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AFL-CIO’s legislative scorecard: Dems do well; Republicans, not so much

Author: Marianne Goodland - August 16, 2018 - Updated: August 17, 2018

AFL-CIO scorecard(Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)

This week’s legislative scorecard comes from Colorado AFL-CIO, and just as you might expect, Democrats did extremely well, Republicans not so much.

But the union may have dodged a bullet of sorts, by not evaluating lawmakers on the bill reforming the state’s pension plan, a bill opposed by teachers and their unions and which drew “no” votes from a majority of the legislature’s Democrats.

The scorecard rates lawmakers based on how they voted on 16 bills from the 2018 session, nine from the House, seven from the Senate. The legislation included: reauthorization of the Colorado Division of Civil Rights and Colorado Civil Rights Commission; a “right-to-work-for-less” bill, a perennial favorite of conservative Republicans;  the bill that would have prohibited public school teachers from striking; and another that would have barred
public employees from conducting collective bargaining activities on the job.

AFL-CIO listed among its priorities in 2018 House Bill 1001, a bill creating a family medical leave insurance program (it died in the Senate); fighting a bill that would have allowed employers to opt out of the state’s new minimum wage law (it died in the House); and grudging support for Senate Bill 200, reforms to the Public Employees Retirement Association pension plan that garnered 22 Democratic “no” votes on its final passage in the House and 11 “no” votes from Senate Democrats. Despite listing it as a priority in the scorecard’s report, Senate Bill 200 was not one of the bills on which legislators’ votes were evaluated.

Ten out of the 16 Senate Democrats earned perfect 100 percent scores, including Sens. Steve Fenberg, Rhonda Fields, Leroy Garcia, Lucia Guzman, Dominick Moreno and Rachel Zenzinger.

Republican Sen. Beth Martinez-Humenik was the high scorer among her caucus, at 43 percent. Only one Republican senator, Jim Smallwood, earned a zero.

Perfect scores were also handed out to 31 out of the 36 members of the House Democratic caucus. Ten Republicans earned zeros. The highest scoring Republican was Rep. Hugh McKean of Loveland, at 50 percent.

AFL-CIO rarely gives money directly to candidates, although it recently contributed $1,500 to Democratic candidate Bri Buentello in House District 47, which includes rural Pueblo County. Most of the group’s contributions — about $428,000 in the past four years — are routed to independent expenditure committees that back Democrats vying for the state legislature.

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland is the chief legislative reporter for Colorado Politics. She's covered the Colorado General Assembly for 20 years, starting off in 1998 with the Silver & Gold Record, the editorially-independent newspaper at CU that was shuttered in 2009. She also writes for six rural newspapers in northeastern Colorado. Marianne specializes in rural issues, agriculture, water and, during election season, campaign finance. In her free time (ha!) she lives in Lakewood with her husband, Jeff; a cantankerous Shih-Tzu named Sophie; and Gunther the cat. She is also an award-winning professional harpist.