Panel rejects Wright measure on financial disclosure

DENVER — The first bill freshman Rep. Jared Wright presented before a House committee in his legislative career Monday didn’t fare as well as he had hoped.

The Fruita Republican’s measure to require appointed state and local government officials to file the same financial disclosure reports that elected officials are required to do was killed with little debate in the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.

The measure, HB1099, was designed to prevent government scandals before they occur, Wright told the committee.

“The government can never fault by erring on increasing checks and balances upon itself because our flawed human nature oftentimes intervenes and causes embarrassing events,” he told the committee. “The right thing to do is always be transparent.”

Under current law, all elected officials are required to file disclosure reports with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office for such things as gifts and honoraria. Wright’s measure would have extended that to department heads and executive directors of state and local agencies.

According to a fiscal analysis of the bill, it would have required the secretary of state to hire an additional worker and spend nearly $100,000 over the next two years to track an additional 3,000 state and local workers.

Opponents to the measure said it was admirable that Wright was advocating for more open government, but that his measure was unnecessary.

“Local government officials are already subject to state ethics laws ... so we don’t see the additional need for what’s brought forth in (HB)1099,” said Richard Orf, a lobbyist representing the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado. “Although the fiscal (analysis) does quantify the burden to local governments reporting, we believe it’s not insignificant.”

The Democratic-controlled committee killed the bill on a 7–3 party-line vote.


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