No ‘responsive’ records on lobbyist-written bill highlights legislative transparency issue

From The state senator who carried a lobbyist-written bill this session on elderly care changes contends he has no records about his interaction with special-interest lobbyists on the topic, highlighting what critics say is a major problem in legislative transparency.

State Sen. David Balmer, R-Centennial, was the prime sponsor for Senate Bill 137, which allowed for-profits to provide a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, and InnovAge, one of the top PACE providers, paid lobbyists about $150,000 to write the bill and get it signed into law, according to interviews and lobbying records.

But when asked for records, emails and documents related to the interactions between Balmer, InnovAge and the lobbyists, legislative staff wrote that Balmer did not have any documentation.

“Senator Balmer has reviewed the records in his custody and informed this office that he does not have any records responsive to your request,” Office of Legislative Legal Services director Dan Cartin wrote this week.

Cartin noted there was plenty of information about the bill on the legislative website, including bill history, committee actions, fiscal notes and the amended legislation.

But none of the information on the website provides documentation about Balmer’s contacts with lobbyists on the bill.

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