June 22, 2016
As the state’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado protects, defends and extends the civil rights and civil liberties of all people in Colorado through litigation, education and advocacy. In 2015, it advanced and defended these rights and liberties by pursuing a proactive legislative agenda in three key areas: privacy and data protection, criminal justice reform, and individual and civil rights for groups that are frequent targets of discrimination. The ACLU worked directly with legislators and other elected officials, as well as mobilized ACLU members and online and grassroots activists, to enact this ambitious agenda.
During the 2015 Colorado legislative session, ACLU of Colorado lobbied for bills in the areas of criminal justice reform, reproductive choice, privacy, free speech, voting rights, LGBT rights, transparency, anti-discrimination and police practices. It found allies in both parties and played a key role in the creation of a strong bi-partisan movement in support of civil liberties. Thanks to the work of this coalition, over 20 bills were passed advancing civil liberties in Colorado. Meanwhile, 20 bills were defeated that would have been detrimental to these liberties including HB 1312, a bill that would have expanded the range of crimes for which DNA collection is allowed.
While partisan differences in the Colorado legislature posed challenges, the work of the ACLU and the coalition it helped build effectively illustrates the bipartisan nature of civil liberty issues. The 2015 session was filled with bills co-sponsored by members of both parties in support of privacy, criminal justice reforms and transparency. This work was supported by an extensive outreach effort including six email and social media campaigns that led to more than 35,000 emails being sent to legislators from ACLU activists. As a strong supporter of an engaged, empowered population, Voqal looks forward to seeing ACLU of Colorado’s continued work to help Colorado’s citizens advocate for policies that protect and enhance their civil rights.