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SB 152 internet election is today in Cortez

Cortez will have an election June 8 to ask voters to opt out of telecommunication law SB 152. (Journal file photo)
Cortez voters asked to opt out of telecommunication law

Cortez voters will decide today whether to opt out of Senate Bill 152, a Colorado telecommunication bill passed in 2005.

The special municipal election has just the one question on the ballot.

Ballots must be received by the city by 7 p.m. They can be dropped off inside City Hall, at 123 Roger Smith Ave., or at the ballot drop-off box behind City Hall next to the water bill drop-off box.

Ballots were mailed out to 5,330 registered voters in Cortez on May 14. It is too late to mail in ballots; they must be dropped off by 7 p.m.

SB 152 restricts the ability of towns and counties from entering into public-private partnerships to provide internet services and build related infrastructure.

SB 152 includes an opt-out provision if voters decide to exempt their community.

The Cortez ballot question states:

“Without increasing taxes, shall the authority of the City of Cortez to provide high-speed internet services (advanced services), telecommunication services, and cable television services (as defined in Title 29, Article 27, Part 1, Colorado Revised Statutes) be affirmed and reestablished, with such services to be provided either directly or indirectly with public or private sector partners to potential subscribers that may include telecommunications service providers, residential and commercial users, public and nonprofit entities, and other users, without limiting its home rule authority?”

As of Jan. 2019, 142 Colorado communities had opted out of SB 152, including 40 counties and 102 municipalities.

Voters in Montezuma County and the towns of Dolores and Mancos agreed to opt out of SB 152 in 2016 by large margins. La Plata County, Durango, Bayfield, Ignacio, Telluride, Montrose and Grand Junction also voted to opt out of the legislation.