vote YES

House Sponsors: Alex Valdez and Meg Froelich 

Senate Sponsors: Stephen Fenberg

SB21-246 would require electric utilities to help consumers convert the way their homes are heated and their appliances are powered from gas-powered to electric-powered. Converting buildings from gas-powered to electric will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help Coloradans breathe cleaner air inside their homes. We deserve systems that heat our homes, provide us with hot water, and run our appliances without producing dangerous pollution that can harm us both inside and outside of our homes.


HB21-1286 – Energy Performance for Buildings. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Cathy Kipp and Alex Valdez

Senate Sponsors: Kevin Priola and Brittany Pettersen

HB21-1286 would require owners of large buildings to report their energy usage to the Colorado Energy Office and establish benchmarking and energy performance standards for large buildings. Fifteen percent of energy used in Colorado comes from large commercial, multi-family, and public buildings. To meet our climate goals we need to reduce emissions from these buildings. Buildings that are more energy efficient can save consumers money while reducing air pollution that harms the planet. 


HB21-1311 – Income Tax. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Emily Sirota and Michael Weissman

Senate Sponsors: Chris Hansen and Dominick Moreno

HB21-1311 would reform our state’s income tax code in many ways, including closing offshore tax loopholes for corporations that ‘store’ their money overseas to avoid paying taxes on it in Colorado and at the federal level. The use of international tax havens has provided a safe place for large corporations to avoid paying nearly $100 billion in U.S. taxes. It’s time for large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes to support our infrastructure, education, and other public needs.


HB21-1071 – Ranked Choice Voting in Nonpartisan Elections. Vote YES. 

House Sponsors: Chris Kennedy and Jeni Arndt

Senate Sponsors: Stephen Fenberg and Faith Winter

HB21-1071 would allow cities and counties in Colorado to use ranked-choice voting in their elections. Ranked choice voting minimizes “wasted votes;” frees voters to select their true first choice, second choice, and so on; and eliminates the need for costly and time consuming runoff elections. Our democracy works best when everyone participates. Ranked choice voting gives local governments the chance to open the door for greater participation from candidates and voters across the political spectrum.


SB21-091 – Credit Transaction Charge Limitations. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Shannon Bird and Colin Larson

Senate Sponsors: Larry Liston and Robert Rodriguez

SB21-091 would allow merchants and retailers in Colorado to use credit card surcharges of up to 2% per transaction and require them to display their surcharges to consumers before purchases are completed. Credit card companies have a lot of power in the marketplace and can charge steep “swipe” fees to merchants and retailers for the ability to accept credit card payments, which will often be passed on to consumers. Giving merchants and retailers the ability to use credit card surcharges is one way to create more competition in the payment marketplace and could be a tool to help to lower so-called swipe fees from credit card companies and save all consumers.  


HB21-1186 – Regional Transportation District Operation. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Matt Gray and Tom Sullivan

Senate Sponsors: Faith Winter and Jeff Bridges

HB21-1186 would remove the unnecessary requirement that RTD has to get a certain portion of its revenue from fares and remove limits on what RTD can do with their facilities, including managing parking and providing retail and services on site. We need a robust transit system to reduce pollution and increase travel options. Current limitations to RTD make it more difficult to use their services and make more people choose to travel by car. For our health, our safety and our children’s future, we need a transit system in the Denver metro region that offers fast, frequent, and affordable service that provides a real transportation option for everyone. 


HB21-1189 – Regulate Air Toxics. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Adrienne Benavidez and Alex Valdez

Senate Sponsors: Julie Gonzales and Dominick Moreno

HB21-1189 would regulate entities that emit large amounts of toxic chemicals, specifically hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen sulfide, and benzene. Exposure to these chemicals is known to harm human health, leading to heart and lung problems, seizures, and cancers. No Coloradan should have to breathe air filled with dangerous chemical toxins, and entities that use them in their operations need to be sufficiently monitored and held responsible for any emissions that can harm people’s health.


SB21-169 – Restrict Insurers’ Use of External Consumer Data. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Naquetta Ricks and Daneya Esgar

Senate Sponsors: Janet Buckner

SB21-169 would prohibit the insurance industry from using consumer data to unfairly discriminate against people. Increasingly the insurance industry uses consumer data, algorithms  and predictive models when setting insurance rates and handling claims. While this has the ability to benefit consumers, it can also lead to unfair discrimination, reducing the availability or affordability of insurance for people based on factors like race or gender. No one should be unfairly discriminated against in the marketplace. 


HB21-1230 – Create User-friendly State Internet Rules Portal. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Mark Baisley and Brianna Titone

Senate Sponsors: Rachel Zenzinger and Rob Woodward

HB21-1230 would create a search portal where Coloradans can find state agencies’ rules that impact everything from our health to consumer protections, and create a calendar that Coloradans can subscribe to to get updates on meetings and hearings. Right now, it’s difficult for members of the public to find state agencies’ rules, so the public cannot hold agencies or corporations accountable at their hearings. Good government depends on transparency and clear and accessible rules for participation, and creating a centralized platform for state rules that is easy to find and a way for the public to access meetings and hearings is a step in the right direction. 


HB21-1239 – Protections in Consumer Sales Transactions. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Cathy Kipp and Andrew Boesenecker

Senate Sponsors: Robert Rodriguez

HB21-1239 would make it easier for consumers to cancel memberships and subscriptions to dating apps and require companies that offer autorenewal contracts to Coloradans to let their customers know when their contracts renew and obtain their consent before charging them for their renewal. Consumers should have the ability to cancel memberships and cancel future payments. Entities that create subscription services that are difficult to cancel or that don’t give consumers refunds in a timely manner rob them of this ability. 


SB21-238 – Create Front Range Passenger Rail District. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Daneya Esgar and Matt Gray

Senate Sponsors: Leroy Garcia and Rachel Zenzinger

SB21-238 would take the necessary steps to allow Colorado to build and operate a passenger rail system along the Front Range from Pueblo to Fort Collins by creating a regional district that can clarify what routes and technologies would be best and what the costs will be. This could also help Colorado compete for federal dollars and service. Coloradans need more transportation options and a front range transit system could move more people in a more efficient, cleaner and safer way.


HB21-1283 – Vehicle Towing Consumer Protection. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Naquetta Ricks and Edie Hooton

Senate Sponsors: Rhonda Fields

HB21-1283 would increase transparency around towing in Colorado by increasing data collection and reporting of towing complaints. It would also add consumer-oriented voices to Colorado’s Towing Task Force. Under the best circumstances, getting towed is an ordeal, even when justified. For many drivers, however, the situation is compounded because consumer towing protections can be weak, nebulous or non-existent. More data and better representation from all impacted parties can ensure that Colorado has the right protections in place. 


HB21-1289 – Funding for Broadband Deployment. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Chris Kennedy and Mark Baisley

Senate Sponsors: Jeff Bridges and Kevin Priola

HB21-1289 would create the Colorado Broadband Office and give the office $35 million to fund broadband deployment throughout the state. Consumers shouldn’t be short-changed when it comes to access to essential technology. No matter where we live in Colorado, we need fast, reliable internet access — and so do our kids. The pandemic has taught us that not having access to fast, reliable internet access can prevent people from working from home, children from getting an education, and families from navigating all of the online support systems that were available, like filing for unemployment or rental assistance. It is time to invest in broadband deployment that ensures all Coloradans have access to fast, reliable internet.


SB21-262 – Special District Transparency. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Shannon Bird and Hugh McKean

Senate Sponsors: Rachel Zenzinger and Bob Gardner

SB21-262 would require metropolitan districts, a type of special district, to create websites, publish their budget documents on their websites and notify their members in at least two ways when they hold elections. Colorado has hundreds of special districts and many special districts are not transparent in their budget or election processes, and there is little clarity on how the public can engage with them. It’s critical that every level of government from Congress down to metropolitan districts prioritize establishing, evaluating and improving upon their good governance policies.


SB21-249 – Keep Colorado Wild Annual Pass. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Perry Will and Kerry Tipper

Senate Sponsors: Stephen Fenberg and Kerry Donovan

SB21-249 would expand access to Colorado‘s state parks by creating a Colorado Wild Annual Pass for $40 or less that will be assessed and distributed as part of the process when Coloradans register their vehicles annually, unless someone opts out. Colorado is known as a green state and our parks are the heart of that spirit. Unfortunately, our parks are chronically underfunded. By offering a parks pass via our vehicle registration process, more people will receive a pass and more money will be raised to support our parks. 


HB21-1005 – Health Care Services Reserve Corps Task Force. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Kyle Mullica and Yadira Caraveo

Senate Sponsors: Leroy Garcia

HB21-1005 would create a task force in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to create a program that would allow healthcare professionals to cross-train with other healthcare professions and be flexible to serve the state in emergencies or disasters. During the COVID pandemic, we saw how healthcare professionals not having this flexibility could lead to strife as many hospitals and nursing homes faced staffing shortages. If healthcare professionals can be more flexible in what they can do and where they can go in times of emergency, more Coloradans could have access to the healthcare they need.


SB21-080 – Protections For Entities During COVID-19. Vote NO.

House Sponsors: Shannon Bird and Mary Bradfield

Senate Sponsors: Rob Woodward

SB21-080 would render businesses, churches, and many other entities in Colorado not liable for any damages that result from exposure, loss, damage, injury, or death if a consumer contracts COVID-19 there unless the consumer can prove that the consumer or their loved one contracted COVID-19 due to the entity not following public health guidelines or that the entity committed gross negligence or a willful and wanton act of omission. Existing liability laws simply require businesses to take reasonable care, so this bill would have put an undue burden on consumers while they were already vulnerable. Consumers deserve a right to redress their grievances against entities that can cause them harm.


Legislative Scorecard Methodology:

To see how legislators voted on the above bills, click here

A 100 is the best possible score a lawmaker can receive on the scorecard; a 0 is the worst possible score. Scores are calculated by dividing the number of votes with the public interest by the total number of eligible votes the member is present for. We scored the vote that was the latest in the process. For most votes, that would be what is known as “3rds.” Some bills did not move past a committee so in that case we scored the committee vote. 

In 2021, we scored 28 bills. We indicated our support or opposition via the Secretary of State’s lobbyist tracking system, which records organization’s positions in an open and searchable format 

A plus (+) indicates a vote for the public interest on the bill.

A negative (–) indicates a vote against the public interest on the bill. 

Excused absences (E), are not counted towards score.

There was one district where the legislator resigned (District 53 – Representative Jenni Arndt was elected Mayor of Fort Collins during the session) and was replaced by Representative Andrew Boesenecker. We scored both legislators on the votes they were present for.

One bill that we did not score but did significant work on is SB21-260, Sustainability of the Transportation System due to the complexities of the bill and its constant evolution. Ultimately, it was not amended enough for us to get to a support position.