DENVER – A bill driven by House Speaker Mark Ferrandino and Republican Rep. Steve Humphrey to ban covert cameras hidden in vans and stationed at traffic lights suffered a fatal collision Wednesday with the office of Gov. John Hickenlooper.
The measure was pronounced dead on the scene.
“It was no secret the governor did not want to make a decision on this bill, and sadly for the citizens of Colorado, he convinced enough House Democrats to kill a bill that places raising revenue above public safety,” said Humphrey, a Republican from Severence.
The governor’s office lobbied Democratic lawmakers to oppose the bill that would have blocked law enforcement from using covert cameras and radar to trap motorists breaking traffic laws. Read more »
Rep. Cherylin Peniston
DENVER – A measure to expose school boards to lawsuits over executive sessions will be debated Wednesday in the state House. The bill had required school boards to retain electronic recordings of the sessions for 90 days, but was amended to 24 months in order for litigants to probe evidence for lawsuits filed against the school districts.
Rep. Cherylin Peniston (D-Westminster), who is sponsoring the Senate measure in the state House, described it as a “Mini-Me” version of House Bill 1110 that she and co-sponsor Sen. Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) killed last month.
Peniston said SB 182 requires school boards to make public the time each issue is discussed during a school board executive session, including protected attorney-client conversations. Read more »
Sen. Kevin Lundberg
DENVER – Questions abound about the viability of the state’s health exchange, Connect for Health Colorado. After the exchange and Obamacare kicked in last year, 335,000 private insurance policies were cancelled, costs of health care premiums skyrocketed and enrollment fees are increasing.
Connect for Health Colorado thwarted a thorough state audit, but some answers may be forthcoming if a renewed effort for an audit is authorized. In addition, the Senate passed a measure Friday that would form a commission to diagnose why so-called affordable health care is a myth.
Senate Bill 187 passed on a 23-12 vote with Republican Sens. Larry Crowder of Alamosa, Bernie Herpin of Colorado Springs, Steve King of Grand Junction, George Rivera of Pueblo and Ellen Roberts of Durango voting ‘yes’ with the Democratic lawmakers. Read more »
DENVER – A measure upholding the U.S. and Colorado constitutions that prohibit “debtors’ prisons” was passed unanimously Wednesday by the state Senate and now heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk to be signed into law.
“It’s kind of called the ‘Debtors Prison Bill,’” said Sen. Lucia Guzman (D-Denver), citing the story of Charles Dickens, who was 12 years old when his father and family were imprisoned in the 19th century for debts in England.
The practice has continued in Colorado because state laws conflict with constitutional bans on such practices.
“Courts here in Colorado are sending impoverished people to jail not just because they committed crimes, but because they cannot pay fines for violations as small as a traffic offense,” said Guzman who with Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) sponsored House Bill 1061.
The bill would allow courts to determine if a person is able or unable to pay a fine, and recommend a solution such as public service or a payment plan. If an individual can pay but chooses not to do so, they will be deemed willfully in contempt of court. Read more »
DENVER – School district boards are once again in jeopardy of losing their attorney-client privileges and confidential conversations during executive sessions under a bill reintroduced – if watered down – that will be debated in the Senate on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 182 replaces House Bill 1110 that was withdrawn last month because it opened the door to expensive litigation that would further hurt cash-strapped school districts across Colorado. Both measures are sponsored by Sen. Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) and Rep. Cherylin Peniston (D-Westminster).
Current laws already require school districts to publish the meeting agenda citing the topics of an executive session and limit those protected discussions to employment decisions, real estate transactions and litigation.
Like its predecessor, SB 182 requires meeting minutes be made public within 10 business days and reflect the duration of time spent discussing each topic. Read more »
DENVER – A bill to ban red light cameras and photo radar got the green light in the Senate on Monday with bipartisan support on a 21-14 vote and now advances to the House.
“Red light cameras jeopardize public safety and invade the personal privacy of Coloradans. After carrying this bill for three years unsuccessfully, I’m very optimistic it will become law this year,” said Sen. Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley).
“I commend my Senate colleagues for their votes on this bill and urge the House to quickly pass it and Gov. Hickenlooper to sign it when it reaches his desk,” said Renfroe who co-sponsored the Senate Bill 181 with Sen. Lucia Guzman (D-Denver).
Officials from a dozen municipal police departments had testified against the measure, asserting that the use of red light cameras and photo radar has enhanced public safety.
Critics called it a “Robocop” system that increases revenue but not safety, deprives citizens of their constitutional right to due process, and violates the principle of innocence until proven guilty. Read more »
Colorado Republican Committee Chairman Ryan Call
DENVER – The Democrats have their brigades of anti-fracking fighters and New Era activists, Colorado Republicans introduced their own social media campaign at the Republican State Assembly in Boulder last weekend.
The GOP’s video and smart media campaign called “What’s your story?” included attendees who stood in long lines to participate and relate their personal stories in front of video cameras.
Organizers set up photo and video booths in the hall of the Coors Event Center where delegates and guests could snap a picture and talk about why they would vote Republican this year.
They were also encouraged to share their experiences through Twitter, Facebook and other social media with the hashtag #IVoteRepublican. Officials later said the campaign resulted in 1.8 million impressions.
“We have to do a better job of explaining what the Republican Party stands for; that’s why we started this campaign,” Colorado Republican Committee Chairman Ryan Call said. Read more »
Rep. Polly Lawrence
DENVER – The majority of the House Republican caucus is expected to back Rep. Polly Lawrence of Littleton in a vote later this week to fill the minority whip position abruptly resigned by Rep. Kevin Priola of Henderson on Monday.
“I’ll never trade my principle of transparent governance in education for a title or position. I’m resigning as House minority whip,” Priola announced on his Facebook page just before the House convened at 10 a.m.
Priola irked fellow Republican legislators last week during a three-hour debate on the Student Success Act when he spoke for an amendment offered by Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon) and argued against another proposed by Rep. Jim Wilson (R-Salida). Read more »
Rep. Cory Gardner
BOULDER – Republican candidates at the state assembly here on Saturday vowed to save Coloradans and Americans from a litany of liberal sins committed by Democrats that they say have eroded liberty and freedom.
The transgressions include Obamacare, gun-control laws, Common Core education standards, the national debt, red-inked federal government budgets and regulations that impede oil and gas energy independence and shackle small business development.
“It won’t be long until we will be looking in the rearview mirror at Mark Udall, John Hickenlooper and Barack Obama,” declared former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong, president of Colorado Christian University.
In the battle to win the U.S. Senate seat from the Democratic incumbent Udall, delegates wholeheartedly backed the nomination of Congressman Cory Gardner, who repeatedly blasted Udall for choosing Democratic Party politics over principles held by Coloradans. Read more »
BROOMFIELD – The GOP anticipated a primary race to replace Rep. Cory Gardner in the 4th Congressional District, but unexpected challenges in the 3rd and 5th districts resulting here Friday at Republican State Assembly would be costly and unnecessary, complained some delegates.
“You can quote me on this – more primaries are the last thing we need,” said Cheri Ofner, a Republican delegate from Colorado Springs.
The biggest surprise Friday was state Sen. Scott Renfroe of Greeley winning top line on the 4th CD primary ballot over Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, who abandoned his second bid for the U.S. Senate when Gardner entered that race.
Renfroe captured 54 percent of the delegate votes and Buck garnered 46 percent. Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer and Steve Laffey of Larimer County are petitioning onto the ballot. Read more »