Colorado Senate Republicans rejected a proposed appointee to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission today, a rarely used blockade that was done after business groups complained about not having a voice on the board.
Heidi Jeanne Hess of Clifton, a West Slope organizer for the LGBTQ advocacy group One Colorado, had served on the commission for several years. Until recently, however, the commission’s website had listed her as the business representative to the board, although she worked for a nonprofit advocacy group.
Tony Gagliardi, Colorado director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said he inquired how Hess could speak for the business community and found that the website soon listed her instead as a community member at large. But when she was slotted for reappointment this year, he and at least one other business group questioned legislators about what role she would fill.
On Friday, state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, aired similar concerns on the Senate floor, saying that Hess presented a conflict to any business appointment because she and her organization had pushed in 2013 for the successful passage of what became known as the “Sue Your Boss” bill. House Bill 13-1136 expanded the ability of plaintiffs in discrimination lawsuits to get multiple forms of damages, even against the smallest companies.