After a lonely month being castigated by fellow conservatives, state Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, is postponing his controversial “badge fee” bill, which stalled last week.
Instead of a new law prohibiting political parties from preventing delegates or alternates from voting in caucuses or party assemblies unless they hand over what are commonly known as “badge fees,” Williams said he’s willing to give the parties a chance to rectify the issue internally.
“I have postponed passage of (the bill) until April, after our State Central Committee meeting on March 30th, to give us more time to work together to solve the problem ourselves through a bylaw change that must be approved by two-thirds of the voting members,” Williams said in a release.
If the new bylaws are approved, Williams said he’ll pull the bill “because there would then be no need to pass legislation on if there is no more problem.”
Only Republican parties charge the fees, and party heads across the state have said Williams’ bill had the potential to bankrupt them and diminish the eligibility of GOP candidates. The vast majority of Republicans appeared to oppose the bill; some of even called the measure “sinister.”
Williams found solace with Democrats, who supported the bill, House Bill 1046, which wouldn’t have affected their caucuses or assemblies at all. It was Democratic representatives who voted the measure through committee last month.
Some Republicans did support the measure, however. Most notable was U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who is vying to serve as the next chair of the Colorado Republican Party.
But Williams hadn’t yet secured support in the Senate, so he and co-sponsor Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver, paused the bill after House Democrats had approved it in a second vote. Putting the measure up for a third and final vote in the House without a sponsor in the Senate would have effectively killed the bill.
“Over the next several weeks, I’ll continue reaching out to county chairs and any other central committee voters and personally asking them to work with me to support this necessary bylaw change,” Williams said.