Bill Writing

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Colorado lawmakers estimate that at least half of the major bills pending this year have been written by lobbyists and political consultants, people who work on behalf of corporations, state agencies or constituencies like organized labor.

Experts say many lawmakers lack the paid staff to draft bills. They also say term limits have trimmed the ranks of legislators familiar with complicated issues such as school finance and tax law.

Pete Maysmith of Colorado Common Cause says the system has the potential for abuse by organizations that have more power and resources than lawmakers.

But he says abuses are difficult to prove because of the state's lax record-keeping.