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Legislative Review Committee

 

POLICIES OF THE WATER SECTION OF THE COLORADO BAR ASSOCIATION REGARDING PARTICIPATION IN THE  LEGISLATIVE PROCESS

 

November 2003

 

1.      Introduction.  Most proposed legislation seeks substantive revisions or modifications of the law.  In the case of water-related legislation, the Water Section anticipates that it will be difficult to take a “Section position” that does not, in effect, advocate for or against individuals or entities that are clients of members of the Section.  The Water Section therefore expects that it will remain neutral on most legislative proposals.  The purpose of these Policies, however, is to describe the principles and methods by which the Water Section may participate in the legislative process.

2.    Monitoring and Distribution of Legislative Proposals.  The Water Section shall use the following procedure to monitor new legislation and make decisions concerning the extent of its participation.

a.     Water-related bills (including referenda), as initially introduced in the legislature, will be distributed by the CBA to the Water Section representative to the CBA’s Legislative Policy Committee (“LPC”) and will be promptly distributed by that representative to the Water Section’s Executive Council.  After introduction, the Executive Council shall determine the subsequent legislative information it desires to receive for each bill, which may be different on a bill-by-bill basis.

b.     Any member of the Executive Council may propose to the Council that a particular bill be presented to the entire Section membership to determine if they desire to take a “Section position.”  Any such proposal shall state, with specificity, the position the Executive Council member believes should be adopted by the Section, which may include without limitation a substantive position, background or educational information, or technical assistance or advice. 

c.     A majority of the Executive Council must approve presentation of a proposed Section position on a bill, or on any other action of the type described in subsection 2.b above, to the Section membership.  The Executive Council shall specifically consider whether the proposed Section position may create geographical divisiveness among the water bar.

d.     If the Executive Council approves presentation of a proposed Section position to the Section membership, a “supermajority” (i.e., two-thirds) of the members of the Section who vote on the proposed position must approve it within three business days of the date on which the proposed Section position is presented to the Section membership.

e.      If the Section determines to take a position on particular legislation, it will make its best effort to so notify the LPC not later than Wednesday at 12:00 noon to have the Section’s position considered at the LPC’s weekly meeting on Friday mornings (during the legislative session).  The Water Section shall coordinate with the LPC to determine the best means and procedure by which the Section’s position shall be presented to the legislature taking into account, in particular, any related positions expressed by other sections of the CBA.  In all instances, however, the Water Section shall make the final determination on the substance of the Section’s positions.

f.       The Water Section recognizes that the legislative process moves quickly at times and that the Section must be prepared to respond accordingly.  The Executive Counsel is authorized to use informal means in implementing these Policies, including in particular email, to contact and poll its members and members of the Section at large, provided that the Executive Council determines in advance that such means are fair and reasonably designed to enable members of the Water Section to vote and express their respective positions.

3.      Initiation of Legislative Proposals by the Water Section.  The Water Section may from time to time initiate legislative proposals either directly or by participation in Interim Committees of the Legislature.  The Water Section shall also contact the water judges annually and consider legislative proposals requested by them.  In each instance described in this paragraph, the Water Section may act by and through a subcommittee appointed by the Executive Council.  Notwithstanding, any initiation of legislative proposals by the Section shall be subject to the Section-wide approval process described above for bills introduced in the legislature.   

 

 

     4.    Use of Legislative Terminology.  All terms used in these Policies related to the legislative process shall have the broadest definition and application possible, the intent being that the members of the Water Section shall have full opportunity to participate in the legislative process as it affects water matters.