Printed on 1/13/14

Freedom Watch 2013

Home / The Issues / 2013 Session


So much that happens at the legislature happens in very small steps, but each step leads in a clear direction. Far too often that direction is for more government control of private businesses, individual citizens, and families.
2013 Freedom Watch is my journal of those many steps that are taken every day during the legislative session.

It is a compilation of the good bills, the bad bills, and any other actions of note. Unfortunately, the good bills promoting healthy families, freedom and personal responsibility are rare and will seldom be found in a list of bills passed by the Colorado legislature in 2013.

Bills that take steps in the right direction, or bad bills that are defeated will be listed in bold typeface.

Here is my running commentary on the 2013 session, with the latest entry at the top of the page:



May

3 - The final bill of this morning's third reading (21 bills in all - they all passed, of course) was HB-1293. This bill creates a "climate change" office in the governor's office. It passed, party-line. So now the governor has an official direction from the legislature to come up with a "climate action plan." Wow, the extreme left continues to push Colorado off the cliff.

It is now 8:05 PM. By the time the day is done we probably will have blown through 80-85 bills. It is difficult to keep up. Now, 10 minutes later I am able to get back to the keyboard. Right now HB-1295 is up, imposing sales tax on internet sales. When fully implemented it will be about $75,000,000!

2 - It is third reading. We are debating HB-1303, the Same-day Voter Fraud Act. This bill would allow anybody to register and vote with just a utility bill, all on the last day of the election. The ballots will be counted long before any complete verification of the voter. It is obvious, this is a party-line vote.

After four hours of third reading debate the Same-day Voter Fraud Act passed on a party-line vote.

Now in HHS committee. HB-1271 is up for a vote. It is a $1.2 to 3 million program to create a statewide child abuse hotline for child abuse reporting. Never mind that fact that there already are several options available (911, local county offices, some 24/7 hotlines at the county level, local police, etc.). Over my objection, the bill passed.

Next up is HB-1290, further restricting small group medical insurance products, driving up the costs to employers for this "stop-loss" system of insurance. One insurance broker said it was entirely possible that the rates will go up by 20% or more AND the employer will have to increase the reserves they must maintain by an additional $5000 per employee (a 25% increase).

Now we have HB-1309, increasing the standards for mandatory coverage for breast imaging, driving up the cost of medical insurance, again.

The final debate on HB-1154, the abortion bill is in progress at this time. This bill ostensibly deals with fetal homicide, but it goes way beyond to strip away all Colorado laws limiting abortion. It also has specific language that is decidedly anti-prolife. I offered an amendment that would only deal with fetal homicide, but that was rejected. Ironically the bill talks of "...a human being at any time prior to live birth." but denies that human being has any legal status or protection. It also speaks of "...extreme indifference to the value of human life." as a component of unlawful termination of pregnancy in the third degree, but the bill denies any legal status and protection to human beings waiting to be born.

HB-1154 passes, 21-14. All Democrats supported the bill, plus one Republican (Roberts).

1 - In HHS committee this morning we had HB-1291, spending $3 million on subsidies for preschool programs. The proponents cited studies that supposedly prove the cost effectiveness of these programs. One problem: my office had already done the research on these studies and the studies cited don't hold up to careful scrutiny. The bottom line is this: programs like Head Start show no long-term improvements, they cost a lot of money, and they carry an assumption that parents are not up to the task.

The other bill in HHS was HB-1271 which creates a new, bigger, more comprehensive system of collecting information on child abuse reporting. It will be statewide, interfacing with local county social services offices. It will cost $1.2 to 3 million to run each year. The sponsors admit that the county systems are working today and that there are 24 numbers to call. In fact 911 is the easiest one to remember and we do not need another $1.2 - 3 million to keep that system in place. This bill will be laid over to tomorrow's HHS meeting, so we wait (with baited breath) for the vote outcome tomorrow.

The bigger bill in Judiciary today is, curiously, a bill that more belongs in HHS. It will license naturopathic doctors. These are not medical doctors, they are focused on nutrition, homeopathy, etc.. Not only will this be one more profession to be regulated, but it will only allow a small number of naturaopaths to obtain a license (about 120), the rest within the profession (1000 ) will be excluded because of the schools they have trained at are not accepted. We have seen this bill come up for several years, but it has always failed. This year it made it through the first house. There are many people on both sides at this hearing. The final vote was 3-1 (I was the no vote).






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April

30 - Back at it at 7:30 AM in Health and Human Services committee.
SB-278 passed, creating a new category for mandatory reporters of child abuse to consider. This category is "drug endangered child." With a flurry of amendments trying to work around the difference between federal and state policies on marihuana, it is even more obvious how impossible it will be for the multitude of mandatory reporters to understand, much less follow the requirements of SB-278.

Following SB-278 we had HB-1245 in committee. This bill funds the health care exchange for the next couple of years. It takes several sources for the money, the most significant is the funding for Cover Colorado. Totals are $22,608,000 for next year, and $19,356,000 for the next year. So... the total for the bill is about $42,000,000. It passed on a party-line vote.

The rest of this morning was spent on the Senate floor.
23 bills were voted on (and all approved) in third reading.
Including one great bill, HB-1194, providing in-state tuition for military dependents.

Also included were several bad bills (pretty much party-line votes):
HB-1117 - putting most early childhood programs under Dept. of Human Services,
HB-1142 - increases tax credits for enterprise zone areas,
HB - 1105 - mortgage subsidies for energy efficient homes,
SB-279 - requires schools to meet energy efficiency standards for neww schools,
HB-1266 - align Colorado law to Obamacare requirements,
HB-1263 - regulate nonprofit occupational schools,
HB-1215 - ban and/or restrict minors from commercial tanning salons.

This evening, at 5:00 PM we come back on the floor to debate HB-1003, the same day voter registration bill. I call it the 2013 Voter Fraud Act.

Tonight we are on HB-1303, what I am now calling the "Same-day Voter Fraud Act." This 128 page bill radically changes Colorado election law. It creates all mail ballots, allows registration on the same day as the final Election Day. This bill would allow a person to register and vote on Election Day with no more identification than a utility bill.

After much debate, explaining why this bill should be named the Same-day Voter Fraud Act, my amendment was defeated on a party-line vote.

Senator Harvey presented an amendment that would require a photo ID for registering and voting on Election Day. It was defeated on a party-line vote.



29 - This morning in second reading we are at it again. Right now SB-279 is up. This bill requires all new school buildings be energy efficient. Great, except:
a. It is not the state's business to dictate this unfunded mandate.
b. Local school districts, and charter schools should be making these local decisions.
c. Charters, in particular will be hit with higher operating costs with these mandates.
d. The outside "experts" that must be consulted through this process will drive up costs higher.

In Judiciary Committee this afternoon the big bill we have before us is HB-1304. This bill will require unemployment insurance (UI) be paid to union workers who are in a "defensive lockout." This will create a new liability for UI. The bill passed on a party-line.

26 - HB-1136 passed, essentially party-line (one Democrat, Jahn, joined the Republicans in voting no). The bill passed with no amendments. We ran several amendments trying to moderate this bill. It is as extreme a policy on discrimination lawsuits as any state in the nation. Small businesses will suffer and jobs will be lost.

HB-1154 was heard in seconds. This bill ostensibly deals with fetal homicide, but it goes way beyond to strip away all Colorado laws limiting abortion. It also has specific language that is decidedly anti-prolife. I offered an amendment that would only deal with fetal homicide, but that was rejected. Ironically the bill talks of "...a human being at any time prior to live birth." but denies that human being has any legal status or protection. It also speaks of "...extreme indifference to the value of human life." as a component of unlawful termination of pregnancy in the third degree, but the bill denies any legal status and protection to human beings waiting to be born. After much passionate debate (mostly on our part), the bill passed.

25 - In HHS committee, early morning before 9:00 AM roll call, we are considering HB-1266. This is a 159 page bill aligning Colorado's laws to Obamacare. It is just a footnote to the 2700 page federal legislation, but, because it is an integral part of the web that has been spun around our medical care industry, it is just as bad.

Later, on the Senate floor, SB-251 passed, creating a Colorado drivers license for illegal immigrants.

Here we go again (for the umtenth time) later in the day, in HHS we heard HB-1239. This bill is "concerning the creation of a statewide youth development plan." It will empower the state to come up with a comprehensive plan for managing youth activities within the state.

One point of clarification: the words "managing youth activities" are my words. I am trying to capture the sense of this bill in as few words as possible. The bill only talks of developing the plan, but it is so comprehensive that the management side of the programs is obvious to anyone who has seen how these programs work out.

Over my objection, the bill passed HHS committee.

HB-1239 passed and now we are on SB-278, creating a definition of a "drug-endangered child" for mandatory reporting of child abuse issues. On the surface this may sound reasonable, but the definition of "drug-endangered child" is troubling. Illegal drugs are defined by federal standards, not state standards and the definition is quite subjective. Since mandatory reporters (which covers several dozen professions) can be charged with a crime if they fail to report it is a serious problem if the definition of child abuse is not well understood and clearly defined.

In the evening we found ourselves on the Senate floor again (what a day). The big bill is HB-1136, saddling small businesses (less than 15 employees) with the same liabilities for employee discrimination lawsuits as big employers are subject to under federal law. This bill will move Colorado to the head of the line for anti-small business policies in this arena. We spent four hours on this debate.

The majority party rejected all amendments. They refused any modification to this job killing bill. The bill passed.

24 - At a special HHS meeting at 8:00 AM HB-1215 was heard. The original bill bans commercial tanning bed salons for minors under 15 and require a parent's consent for minors 15 to 18. There is also an amendment being proposed to ban all minors, without a prescription.

The docs want the state to ban the beds for minors. One parent had a remarkable idea - let parents make this decision. The tanning bed ban bill is taking more time than we have before roll call (scheduled for 9:00 AM), so the vote will have to wait until our next meeting.

On the Senate floor, we debated a resolution on immigration. The Republican leadership worked with the sponsor (Aguilar) to make the resolution a document that simply states the problems, promotes border security, and keeps away from specific "fixes" that might look like amnesty. This has given us an opportunity to talk about the problem of illegal immigration without a knock-down, drag-out battle on the vote.

At noon HHS voted on the tanning bed restrictions for minors. It passed, party-line.

SB-251passed second reading on the Senate floor, creating a drivers license for illegal immigrants. The only documents they need to provide is a Colorado tax return and one of the following: a passport, a consular identification card, or a military identification document (from any country). I am calling this the Colorado Amnesty Act, Part One (Part Two is the Voter Fraud Act (my title) creating same day voter registration).

23 - On the Senate second reading calendar there are several bills that gnaw away at our perogative to run our own lives. SB-261 promotes fluoridation of water supplies (many citizens have great concerns), SB-219 puts a statewide program in place for "remediating" houses exposed to illegal drugs (will impact, according to the experts, "tens of thousands of homes"), SB-266 sets up a new, statewide, $25,000,000 "Coordinated Behavioral Health Crisis Response" program (never let a crisis go to waste), and HB-1117, consolidating state operated early childhood programs under the Department of Humaan Services. HB-1117 is similar to a billthat was killed in the House last year, but this year big centralized government consolidation ideas flly through the legislature.

In Judiciary SB-259 is back on the table. The amendments would now call the registration of private investigators "registration," but it is very similar to a full licensure system. Not only will they be required to register with the state, they will be required to pass a test, pay a fee, and obtain bonding. SB-259 passes... party-line.

22 - In third reading HB-1272 passed, increasing taxes on candy, soft drinks, cigarettes, direct mail and to go food containers.

We got one! SB-239 would have shut down some businesses who provide probation services and counseling services. The reason for the bill (according to the sponsor) is to eliminate potential conflict of interest. However, it came out in committee that they also provide their services for half the cost of other providers. We brought this out in second reading, and got the bill killed.

Here we go, again, SB-259 will require all private investigators to be licensed. We have a voluntary license, which few PIs wanted, so now they want to force everyone into the regulation system. It seems that DORA (Department of Regulatory Affairs) needs more money for this program, so they need to force everyone into their system.

19 - On third reading in the Senate we had 21 bills to vote on, including the following controversial bills:
SB-242 - $53,000,000 Medicaid expansion for dental benefits,
SB-260 - $5,500,000,000 school finance act,
SB-222 - statewide vaccine purchasing program,
HB-1006 - creates a school breakfast program "after the bell" (during the academic school hours), and
HB-1152 - creates a new tax on natural gas and electric vehicles, without a vote of the people.

All bills passed.

18 - In third reading HB-1222 passed, expanding the Family Medical Leave Act to include civil unions in Colorado. In second reading SB-242 passed, spending $53 million/year for a dental Medicaid expansion for adults. SB-210 passed, adjusting employment policies for corrections officers, effectively raising salaries by about $2.5 million(but the bill title does not really speak to salaries).

In HHS we considered SB-261, which will promote fluoridation of water, along with some other public health dental issues. A close look at SB-261 reveals it is, among other things, a manifesto for fluoridation of water. I had a hot conversation with the chairman as she was trying to get me to back off from the uncomfortable truth that not everyone thinks water fluoridation is a great idea. I am a no vote. The bill passed, 6-1.

17 - In third reading SB-001 passed on a party-line vote, creating a permanent program for a refundable child tax-credit. I argued against the bill, as it is a clear program for redistribution of wealth. I like some tax credits, but refundable tax-credits means the government gives them the money even if they did not owe any tax.

In second reading I submitted an amendment to HB-1222. The bill is requiring civil unions to be included in the Colorado list of reasons for family leave requirements for employers (FMLA). My amendment would have allowed an exception for sincerely held religious beliefs. My religious belief conscience amendment was defeated, essentially along party-lines.

The sponsor of the bill called my amendment discrimination. I countered with the observation that to subject employers with these mandates is discrimination against anyone holding sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to the requirements of this legislation.

In HHS committee, we have another new program, this time a coordinated effort to improve care by hospitals for heart attack and stroke victims. My question is, why is this the business of government? Would not the Colorado Hospital Association, on the private side, be the better organizer for this new program? I am a no vote for this idea as it is another new government program.

The bill was amended to take some of the teeth out of it, but I am still a no to the overall philosophy.

Next bill up in HHS, SB-266, creates a "coordinated behavioral health response system for communities throughout the state." Need I say more? Despite my no vote, the bill passed the committee.

Later in this day, in Judiciary, we had a very shrewd bill, HB-1154, which strikes all statutes against abortion in Colorado law, it adds fetal homicide criminal laws, and specifically strips all rights and protections from human beings who are yet to be born. Fetal homicide should be a criminal offense, but a bill that strips any protection or even admission of human beings yet to be born cannot be justified by one appropriate goal of the legislation.

HB-1154 passed. Party-line.

I must give some final comments on HB-1154. Despite all of the artful comments by the proponents insisting that this bill was simply about the criminal act of fetal homicide, the bill overtly withholds "personhood" from the unborn (while, ironically, calling the unborn "human beings" in the language of the bill) and it removes all statutes limiting abortion in Colorado. Even though all of those laws have been rendered inoperable by Roe v Wade, if that decision is ever overturned, those laws would then be in effect. The sponsor knows that and that is the only reason I can see for their insisting on stripping away these laws.

Bottom line: I believe HB-1154 is designed to move abortion rights as far down the field as can be done with this type of bill. It is not a middle ground, it is as extreme as can be designed. It is highjacking a legitimate issue (fetal homicide) to promote abortion.

I offered to present an amendment that truly (and only) deals with fetal homicide on the Senate floor. When the vote is cast on that amendment we shall see if the proponents are serious about justice for fetal homicide, or, if they reject such an amendment, what may be their agenda.

Okay, now we are on to another bill, SB-239. This bill is concerning providers of substance abuse counseling. It would prohibit a company who provides case management to also provide the counseling services. Here is the catch: this will eliminate providers who are half the cost of counseling as the other counselors. The difference is (on average) $100/month versus $50/month. It would appear that the more efficient system is being muscled out of business by the more expensive counseling services.

SB-239 passed, another party-line vote.

16 - Here we are again, on the Senate floor in the evening working through a large number of bills on second reading. Most notable to the debates (so far), was an amendment to SB-215. This bill allows alternative medical people to operate without fear of violating the law if they declare they are not licensed and stay within their scope of practice. The most notable part was Sen. Aguilar, while presenting an amendment to restrict such services for children under 2, declared that these professionals "were not educated." She also indicated she did not like the fact that parents can choose to not have their children vacinated. The amendment failed (yea!) and the bill passed.

15 - Non-stop legislation again today. We spent all morning on third and final reading on several bills, including a new mandate for reporting elder-abuse, Medicaid expansion ($1,200,000,000), and SB-252 - increasing the renewable energy mandate from 10% to 25%. Debate on SB-252 was suspended for committies this afternoon. We will be back on the floor to continue SB-252 at 5:00 PM.

At 5:00 PM we returned to the Senate floor for the final debate for SB-252. I reminded the Senate of some of the reasons why global warming is not an established fact, which is the only reason they gave for their support of SB-252. I also pointed out how slippery it is to determine the real cost of SB-252. Others talked of the significant cost to businesses, citizens, and schools. All of rural Colorado will suffer from SB-252.

SB-252 passes, virtually party-line (Hodge-D and Tochtrop-D also voted no).

It should also be noted that several other bills passed third reading:

SB-111 creates a mandatory reporting system for elder abuse.
SB-191 gives pipeline companies the power of eminent domain over private property owners.
SB-200 expands Medicaid in Colorado, spending over a billion dollars more per year.

12 - With the exception of the final vote on the budget bill (I, along with the rest of the Republican caucus, voted no), the big event today was SB-252, forcing REAs to an increase of renewable energy standards from 10% to 25%.

SB-252 is a multi-million dollar levy on Rural Colorado.

We spent almost nine hours debating SB-252 in second reading. The debate presented at the mic was nearly all in opposition to the bill. The proponents had virtually no arguments against our concerns. The bill still passed, with no Republican support.

After SB-252 they put SJR-021, setting up a committee to recommend a single-payer system for Colorado's medical system. This is Aguilar's "backup" to SCR-002, which she killed earlier today (because she needed Republican votes). SJR-021 passed, on a strict party-line vote.

11 - In HHS SB-219 creates more regulations for cleaning up houses exposed to methamphetamine. There are already regulations, both at the state and local levels, but this bill will require certification of remediation professionals and add new mandated procedures, from the state Department of Health and Environment. The bill passed committee 6-1 (I was the no vote).

Next bill up is HB-1222, folding civil union partners into the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act for employees and employers in Colorado. The bill passed committee 5-2 (I was a no vote).

10 - On the Senate floor I sponsored a memorial honoring former Senator Jim Roberts, who died last year. It was good to stop and remember a gentleman who was a member of the Senate from 1991 to 1994. Former Rep. Jim Welker joined us, along with members of Sen. Roberts family and friends.

In HHS we passed SB-207, expanding the scope of practice for mental health professionals to include a form of acupuncture. Almost anytime we relent on the prohibitions on licensed professionals, I think it is a good idea.


In Judiciary committee SB-251 is up. This will create a drivers license for illegal immigrants. This will turn policy for Colorado drivers licenses upside down. Colorado's drivers licenses are one of the most secure and verifiable documents in the country. By allowing license for illegal immigrants the Colroado license will be one of the least verifiable in the country. It will open up the possibilty that the federal government may stop honoring a Colorado license at airports and federal buildings. This policy is also a significant step toward amnesty here in Colorado.

The argument for SB-251 is "safety," they are saying when drivers are licensed they are more likely to be insured and are more competent drivers. I expect more drivers would be insured, but I question anyone would automatically become more competent. Those who drive today, who are not good drivers, and therefore may not be able to get a license, would not stop driving. However, Colorado would become more of a magnet for illegal immigrants, and we will then multiply the problems associated with a growing population of illegal immigrants. I do not see a net gain from this legislation.

Final vote on SB-251 in Senate Judiciary: 3-2, it passes on a party-line.

8 - Interesting development in Judiciary committee today. The first bill, SB-227 is concerning protecting rape victims from contact with the father (I supported the bill). However, because a witness at the hearing had a reticence to have their likeness video taped, the chairperson, Sen. Guzman, banned all press cameras from the hearing. I can understand showing sensitivity to someone who is concerned for the very public nature of legislative public hearings, but it is overkill to completely ban press cameras from the public hearing. I was told that the person who did not want their picture on TV agreed to recording the audio of their voice, but the chairperson would not allow any press recording. For the record I protested the ban. Public hearings are not very public if the presss is not allowed to do their work.

SB-210 changes the way overtime is accounted for in the Department of Corrections for corrections officers. The current system, as described, is awkward and confusing. However, it is also a fairly significant pay increase, which may or may not be warranted, but that is not how the bill was presented. I voted no because this is a $2.4 million pay increase without adequate discussion.

5 - Today on the Senate floor we considered HB-1258, which repealed SB-06-090. This was the bill that prohibited sanctuary cities in Colorado and put in place procedures, which were never adequately followed. I submitted an amendment with a good faith effort to find common ground by simply removing the disfunctional parts of the law, but preserving the general prohibition of sanctuary cities. On essentially a party-line, the amendment was rejected (one Democrat, Sen. Nickelson was out of the room, and therefore accounted as a yes vote). Hence, the Democrat party took full responsibility for endorsing santuary cities.

In HHS we just passed a $53,000,000 (according to the fiscal note) expansion of Medicaid for adult dental care. I was the only no vote.

HHS is now on to SB-222, which is as close to a universal vaccine purchasing program as the sponsor (Sen. Aguilar) said she can make the bill. This bill empowers the Department of Health and Environment to run the program, with as little oversight from the legislature as possible

Wow, for the last several minutes in HHS committee (about 1:30 PM) Sen. Aguilar has clearly stated she wants to keep the legislature out of the decision making process for SB-222's immunization vaccine purchasing program. She said that her view of "Citizens United" is a big reason why she wants to minimize the legislature's role. That means she thinks big money from big corporations is how the legislature is governed. Big money can have a big influence, but only if we will let it have that influence. Her confidence in a socialized medical system is far higher than the private, free-market system, which I find ironic, as big government systems will be less accountable and therefore more tyrannical than any free market mechanism.

4 - I am in the Senate Health and Human Services committee hearing Sen. Aguilar's SCR-002, which would create a single payer medical system in Colorado.

Here are some details for Sen. Aguilar's single payer system:
It will be funded through an additional 9% tax on all incomes, which is estimated to raise $16,000,000,000. That would be added to the current government funds for medical costs, about $20,000,000,000.

The only good news I see to this proposal is it is a referred constitutional measure, hence it needs a 2/3 vote in the Senate and House (I doubt it will happen) and then the people would vote on it (another place I doubt it will pass).

Another note on Aguilar's plan. She has one other related measure before the committee today. SJR-021 creates a committee to study this issue and come up with a plan for a system like her SCR-002. This resolution only requires a simple majority to pass. I expect this legislature will pass the study, setting us on the track to accomplish the same goal as the single payer system she is proposing with SCR-002.

In the testimony today Sen. Aguilar claimed her $36,000,000,000 program will get the government out of medicine...

SCR-002 passes on a party-line vote.

SJR-021 then was considered (discussed above). The resolution passed on a party-line vote.

3 - In HHS SB-208 passed, expanding the needle exchange mechanisms in Colorado. SB-220 also passed, adding EMTs to the mandatory reporters for suspected child abuse.

2 - The school finance bill is up for third reading vote in the senate. My turn at the mic focused on the lop-sided policy of this bill. It is all Democrat policy. No Republican sponsored ideas were allowed on this almost 200 page bill. SB-213 is a billion dollar tax increase. It will pass on a party-line vote.

1 - In second reading today we are considering SB-213, the new school finance act. This bill creates a whole new system for finincing public schools. It does not add any new academic requirements, just more money - about $1 billion more, from the Colorado tax payer.

After several hours of debate for SB-213 we are holding a discussion on an educational tax credit amendment we are trying to put on the bill. It is similar to a bill I have been working on for years. It would encourage parents to consider all educational formats for their children. Of course it died on a party-line vote, but we were able too get the word out: private school works well, home school works well.

After 6.5 hours the school finance debate concluded. It passed.
Sen. Heath (Boulder), in his final comments said it was a start, but the $1 $Billion bill is still not enough!

Now, at 5:30 PM, we have concluded the morning floor work. It is now on to Judiciary committee, including the bill that will repeal Colorado's ban on sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants. The bill is HB-1258. The law that is being repealed was called SB-90 in 2006. In essence the law requires anyone arrested for a criminal offense to be reported to immigration authorities. The bill passed the committee.










































































































































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March

28 - After a week of working on the budget bill (the Long Bill), the Senate approved the $22 billion budget on a party line-vote.

27 - I submitted four amendments tot he budget bill. One would have stripped all general funds from the CBI background check system. The other three were across the board cuts to the general fund, the first by 5%, the next by 1% and the final one by .1%. All were defeated on a party-line vote.

21 - The regulation machine rolls on through the session. Today SB-180, increasing regulation of occupational therapists from registration to licensing, despite DORA's recommendation that there be no regulation, passed third reading in the Senate on a party-line vote.

In Health and Human Services Committee, HB-1006 creates the "Breakfast After the Bell Nutrition Program." This $14 million program is designed to feed kids breakfast during the school's academic day.

How predictable, after over three hours of debate, the "Breakfast After the Bell Nutrition Program" (HB-1006) passed HHS on a party-line vote.

20 - One of the issues on the Senate floor today is SB-180. This bill increases the regulation of occupational therapists from registration to full licensure. DORA recommends no regulation, but the big government advocates are pushing in the opposite direction (a 180 on 180). Of course, it passes.

In HHS committee we have HB-1202. This bill will pay medical providers to counsel patients to fill out the MOST form, an end of life medical services form. In my opinion, when you look at the form, it pushes people to sign do not resuscitate orders for their medical care. This even includes prohibiting use of antibiotics, IV fluids, and other common medical treatments that should be standards of care for all patients. The state should not be paying for such counseling when it looks like Dr. Kevorkian wrote the form. I want to see something that looks like Mother Teresa wrote it. Give the individual the dignity of making the decision, but put it in the context of promoting life, rather than hastening death. None-the-less, the bill was passed by the committee.

18 - Monday morning, first up is third reading, including the sex education bill, HB-1081 (more complete discussion is on the March 15 entry). The bill passed on a party-line vote.

15 - 9:15 AM Today we are arguing the conference committee report on HB-1229, the universal background check bill. Transfers between many family members, such as in-laws, aunts and uncles are not a part of the exemptions from getting background checks for a simple loan of a firearm for more than 72 hours. A motion to form a new conference committee and deal with these problems, and more, was rejected by a party-line vote.

10:30 AM The debate on HB-1229 continues (actually, the Democrats pretty much sit on their hands during this debate). HB-1229 creates universal background checks, including simple transfers that are nothing more than a temporary loan. It adds a $10 dealer fee (on top of the unlimited CBI fee in HB-1228) for each background check. It sets us up for a registration system for firearms, as many in law enforcement have said they cannot enforce this law without a universal registration system.

11:00 AM The background check debate continues. Sen. Brophy admonished us to read the bill and I did and found one more troubling problem. If one is convicted of an illegal transfer, they are banned from owning any firearms for two years.

At the end of the morning one more bill was pulled up, HB-1081, the sex education bill. This one takes the program out from under the education department and puts it in the health and environment department. The bill is formally opposed by the State School Board. The bill prohibit abstinence only programs for any school district that is lured into accepting this new program. We will be taking up the bill again this afternoon.

I was able to get one amendment on the sex ed bill, emphasizing abstinence as the only 100% effective method, but the bill is still a dangerous program, that should be rejected. It passed on a party-line vote.

14 - In HHS the big bill today is SB-200... No, not that SB-200, of two years ago (setting up health care exchanges), but it is close. This year SB-200 expands Medicaid to fully implement Obamacare. It is a $1.2 billion dollar a year program.

Hospitals, professional health care worker associations, big business interests, health insurance underwriters, they are all stepping up and asking for the SB-200. I am disappointed in their acquiescence to this next, big step of socialization of our medical system.

This long hearing (over four hours) was a love fest for the socialists. Not one person has signed up to oppose SB-200.

SB-200 passed

12 - In third reading HB-1166 passed, eliminating adultery as a crime from Colorado law. The concept was called an archaic notion, but I believe there is a role of government to acknowledge and support society's moral standards.To the argument that we should not legislative morality, every bill we pass reflects some moral standard, and to eliminate an established moral standard is to reject that moral standard.

Also passed in third reading: SB-175 makes the Wildlife Habitat Stamp program permanent, with the fee attached to all hunting and fishing licenses and the stamp is required to enter state owned wildlife areas. The fee is used to buy more state land, which will be then locked up in this system.

Good news! A fee (tax) is being repealed by SB-194. It is the $.07 per month low income telephone assistance program fee.

In HHS HB-1117 passed, 6-1. I was the dissenting vote. This bill is similar to SB12-130, from last year, consolidating early childhood programs under the Department of Human Services. I commended the sponsor for including language that supports the authority of parents in the lives of their young children (ages 0-8). My concern is there is still an attitude of government knows best and universal programs for preschool and home health visits to young parents are the goal. I believe parents' role will diminish as government involvement in the lives of small children increases.

11 - The final debate on the gun control bills in the Senate is today. For the morning session SB-197, SB-195, and HB-1229 were all passed. Most of the debate was on the universal background check (HB-1229). The vote on HB-1229 was 19-16, with all Republicans and Sen. Tochtrop (D) voting against. Debate on the other bills start up at 1:30 PM.

After six hours today and overall, 30 hours of hearings and debate, the Senate has concluded the voting on all of the gun control bills. With the exception of two of the worst bills they pulled on Friday, all of the bills were passed by the Democrat majority. It is now up to the House, but the outcome is obvious. Colorado will infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.


8 - 9:30 AM The debate on the Democrat gun bills is on the Colorado Senate floor today. First up is SB-197, the domestic violence bill.

11:45 AM The first vote was just taken, to lay over the first bill, SB-197, concerning a prohibition on firearms possession for people involved in domestic violence. After over two hours of debate the motion was to lay the bill over till Monday for further consideration. By a party-line vote the motion was defeated. This looks like a party-line day on most every detail.

Shortly after the first vote the bill was considered. It passed on voice vote, but it sounded like another party-line vote.

Next up is SB-195, which prohibited any online or electronic delivery of concealed carry instruction courses. I opposed the bill in its original form, but the sponsor amended the bill to allow some online and electronic instruction. The essence of the bill is to not allowing the instruction to be exclusively delivered online. SB-195 passed, as amended.

Next is HB-1229, requiring background checks for almost every transfer of gun ownership.

HB-1229 passed second reading, again, by a voice vote that was obviously party-line. On to HB-1228, establishing fees for background checks.

4:30 PM HB-1228 passes, on a voice vote, but obviously party-line.
On to HB-1224, ban on large capacity magazines.

Because HB-1224 also bans magazines that can be "readily converted" to higher capacity magazines, virtually all magazines will be banned, because they can all be converted. Additionally, all weapons which are operated with a magazine will be rendered legally inoperable. This bill will also take at least 400 jobs out of Colorado as one manufacturer, Magpul will be forced to leave the state.

10:45 PM HB-1224 passed, then the sponsors of SB-196, the semi-automatic weapon ban through extraordinary liability standards, and HB-1226, the concealed carry ban on college campuses, killed both bills themselves.

7 - On the Senate floor we had a fight over a governor's appointment. Anthony Salazar, the CFO for the Colorado Education Association, was appointed a trustee to the University of Northern Colorado. Several of us have concerns over this nomination for the CFO of the teacher's union. It passed, essentially on a party-line vote.

In HHS SB-180 passed, increasing the registration regulation of occupational therapists to licensure. This is despite the recommendation of the Department of Regulatory Affairs (DORA) to end the regulations on occupational therapists. I voted no.

Finally in HHS the sex education bill, HB-1081 was considered. This bill, designed to direct the sex education programs for virtually all public schools in Colorado has been officially opposed by the Colorado State Board of Education. The sponsor insists that abstinence is a priority for this legislation, but cannot produce any evidence that abstinence has any significant part of this legislation. A new term was just introduced by a college student in support of the bill: LGBTQI...

I suspect you have heard of the first four letters, but "Q" is "questioning" and "I" is "inner sex." I am not sure I will be able to repeat all that is covered in this hearing. Abstinence doesn't seem to have much part of this bill.

Finally we have the opponents of the sex education bill, starting with two high school students who spoke of the importance of abstinence, which was remarkably absent from the proponents of the bill.

I had two amendments for the bill. One would make the sex education program an opt in, requiring parents to approve their children's participating in these programs. It was rejected.

The second was simply requiring two parents be appointed by the State Board of Education to serve on an advisory committee for this program. It was also rejected.

The bill passed on a party-line vote

6 - In third reading two bills were passed that give the government a bit more control over the citizens of Colorado:
HB-1065 gives more professionals the authority to put citizens on a 72 hour hold.
SB-151 increases the regulation requirements for massage therapists.
Other bills that also passed third reading:
HB-1038 requires youth correctional administrators to act as voter drive administrators.
HB-1088 re-brands the office of Health Disparities and the Minority Health Advisory Commission to the Office of Health Equity and Health Equity Commission, thus giving the LGBT community a dominant role in these parts of the Department of Health and Environment.
SB-187 allows the distribution of prescription drug antidotes for drug overdoses to drug users. This is similar to needle exchange programs.
SB-190 authorizes the State Treasurer to enter into multi-year lease-purchases, despite the clear prohibition of this practice, without a vote of the people, in the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.

In Judiciary HB-1166 passed on a party-line, stripping out adultery and sexual immorality laws from Colorado statutes. The sponsor said Colorado should not have laws concerning consensual activities among adults. However, such logic would also legalize prostitution. I cannot support either change in our state's policies.


5 - In defiance of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (Article X, Section 20) HB-1144 passed third reading on a party-line vote, extending the sales taxes on cigarettes forever.

HB-1043 passed third reading, altering the definition of deadly weapon in the criminal code. It makes a firearm a deadly weapon, regardless of how it was or was not used, as is the standard for all other "deadly weapons."

HB-1065 passed second reading, giving military mental health professionals who are not licensed in Colorado the authority to put people on a 72 hour hold.

SB-151 passed second reading, increasing regulations, again. This time it is increasing the registration requirement for massage therapists to a licensure system.

SB-14 sets up a program similar to the needle exchange programs. This bill allows a prescription antidote for drug overdoses to be distributed to potential drug overdose populations, giving doctors immunity from these prescriptions written to: "whomever it may concern."

In second reading SB-142 was sent to Appropriations committee, to die a certain death, but Sen. Renfroe proposed an amendment to pass the bill. The bill title says it all: "Concerning the requirement that the Federal government extinguishes title to all agricultural public lands and transfer title to the state." This is a bold move, but Utah, Wyoming, and other western states are moving forward with this idea. The Democrats killed the bill by defeating the amendment.

4 - The Judiciary committee has started on the gun control bills. The room is packed, the hall outside the door is full. Cars are circling the Capitol constantly honking their horns in protest of the bills. The people are in solid opposition to these dangerous bills. I trust we can prevail, if not in defeating the bills, at least in repealing them as soon as possible.

The first bill up is SB-197, making state law stronger than the Federal law banning the possession of firearms for restraining order recipients and a life-time ban on most who are convicted of domestic violence felonies and misdemeanors.

After about 3 and 1/2 hours, SB-197 passes on a party-line vote.

HB-1224, high capacity magazine ban, is up next. Those in favor of the bill testify first.

We heard from survivors or family of victims from Sandy Hook, Aurora Theater, the Tuscon shooting, and Columbine. All give the same argument: limit the size of legal magazines and you will limit the size of the criminals magazines. After 90 minutes of the proponents, it is on to the opposition. The second person in opposition to the bill is Evan Todd, the first person shot in the Columbine shooting. After 90 minutes of opposition testimony and just about 100% opposition from those who were in the audience (I asked for a show of hands), the committee passed the bill on a party-line vote.

At 6:30 PM SB-196 was brought up, banning semi-automatic rifles and shotguns (and more) by putting extraordinary civil liability on the manufacturer, seller, and owner of these rifles.

During the opening remarks on SB-196 I established that:
1. "Assault weapon" means any semi-automatic rifle or semi-automatic shotgun.
2. Sen. Morris wants all of these firearms banned, but this bill is the best he can do at this time.
3. The bill will essentially require all semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic shotguns be locked up in gun safes.
4. Sen. Morris insists there is no legitimate, legal purpose for a citizen owning and using a semi-automatic rifle or semi-automatic shotgun.

At 9:07 PM SB-196 passed on a party-line vote.

Final bill up was SB-195, prohibiting conceal carry training classes from being conducted online or via any electronic means in any part. This is one more way to restrict self-defense, albeit in a smaller way.

After nearly an hour on SB-195 a compromise was discussed, where exclusive online training would be prohibited, but the efficiency and convenience of online and other electronic instruction would still be allowed. This, being promised on second reading, will receive my consideration at that time. For now I am a no vote.

SB-195 passed, party-line.













































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February

28 - In HHS HB-1088 was heard. The bill changes the Office of Health Disparities to the Office of Health Equity. Sounds like a minor tweak, but in listening to the testimony it is clear the bill is aimed at pushing LGBT priorities into the top tier of priorities for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The bill passed the House on a party-line vote. It passed this committee without my vote.

27 - The biggest story today is SB-196, a de-facto ban on "assault weapons." The bill was introduced by senate president John Morse. It will be in Judiciary on Monday. This bill defines all semi-automatic rifles as "assault weapons" and it holds sellers and manufacturers civilly liable for any harm that may occur with one of these rifles.

In HHS HB-1065 expands the involuntary mental health hold system. This bill gives the authority to doctors and psychologists in military facilities who are not licensed in Colorado to put people into a 72 hour involuntary hold. I can see some practical sense to give these military professionals this authority. However, I have deep misgivings over the appropriateness of the 72 hour involuntary hold. It is used in too many situations where people are put on involuntary hold for reasons less significant than the law actually defines. I opposed the bill on these grounds.

25 - The Asset bill passed third reading. The vote was 23-12. All Democrats and three Republicans supported the bill. I argued against and voted against the bill.

22 - The Asset bill, SB-33, was heard in second reading. This is the in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. I called the term Asset: Amnesty Starts with a Small Event Today. It is a small step, as it only affects a few hundred students, but it is the first official step Colorado will take down the road of amnesty. I am opposing the bill because I do not believe amnesty is fixing the problem. Amnesty perpetuates the fundamental drivers of the runaway problems of illegal immigration. After two hours of debate the bill passed. Third and final reading will probably be on Monday.

21 - In third reading several bills passed, essentially on party-line votes, they included:

SB-8, expanding the CHP (state funded child medical care).
SB-153, continuing the Farm to School Coordination Task Force forever, without any sunset provision. I am troubled that we are abandoning the sunset process for far too many task forces, committees, and programs.
SB-174, continuing Food Systems Advisory Council forever, without any sunset provision. I am troubled that we are abandoning the sunset process for far too many task forces, committees, and programs.

In HHS SB-173 passed, 6-1 (I was the no vote). This bill continues the regulation of acupuncturists. In a more perfect world we would not regulate and therefore micro manage all the professions we do here in Colorado.

20 - In second reading SB-8 passed, eliminating the 3 month waiting period for enrolling in CHP . Today, if kids are in a private insurance program, they must wait to sign up for the government's CHP medical insurance. This bill expands the program, once again. One final note: this is for middle class families. A family of five qualifies with an income of almost $70,000!

SB-27 will allow RTD to charge new fees for parking in RTD lots, above and beyond the RTD passenger fees. SB-27 passed second reading in the Senate.

In HHS SB-163 was heard. This continues the Advisory Committee on Hearing in Newborn Infants, and eliminates any sunset date for the committee. It sounded innocent enough, but the pediatric doctor who testified on behalf of the bill said they want the committee to help make the hearing data on infants into Colorado's immunization tracking system. I proposed an amendment to sunset the committee in 5 years, as is the practice for many state programs and committees, including, at present, this committee. Unfortunately, the amendment died on a party-line vote. Bigger government continues to grow. The bill passed on a party-line vote.

Another HHS bill: A task force set up in 2010 to develop standardized medical claim forms is continued in SB-166. In 2010 the task force did not cost the state anything, it all being funded by outside groups. Now this bill spends $100,000 this year, and probably that much next year. If the private sector sees the need, they should fulfill the original commitment to pay for it. The bill passed 6-1 (I am a no).

For the afternoon I am in Judiciary committee. The big bill before us is SB-111, creating a mandatory reporting of suspected elder abuse. Failure to report any suspected abuse within 24 hours will become a class 3 misdemeanor with a penalty of up to $750 or upto six months in jail.

Elder abuse is a huge problem. It is one of the silent crimes that cries out for justice, but I have several concerns with this bill. SB-111 criminalizes the caregivers for the elderly if they dare exercise their own judgement in determining when it is best to call the authorities and when it is more prudent to personally work with the suspected problem. This bill assumes that we cannot trust the best judgement of the trained professionals who are on this mandatory reporters list.

The list includes all medical personnel, clergy, law enforcement, social workers, firefighters, long-term care personnel, and anyone in the banking industry.

The Attorney General's office (who is actively promoting this bill) said that there are five times (500%) as many cases of elder abuse than what is currently being reported. However, when an Arapahoe County commissioner spoke, she said they anticipate a 15% increase in case load. It sounds like the 500% number is a huge exaggeration, or the law is not expected to fix any more than about 5% of the problem.

SB-111 assumes that the police powers of the state should be applied with significant force to try to fix this problem. I believe a free and responsible citizenry should be left to make the decision of how and when to go to the authorities. I am a no vote on SB-111. The bill passed 4-1.


19 - In third and final reading in the Senate SB-13 passed, giving the Secret Service state police powers. I and about 10 others voted no.

15 - In Senate second reading SB-126 was heard. The bill will require landlords to allow electric connections for electric cars, at the tenants expense. Sounds good? Only if we think it is the state's business to micro-mange property owner's businesses. If there is a sufficient demand for electric cars, the market-place will respond, in a cost efficient manner that does not violate a property owner's right to conduct their business as they see best.

The Senate concluded the week's activities in the morning. However, in the House, they are debating four gun control bills. I spent the first part of the afternoon watching the proceedings. They were still on the first bill, as the Republican minority is valiantly trying to stave off these bills that will compromise the safety and security of Colorado citizens while violating their right of self defense which the Colorado constitution clearly says the right shall not be questioned.

4 - In Transportation Committee Weld County Senator Renfroe presented a bill (SB-61) seeking relief from the emissions testing program. The Department of Health representative, Mr Garry Kaufman, Deputy Director of the Air Pollution Division said he has heard very little from anyone who has had a problem with the testing program and he will personally help anyone who finds the program has eliminated their car, who cannot afford to replace that vehicle. Mr. Kaufman's phone number is 303-692-3269.

In HHS SB-149 was heard. It expands the mission of the All-Payer's Health Claims Database. This database system was set up for monitoring and oversight of the medical systems in Colorado. I did not support the establishment of the database, as it facilitates our progression toward socialized medicine.

The proponents of the bill claimed we need this as a way to compare costs of procedures in hospitals across Colorado, but when I showed them the already online "Colorado Hospital Price Report," which already provides that information, it didn't seem to matter. More government programs, more government oversight. The end game is socialized medicine, which I do not support.

In the Senate Eduction Committee Sen. Marble's SB-69, for educational tax credits, was heard. I helped present the bill, which could save the general fund $2.843 billion over the next 13 years. One Democrat was absent, so the chairman pulled the bill for a full vote next week, but the out come is an obvious party-line end of the bill. Later in the meeting the bill was brought up for a vote, and it was killed on a party-line, tie vote.

Back in HHS we heard SB-14, allowing prescription drugs, that are antidotes for illegal drug overdoses, to be distributed to people as a precaution for possible drug overdose. Providing the antidote to someone about to die from a drug overdose is a good thing, but is it a tacit approval to distribute the antidote prescription drug to those who are likely to experience or be around someone experiencing a drug overdose? Is this simply an act of charity, or is it also sending out the message: "don't worry, if anything goes wrong, at least you won't die"?

The bill also relieves doctors of liability from prescribing the antidote prescription drug to people who may or may not ultimately need the drug, but most probably will not be the actual recipient of the drug. I am still scratching my head as to how we are allow prescriptions for "whoever" with no liability whatsoever. I voted no.

I voted no.

13 - My roundabout bill bill passed third reading by a unanimous vote! Now it is on to the House.

In HHS SB-151 passed, increasing the regulation of massage therapists from registration to requiring they be licensed. I voted no.

SB-152 continues the Asbestos Abatement Certification Process in the Department of Public Health and Environment. My concerns are the extreme costs from the excessive micro management this program creates for too many people in Colorado. Additionally, the Health Department refuses to acknowledge the health risk distinctions between the two major categories of asbestos, and make policies accordingly. I voted no.


12 - My bill, SB-49, making the use of turn signals optional in roundabouts passed second reading on the Senate floor.

11 - SB-11 passed third reading in the Senate with all Democrats supporting it and all Republicans opposing, except for Senator Roberts, who voted for the bill.

SB-122 is concerning the rights of persons in criminal proceedings. It addresses several details in criminal proceedings against tax fraud, trying to make the process efficient and fair for the person being charged and tried. The bill was laid over, to work out some major issues. I list this in bold, as I think this is a good bill that may still have some life in it.

SB-56 is the Prenatal Sex Nondiscrimination Act. The bill prohibits abortions for sex-selection. A spokesperson for NARAL opposed the bill, yet she said they know sex selection abortions occur and NARAL opposes aborting for sex selection. The only reasons she gave for their opposition to the bill was that they doubted the intentions of the supporters of this bill and fear the bill will discourage a "woman's right to choose." Despite any rational reason to oppose this bill, it died on a party-line vote.

8 - SB-11, the civil union bill is in second reading in the Senate. The first substantive amendment, by Sen. Hill, allows persons and entities to be exempt from being forced to participate in civil union activities (ceremonies, etc.) if it violates their religious convictions. The main sponsor, Pat Steadman, claims religious freedoms are left intact by SB-11. However, when I asked if that means a church, who allows outside people to use their building can prohibit civil unions in their facilities, his answer was silence. Earlier he did say adoption agencies will have no religious conscience protections, hence, combined with his silence it appears that under SB-11 churches could be forced to hold same-sex ceremonies, and adoption agencies will have to work with same-sex couples. The amendment failed.

I submitted an amendment only exempting child placement agencies. This was language taken from the sponsor's own bill from last year. None-the-less, Senator Steadman is opposing the amendment.

After an amendment referring the civil union issue to the people was rejected I submitted an amendment simply preserving the people's right to challenge the bill through initiative before it becomes law. It was rejected, as were all of the amendments that could at least soften the hard, doctrinaire tone of this bill.

SB-11 passed second reading. The final vote, during third reading is expected on Monday.

7 - Today I got a bill passed through the Senate Transportation Committee! It was SB-49, making turn signals in roundabouts optional. Turn signals tend to confuse, rather than clarify a motorist's intentions in a roundabout, few people actually use them, and due to the 100' minimum notice required for a turn signal, they are impossible to properly use in roundabouts. The committee agreed. It now heads to the Senate Floor.

6 - In HHS a bill was recommended to not only continue the registration of occupational therapists, but to increase the regulation to requiring licensing of occupational therapists. The Department of Regulatory Agencies recommended the registration be ended, but by a party-line vote we are now moving forward to increase the regulation on occupational therapists.

5 - SB-25 passed third reading in the Senate, overriding home rule cities across the state by forcing these jurisdictions to allow unions to come in and create unions with their fire fighters, despite local voter rejection of such policies for many of these cities.

My first bill, SB-10 passed third reading.

4 - SB-88 was considered in second reading. Sen. Hill ran an amendment cutting off the funding to the Governor's Energy Office because an audit report showed they cannot accurately account for over $250,000,000 spent over the past few years. The amendment passed with bi-partisan support. However, The Democrats then amended the amendment to only cut 25% of their budget, and passed their amendment on a party-line vote. A firm statement of reprimand became a small slap on the hand.

Now we are on to SB-25, giving firefighters in the state power to unionize. Several amendments were offered to limit the scope of this bill. All amendments were shut down by the majority party. They then passed the bill, party-line.

This afternoon in Judiciary SB-66 was heard. This bill enforces the ban on public funding of abortions in Colorado. The bill was killed, by a party-line vote.

1 - Today on the Senate floor we are considering budget supplementals (adjusting the budget for the final five months of the fiscal year). First there was an attempt on my side of the isle to pull the funds from the governor's office on energy, because an audit shows they cannot account for about $250,000,000...duh!
Then it was an increase in higher education (about $9 million) that we tried to send to k-12, killed on essentially a party-line vote. Finally, we are now arguing over a $7.3 million increase for Creative Industries, Film, Tourism and Bioscience. It looks like another party-line vote.

On the higher education subject I went down to the mic to express my concern with repression of free speech on our major campuses. I have learned of several examples of the schools unreasonably limiting free speech which I want resolved.


















































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January

31 - In HHS we reviewed the sunset review for the Acupuncturist Licensing Program. Even though the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) recommended continuing this program, first set up in 1989, the report they gave indicated very little risk from this profession. I voted against continuing the licensing requirement. This could put Colorado's policy on the same level as that of the state of Wyoming, where it is a self-regulated industry. None-the-less, the committee voted to move a bill forward to continue the regulation.

Next up was SB-46, a bill that allows renal dialysis as an outpatient for people who are not in "end-stage renal disease." Today, anyone whose kidneys might recover cannot get dialysis anywhere except in a hospital, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars simply because of the hospitalization costs. SB-46 allows greater choice, cost savings, more freedom. The bill passed HHS.

The final issue before HHS today was considering continuing the regulation for occupational therapists. DORA recommends ending the regulation. The occupational therapists want the current registration process, and even more regulation (formal licensing) for this profession. One Democrat was absent, which would have allowed the tree Republicans to stall the bill with a tie vote. Hence, the chairman pulled the bill until she has all of her party voting.

30 - The day began on a refreshing note. Colorado Christian University's women's chorus sang two songs from the Senate Gallery. Having been a student in the music program at the predecessor institution, and having served as a trustee and adjunct instructor for the school, I added my personal welcome as well.

In HHS committee my first bill, SB-10, was passed. It is a small bill, modifying the membership of the Colorado Commission on Family Medicine. It might be my only bill to survive this year's politics, so I mention it here.


Later in HHS SB-8 was passed. This bill eliminates a three month waiting period for moving from private insurance to qualifying kids for public assistance on the Children's Health

28 - It was a busy day in Judiciary committee with several bills considered, including:

SB-13 gives the Secret Service state police powers, so they can arrest Colorado citizens for state law infractions and this bill will give them the right to put a mental health hold on Colorado citizens. I opposed this increase in their police powers, largely on the merits of the mental health hold authority. I think it is quite appropriate that the current system be left in place, where Secret Service be required to seek assistance from local authorities before detaining anyone who has not broken any laws, but is put into a mental hospital against their will. The bill passed.

SB-9 would allow school districts to authorize teachers and other employees to carry concealed weapons. It does not force any district to establish such a policy, but it does allow the district to provide that level of defense for the children in their schools.

The opponents of the bill have very little argument except they don't like guns and will not consider any measure that includes personal defense with firearms. For one opponent I suggested that all she wants to leave the teachers with to defend themselves are ball point pens. Incredibly, the opponents of the bill seem to think that teachers would be better off with ball point pens than a concealed carry gun. The more I listen to the arguments, the more I am convinced that it is our moral duty to pass this legislation to insure the legislature does all it can to create a safe environment in our public schools.

After hours of debate on the bill, politics overwhelmed policy. SB-9 was killed on a party-line vote.


25 - Today was military appreciation day. The legislature spent most of the morning honoring those men and women who put their lives on the line everyday in defense of our nation and our freedoms.

24 - In a joint Health and Human Services Committee meeting the Colorado Health Care Exchange reported their progress. Once again they began by representing themselves as the only place Colorado citizens can access the full range of health insurance options online. I confronted them with the facts: The private market is already doing this, without using $100,000,000 of taxpayer dollars to set it up. The exchange does hold the monopoly on distributing federal subsidies and will be a clearinghouse for pre-qualifying all applicants for Medicaid. As a final note: From a private system I went online and within five minutes found 204 insurance policy options from six insurance companies operating in my home area. The monthly costs ranged from $200-$1000.

Next up in HHS committee is a sunset review of the Massage Therapy Practice Act. Currently it is a registration system. The recommendation from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is to increase the regulation to require licensing, the strictest level of regulation for a profession.

23 - Today the legislature has finally started to dig into the bills introduced during this session. Somewhat indicative of the political environment for this year, the bill before the Senate Judiciary committee today is the civil union bill, SB-11. The bill is troubling enough, as it radically changes the legal meaning and practice of marriage and the family in Colorado, but additionally, it will force all private child placement agencies to place children with civil union couples, even if it violates their religious or moral convictions. The mayor of Denver spoke in support of the bill and insisted that it was quite appropriate for the state to force private child placement agencies to violate their conscience, or stop working with placing children with families in Colorado. One of the prime sponsors of the bill, Pat Steadman, said that he will not support a religious exemption for child placement agencies. He, along with the mayor, insisted that it was discrimination that they insist trumps First Amendment religious rights.

Before the committee meeting I submitted the following statement to a local TV station:

"SB11 creates civil unions as a mirror image of marriage in Colorado law. It is a radical change to Colorado's legal concept of the family. However, the principles of marriage and the family are so much bigger than Colorado's laws that we are no more capable of actually redefining this timeless institution than we are of changing the laws of gravity. SB11 will not redefine marriage and the family, it will diminish our understanding and practice of marriage and the family."

After several hours of testimony I submitted an amendment to exempt child placement agencies. It was rejected on a party-line vote. SB-11 passed on a party-line vote.



18 - I have not reported on much this week because nothing much has happened. I suppose that may constitute good news, as little damage to our liberties is yet to be reported. We are still hearing reports from departments. A couple of bills have been looked at in Senate Judiciary. One passed, continuing a commission that recommends changes to the criminal justice laws. The other was pulled from the table in committee. It would have given the Secret Service state police powers. I have a lot of questions, starting with why Congress (Secret Service's legislative authority) should be granted police powers to enforce state laws, but they must wait until the bill gets its full hearing in committee. I heard today that the civil union bill, SB-11, will be in Senate Judiciary next week. That will certainly signal the beginning of the big issues in this session, and I will certainly be reporting more at that time.


15 - Little of substance has yet to happen. A recent law now requires extensive reports from departments of the state to committees of reference in the legislature. Hence, much time is spent on hearings with no bills being considered. Today, for me, it is reports from the Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel, the Office of the Child's Representative and the Independent Ethics Commission to the Judiciary committees.


11 - Today the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court presented his speech to the legislature. He asked for more money for his branch of government (no surprise, every speech to the legislature from the Chief Justice asks for more money). What was a pleasant change was his focus on providing equal justice for all Colorado citizens. I trust the words will match the actions for the Judicial Branch.


10 - The governor gave his state of the state address to a joint session of the legislature. He called for a bipartisan spirit of cooperation. However, then he called for passage of the civil union bill, increased gun controls, further limits on citizen initiatives, in-state tuition breaks for those who are not legally here in Colorado, and expanding Medicaid in order to further implement Obamacare. His agenda is as liberal as any Democrat who has served in that office. It will be impossible to meet him halfway when he is headed down the wrong roads in these policies.

This afternoon the Health and Human Services Committees met with related departments of the state. The major theme was growing government, primarily ramping up Medicaid for Obamacare. My warning to them was to prepare for an alternative plan when the dysfunctional federal system breaks down, as it will when doctors, hospitals and insurance companies find the federal system unworkable.


9 - Opening day. Newly elected legislators are sworn in, speeches are given by the leaders of both parties.

This is not written in bold type because both houses and the governor's office are controlled by the Democrats and liberty will surely languish under their control.

The talk is of working together, but we are headed in different directions, so if we are to do our job the minority must challenge the majority at every wrong turn.


























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