Colorado State Senate
|Colorado State Senate|
|Term limits:||8 years|
|2013 session start:||January 9, 2013|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Morgan Carroll (D)|
|Majority Leader:||Rollie Heath, (D)|
|Minority leader:||Bill Cadman, (R)|
| Democratic Party (17) Republican Party (17)|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Art V, Colorado Constitution|
|Salary:||$30,000/year + per diem|
|Last Election:||November 6, 2012 (20 seats)|
|Next election:||November 4, 2014|
|Redistricting:||Colorado Reapportionment Commission|
The Colorado Senate convenes at the State Capitol in Denver.
As of December 2013, Colorado is one of 13 Democratic state government trifectas.
Article V of the Colorado Constitution establishes when the Colorado General Assembly, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 7 of Article V states that the Assembly is to convene its regular session no later than the second Wednesday of January of each year. Regular sessions are not to exceed one hundred twenty calendar days.
Section 7 also states that the Governor of Colorado can convene special sessions of the General Assembly. Special sessions can also be convened by a two-thirds vote of the members of both legislative houses.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature is projected to be in session from January 8 to May 7.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 through May 9.
Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included gun control, immigration reform, election reform and the enactment of laws to regulate and tax legal marijuana.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 11 to May 9. A special session began May 14.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 12 through May 11.
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 13th to May 12th.
Ethics and transparency
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Colorado was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
- See also: Colorado State Senate elections, 2012
Elections for the office of Colorado State Senate were held in Colorado on November 6, 2012. A total of 20 seats were up for election. The signature filing deadline was April 2, 2012 and the primary date was June 26, 2012.
Colorado state senators are subject to term limits and may serve no more than eight years. In 2012, six senators were termed out.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Colorado State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 19||Evie Hudak||0.8%||75,848||Lang Sias|
|District 35||Larry Crowder||2.4%||63,195||Crestina Martinez|
|District 22||Andy Kerr||5.2%||73,853||Ken Summers|
|District 8||Randy Baumgardner||6.7%||66,954||Emily Tracy|
|District 26||Linda Newell||8.2%||71,634||Dave Kerber|
|District 27||David Balmer||9.6%||77,368||David Paladino|
|District 23||Vicki Marble||12.4%||78,201||Lee Kemp|
|District 25||Mary Hodge||15.1%||50,732||John Sampson|
|District 14||John Kefalas||22.1%||80,541||Syndi Anderson|
|District 29||Morgan Carroll||22.2%||51,314||William "Bill" D. Ross II|
- See also: Colorado State Senate elections, 2010
Elections for the office of Colorado State Senator were held in Colorado on November 2, 2010. State senate seats in 19 of Colorado's 35 districts were on the ballot in 2010. Districts on the ballot are 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 20, 22, 24, 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34.
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was May 27, 2010, and the primary election day was August 10, 2010.
In the 2010 elections, the candidates running for senate raised $2,331,554 in campaign funds. The top 10 overall contributors were: 
|2010 Donors, Colorado State Senate|
|Colorado Education Association||$31,625|
|Colorado Professional Fire Fighters||$29,000|
|Copic Insurance Small Donor Committee||$28,400|
|Colorado State Conference of Electrical Workers Small Donor Committee (CSCEW)||$22,000|
|State Democratic Senate Campaign Fund||$21,488|
|Colorado Association of Realtors Small Donor Committee||$20,000|
|Colorado American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations Nonpartisan Small Donor||$19,750|
- See also: Colorado State Senate elections, 2008
Elections for the office of Colorado State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 12, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008. Nineteen seats were up for election.
During the 2008 elections, the total contributions to Senate candidates was $2,735,632. The top 10 contributors were:
|2008 Donors, Colorado State Senate|
|Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Of New York||$119,350|
|Colorado Education Association||$45,500|
|American Federation Of State County & Municipal Employees||$43,750|
|Colorado Association Of Realtors||$42,100|
|Colorado Professional Fire Fighters||$40,000|
|Food & Commercial Workers Local 7||$39,750|
|Jefferson County Education Association||$36,325|
|Service Employees Local 105||$33,000|
|Colorado Association Of Public Employees||$27,900|
- See also: Colorado State Senate elections, 2006
Elections for the office of Colorado State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 8, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006. Eighteen seats were up for election.
During the 2006 elections, the total contributions to Senate candidates was $3,042,683. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Colorado State Senate|
|Noonan, Paula E.||$247,586|
|Food & Commercial Workers Local 7||$46,000|
|Democratic Senate Campaign Fund||$34,500|
|Colorado Professional Fire Fighters||$33,000|
|Colorado Education Association||$30,000|
|Colorado State Conference Of Electrical Workers||$26,500|
- See also: Colorado State Senate elections, 2004
Elections for the office of Colorado State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 10, 2004 and a general election on November 2, 2004. Eighteen seats were up for election.
During the 2004 elections, the total contributions to Senate candidates was $2,161,082. The top 10 contributors were:
|2004 Donors, Colorado State Senate|
|Democratic Senate Campaign Fund||$45,382|
|Colorado Education Association||$36,940|
|Colorado Professional Fire Fighters||$35,000|
|Jefferson County Education Association||$22,600|
|Boulder Valley Education Association||$22,500|
|Colorado State Pipe Trades Association||$21,000|
|Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 208||$20,000|
- See also: Colorado State Senate elections, 2002
Elections for the office of Colorado State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 13, 2002 and a general election on November 5, 2002. Seventeen seats were up for election.
During the 2002 elections, the total contributions to Senate candidates was $4,659,442. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Colorado State Senate|
|Democratic Senate Campaign Fund Of Colorado||$1,016,591|
|Colorado Republican Party||$683,537|
|Colorado Democratic Party||$186,235|
|Colorado Republican Party/Senate Leadership Trust||$103,541|
|El Paso County Republicans||$47,376|
|Land Title Guarantee Co||$25,200|
|Montrose Republican Central County||$23,900|
- See also: Colorado State Senate elections, 2000
Elections for the office of Colorado State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 8, 2000 and a general election on November 7, 2000.
During the 2000 elections, the total contributions to Senate candidates was $2,560,299. The top 10 contributors were:
|2000 Donors, Colorado State Senate|
|Colorado Republican Party||$85,961|
|Colorado Democratic Party||$72,230|
|Colorado Republican Cmte Senate Leadership Trust||$49,000|
|New Democrat Network||$24,000|
|Colorado Professional Fire Fighters||$18,000|
|Democrat Senate Campaign Fund||$17,510|
|Colorado State Conference Of Electrical Workers||$17,000|
|Workers Compensation Coalition PAC||$16,950|
|Farmers Insurance Group||$16,750|
|National Rifle Association||$15,720|
Article 5, Section 4 of the Colorado Constitution states: No person shall be a representative or senator who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, who shall not be a citizen of the United States, who shall not for at least twelve months next preceding his election, have resided within the territory included in the limits of the county or district in which he shall be chosen; provided, that any person who at the time of the adoption of this constitution, was a qualified elector under the territorial laws, shall be eligible to the first general assembly.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
In the event of any vacancy in the Senate, the political party that holds the vacant seat is responsible for deciding a replacement. A vacancy committee consisting of members of the political party holding the vacant seat must conduct an election when deciding an appointee. A simple majority vote of members in the vacancy committee is needed to approve any appointment. The person selected to fill the vacancy serves until the next scheduled general election.
- See also: State legislatures with term limits
The Colorado legislature is one of 15 state legislatures with term limits. Voters enacted the Colorado Term Limits Act in 1990. That initiative said that Colorado senators are subject to term limits of no more than two four-year terms.
- See also: Redistricting in Colorado
Although the state legislature is responsible for drawing Congressional districts, the Colorado Reapportionment Commission is responsible for drawing state legislative districts. The Commission is comprised of four members appointed by the General Assembly, three appointed by the governor, and four appointed by the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice.
Colorado's population increased from 4.30 million to 5.03 million between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Much of the state's 16.9 percent growth occurred in the I-25 corridor, on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Roughly half of the state's population increase was a result of Hispanic population growth. The Colorado Springs area and the southern Denver suburbs experienced the highest rates of population increase. Despite the fast rate of growth, Colorado did not gain another Congressional seat as a result of the new U.S. Census numbers.
The Colorado Reapportionment Commission, which review plans drafted by both Republicans and Democrats, selected a Democratic plan for the new state legislative districts. Both parties filed lawsuits, and the Colorado Supreme Court rejected the plan. Subsequently, the Commission submitted a new reapportionment plan, also drawn by Democrats. This plan received the Supreme Court's approval.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of December 2013|
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Colorado legislature are paid $30,000 per year. They are also given per diem of $183 for members who live more than 50 miles from capitol and $45 for members who live 50 or fewer miles from capitol.
When sworn in
Colorado legislators assume office on first day of the first legislative session following the election (example January 12 of next year for the upcoming elections.)
The Colorado State Senate has 10 standing committees:
- Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee, Colorado State Senate
- Appropriations Committee, Colorado State Senate
- Business, Labor and Technology Committee, Colorado State Senate
- Education Committee, Colorado State Senate
- Finance Committee, Colorado State Senate
- Health and Human Services Committee, Colorado State Senate
- Judiciary Committee, Colorado State Senate
- Local Government Committee, Colorado State Senate
- State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, Colorado State Senate
- Transportation Committee, Colorado State Senate
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Colorado State Senate for 11 years and the Democrats were the majority for the other 11 years. During the final nine years of the study, the Colorado senate was controlled by the Democratic party with the final year (2013) being a Democratic trifecta.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
Colorado was one of eight states to demonstrate a dramatic partisan shift in the 22 years studied. A dramatic shift was defined by a movement of 40 percent or more toward one party over the course of the study period. Colorado has shifted dramatically from Republican to Democratic control.
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Colorado state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Colorado has consistently ranked in the top-10 in the SQLI ranking during the period of the study, and also ranked in the top-5 for thirteen of the twenty years studied. The state has ranked 1st for two separate years (1997 and 2007), once under divided government and once under a Democratic trifecta. Colorado experienced its most precipitous drop in the SQLI ranking between 2009 and 2010, while still remaining in the top-10 of states. Republican trifectas occurred during the periods between 1999 and 2000 and again between 2003 and 2004, while Democratic trifectas occurred between 2007 and 2011 and again beginning in 2013 to the present. The state experienced a disruption in the Democratic trifectas between those periods when Republicans controlled the state house for two years, between 2010 and 2013.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 3.25
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 5.50
- SQLI average with divided government: 4.69
- Colorado General Assembly official website
- Official directory of Colorado State Senators
- Wikipedia:Colorado Senate
- ↑ Population in 2010 of the American states, accessed November 22, 2013
- ↑ Population in 2000 of the American states, Accessed November 27, 2013
- ↑ Term limits
- ↑ kdvr.com, "Colorado’s historic 2013 legislative session in review," May 10, 2013
- ↑ Pueblo Chieftain, "Civil Union supporters rally prior to special session," May 14, 2012
- ↑ Sunlight Foundation Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information, accessed June 16, 2013
- ↑ Follow the Money: "Colorado Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- ↑ Follow the Money, 2008 Colorado candidates.
- ↑ Follow the Money, 2006 Colorado candidates.
- ↑ Follow the Money, 2004 Colorado candidates.
- ↑ Follow the Money, 2002 Colorado candidates.
- ↑ Follow the Money, 2000 Colorado candidates.
- ↑ Michie "Colorado Constitution"(Referenced Section Article V, Section II, Subsection 3)
- ↑ Michie "Colorado Revised Statutes"(Referenced Statute 1-12-203, (1)-(3))
- ↑ State legislative term limits
- ↑ Clear the Bench Colorado, "Redistricting versus Reapportionment - the confusion continues", April 20, 2011
- ↑ U.S. Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Colorado Profile," 2011
- ↑ National Journal, "Census Quick Cuts: Colorado, Washington, Oregon," February 24, 2011
- ↑ [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/16/colorado-redistricting_n_1097001.html The Huffington Post, " Colorado Redistricting: Supreme Court Rejects New House, Senate District Maps (UPDATE)," November 29, 2011]
- ↑ The Denver Post, "Colorado Supreme Court sides with Democrats, picks their maps for new legislative districts," December 12, 2011
- ↑ Colorado State Senate Leadership Positions
- ↑ NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
State of Colorado
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Executive Director of Natural Resources | Executive Director of Labor and Employment | Chair of Public Utilities |