|Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 13th district
January 10, 2007 – October 31, 2013
|Preceded by||Tom Plant|
|Succeeded by||KC Becker|
July 3, 1956 |
|Alma mater||Case Western Reserve University
Claire Levy (born July 3, 1956) is a former legislator in the U.S. state of Colorado. Elected to the Colorado House of Representatives as a Democrat in 2006, Levy represented House District 13, which encompasses Clear Creek, Gilpin, and eastern Boulder counties. Levy was named the Executive Director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy on November 1, 2013. The Colorado Center on Law and Policy is a Denver-based nonprofit organization working to advance the health, economic security and well-being of low-income Coloradans through research, education, advocacy and litigation.
- 1 Early career
- 2 Legislative career
- 2.1 2006 campaign
- 2.2 2007 legislative session
- 2.3 2008 legislative session
- 2.4 2008 election
- 2.5 2009 legislative session
- 2.6 2010 legislative session
- 2.7 2010 election
- 2.8 2011 legislative session
- 2.9 2012 legislative session
- 2.10 2012 election
- 2.11 Resignation from Colorado House of Representatives
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Moving to Denver in 1982, Levy worked as a deputy public defender in the Colorado State Public Defender's Office from 1983 to 1986, representing indigents accused of felonies. After moving to Boulder in 1986, Levy briefly worked in private practice with Buchan, Gray, Purvis, and Scheutze. In 1989, she took a job in the Jefferson County Attorney's office focusing on land use and planning issues. Since 1999, Levy has worked in private practice in Boulder.
Levy has served as a precinct captain for the Boulder County Democratic Party, on the boards of PLAN Boulder County (where she has also been vice-chair and chair), the Boulder Arts Academy, and the Boulder Ballet, and as a member of the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee (including three years as its chair), the Boulder County Housing Authority, and the City of Boulder Planning Board. Levy has two daughters, Mara and Ellie.
Claire Levy faced Jim Rettew, an instructor at the University of Colorado in the Democratic Party primary for House District 13 to succeed term limited Rep. Tom Plant. In the reliably Democratic district, the two candidates differed primarily on emphasis, rather than the substance of issues, with Levy placing her focus on global warming, schools and health care. Levy also accumulated an extensive list of endorsements from local organizations and Democratic Party leaders.
Levy won 71% of the vote at the party assembly for the house district, forcing Rettew to petition onto the primary ballot. She again prevailed in the primary election, earning over 60% of the popular vote and the Democratic Party's nomination for the legislature. Having won her party primary and facing only a Libertarian opponent, Levy dedicated her political efforts during the remainder of the election season to promoting Referendum I, a statewide domestic partnerships initiative. In the general election, Levy defeated Libertarian Rand Fanshier with over 80% of the vote.
2007 legislative session
|Bills Introduced in 2007 by Rep. Levy
(for which Rep. Levy is the primary originating sponsor)
|HB07-1037||Concerning measures to promote energy efficiency [...].||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB07-1146||Concerning the requirements that certain local governments adopt an energy efficiency code in connection with the construction of certain buildings.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB07-1165||Concerning the application of county building code requirements to structures used exclusively for agricultural purposes.||Passed House and Senate in different versions|
|HB07-1242||Concerning higher education loan repayment assistance programs for students from institutions of higher education who enter public interest careers.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB07-1246||Concerning the creation of guidelines for the enhanced predictability of discretionary land use decisions made by local governments.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB07-1362||Concerning clarification of the documents required for creation of a common interest community [...]||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
In the 2007 session of the Colorado General Assembly, Levy sat on the House Judiciary Committee, the House Transportation and Energy Committee, the Legal Services Committee, and was vice-chair of the Joint Rule 36 Complaint Committee. The Rule 36 complaint committee reviews allegations of misconduct by lobbyists, and, during the 2007 session, heard a case involving robocalls made by a lobbyist for business leaders; Levy voted with the majority of the committee, which found that the calls, although deceptive, were protected political speech.
During the 2007 session, Levy was a prominent proponent of legislation related to energy efficiency standards. Successful legislation introduced by Levy included measures to require local governments to include updated energy-efficiency standards in building codes, to require utility companies to provide rebates to customers who use energy-efficient products,  and to add a 50-cent fee to natural gas bills to pay for energy-efficiency programs. She was also the House sponsor of a Senate bill to impose new energy-efficiency standards on state buildings.
Following the legislative session, Levy sat on the interim Transportation Legislation Review Committee.
She received a total score of 4.0 out of a possible 100 for her votes that related to taxation from the Colorado Union of Taxpayers during the 2007 session.
2008 legislative session
|Bills Introduced in 2008 by Rep. Levy
(for which Rep. Levy is the primary originating sponsor)
|HB08-1033||Concerning the tax credit for costs incurred in preservation of historic properties.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB08-1107||Concerning measures to promote energy efficiency by retail electric utilities in which ultimate managerial control is vested in customers of such utilities.||Postponed indefinitely in Senate committee|
|HB08-1148||Concerning the sufficiency of the assertion of a claim for title to real property by adverse possession under Colorado law.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB08-1193||Concerning prohibiting a judge from presiding over a case in which a judge of the same court is a party.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB08-1208||Concerning juveniles against whom charges are directly filed in a district court.||Vetoed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB08-1312||Concerning transportation planning, and [...] establishing new transportation system performance efficiency and sustainability goals, requiring consideration and land use planning issues and adverse impacts during the transportation planning process, and specifying other new requirements [...]||Postponed indefinitely in House committee|
|HB08-1354||Concerning authorization for the regional transportation district to finance transportation projects by issuing specified types of bonds authorized by federal law.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB08-1408||Concerning the implementation of additional requirements on a corporate income taxpayer to verify the validity of transactions related to real estate investment trusts.||Vetoed by Gov. Ritter|
In the 2008 session of the Colorado General Assembly, Levy sat on the House Judiciary Committee, the House Transportation and Energy Committee, and the Joint Legal Services Committee; she also sat on a special committee that recommended the censure of Rep. Douglas Bruce for kicking a photographer,  and a special ethics panel investigating possible conflicts of interest for Colorado State Fair engineering contracts received by Sen. Abel Tapia. She was also named assistant chair of the house majority caucus for the 2008 session of the Colorado General Assembly.
In the 2008 legislative session, Levy introduced bills to prioritize transportation funds for communities that engage in smart growth planning, to impose new fees on vehicles with low fuel economies to fund the state's Office of Smart Growth, and a bill to extend state tax credits for historic preservation. A bill to require electric utilities to devote 2 percent of sales revenue to energy efficiency programs passed the house over objections that it would prove costly to municipal electric authorities.
Another of Levy's bills would have given judges, rather than prosecutors, discretion over whether minors can be charged as adults in criminal court. Although the legislation passed the state house, and was weakened in the Senate before final passage, it was vetoed by Gov. Bill Ritter, a former prosecutor.
Levy's campaign treasurer, Edith Stevens, was the target of vocal public criticism in late 2007 after she and her husband, a former district judge, won control of a parcel of a neighbor's property through adverse possession. Levy stood behind Stevens and her husband under pressure to disassociate them from her campaign, but Stevens ultimately resigned from her position as Levy's campaign treasurer. Following the controversy, Levy signed on during the 2008 session as a co-sponsor on legislation to modify Colorado's adverse possession law, and introduced legislation that would prevent county and district court judges from presiding over cases involving another current or former judge from the same jurisdiction. Both measures were passed by the General Assembly and were signed into law by Gov. Ritter.
In response to recommendations issued by a state commission on health care, Levy has expressed a desire to introduce legislation to create a single-payer health care system in Colorado, and has indicated that she may sponsor such a bill late in the 2008 session.
Levy was also a prominent voice of opposition to increased spending on security measures for the state capitol following a 2007 shooting in the building, arguing that existing security was sufficient and that the capitol was not a high-profile target.
Late in the 2008 legislative session, Levy announced that she would sponsor legislation to require disclosure by corporations of self-owned, or "captive" real estate investment trusts, a practice she denounced as a "a tax-evasion scheme" used by companies including Wal-Mart. Although the measure passed the state legislature, it was vetoed by Gov. Bill Ritter, who cited problematic "technical aspects of the bill."
Levy sought seeking a second term in the Colorado House of Representatives in 2008. She faced businessman Robert Houdeshell, who entered the race in June 2008. During the campaign, Levy cited energy efficiency, health care, and education as her top priorities for a second term. Levy's re-election bid was endorsed by the Denver Post, the Boulder Daily Camera, and the Boulder Weekly. She won re-election with 74 percent of the popular vote.
During the 2008 election cycle, Levy moderated a Sierra Club-sponsored debate between Democratic Colorado State Senate candidates Cindy Carlisle and Rollie Heath, and backed Joan Fitz-Gerald in the contested Democratic primary for Colorado's 2nd Congressional district.
In this legislative session, she received a score of 11.11 out of a possible 100 from the Colorado Union of Taxpayers. She introduced HB-1033 Tax Credit for Historic Preservation, which extended income tax credits for ten years for qualified costs in preservation of historic properties. This shifted renovation costs of private property to the taxpayers, which resulted in less money in the Highway Users Tax Fund. The full cost of HB-1033 to the taxpayer was $565,000 in fiscal year 2009/10, and is estimated at $1,130,000 annually from 2010/11 through 2018/19.
2009 legislative session
|Bills Introduced in 2009 by Rep. Levy
(for which Rep. Levy is the primary originating sponsor)
|HB09-1093||Concerning additional income tax reporting requirements for a corporate taxpayer.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB09-1094||Concerning wireless telephone prohibitions for drivers.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB09-1166||Concerning the use of a pay-as-you-drive rate structure for determining premium rates for automobile insurance policies.||Postponed indefinitely in House committee|
|HB09-1186||Concerning the delivery of a mail-in ballot to the designated election official by the elector.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB09-1190||Concerning the enactment of the "Uniform Unsworn Foreign Declarations Act."||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB09-1284||Concerning corridor capacity strategic planning to foster transportation efficiency.||Defeated in Senate on second reading|
|HB09-1286||Concerning the repeal and reenactment of the "Uniform Parentage Act."||Postponed indefinitely in House committee|
|HB09-1305||Concerning limitations on the requirements for cost bonds in civil lawsuits.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB09-1310||Concerning the misclassification of employees as independent contractors for purposes of the "Colorado Employment Security Act," [...]||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB09-1321||Concerning the placement of a juvenile who is awaiting trial in district court.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB09-1323||Concerning energy efficiency programs implemented by cooperative electric associations.||Laid over by House on second reading|
|HB09-1352||Concerning adding commission of certain proscribed acts by government officials to the list of deceptive trade practices.||Postponed indefinitely in Senate committee|
For the 2009 legislative session, Levy was named to a seat on the Legislative Legal Services Committee and tapped to chair the House Judiciary Committee her selection was criticized by some House Republicans, who alleged that she was "soft on crime." After winning a second term, Levy was also elected Majority Whip by state house Democrats. Shortly before the beginning of the session, Levy was also named to a five-member ethics panel charged with investigating allegations of vote-buying on the part of Rep. David Balmer in a house leadership election; the case against Balmer was dropped due to lack of evidence.
In response to incidents of distracted driving in Colorado news, Levy first planned on sponsoring legislation to restrict text messaging while driving; however, after a fatal Colorado accident in November 2008, Levy expanded the bill's scope to ban both texting and cell phone headset use while driving. However, the final version that passed the legislature was significantly weakened, banning cell phone use only by drivers under 18, but still banning texting while driving for adult drivers. Although criticized by some law enforcement personnel as difficult to enforce, the ban went into effect in December 2009.
She introduced SB-051 Concerning measures to facilitate the financing of energy-efficient structures. This Bill significantly increased the role of the state in forcing citizens to use solar energy. The program administrators, who are unelected, will award the contracts worth tens of millions of dollars. In 2009, she received a score of 9.68 out of a possible 100 from the Colorado Union of Taxpayers based on her voting record in relation to government spending.
Levy again sponsored legislation to close a tax loophole for captive real estate investment trusts, and a bill to allow voters to drop off mail ballots at polling places. Two environmental measures sponsored by Levy failed — bills to create a corridor capacity strategic plan for the state transportation system and a bill to allow rural electric cooperatives to implement energy efficiency programs.
Near the end of the legislative session, Levy was the house sponsor of a failed sentencing reform measure which would reduce penalties for non-violent criminal offenders. Following the legislative session, Levy, a member of the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice, was a member of a commission task force charged with studying possible sentencing reforms.
2010 legislative session
|This section requires expansion. (November 2012)|
During the 2010 Colorado General Assembly, Levy plans on sponsoring legislation to require jail time for repeat DUI offenders, and legislation to require additional disclosure surrounding board elections for rural electric cooperatives. In 2010, she received a score of 8.33 out of a possible 100 from the Colorado Union of Taxpayers for her voting record in relation to government spending.
|This section requires expansion. (November 2012)|
2011 legislative session
|This section requires expansion. (November 2012)|
2012 legislative session
|This section requires expansion. (November 2012)|
In the 2012 General Election, Representative Levy faced Republican challenger Adam Ochs. Levy was reelected by a wide margin of 67% to 27% with an additional 5% of the vote going to libertarian candidate Howard P. Lambert.
Resignation from Colorado House of Representatives
Levy resigned her position in the Colorado House of Representatives on October 31, 2013 to become the Executive Director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy on November 1, 2013.
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