April 18, 2013
There is nothing elevating about getting high in the state of Colorado.
I overheard this conversation in a downtown Denver restaurant yesterday, the day before the big 420 Marijuana event.
Man 1: (to waiter) Since we’re here for the weekend we need somebody to help us navigate the whole dispensary thing.
Man 2: Yeah, my buddy and I are here from Michigan, and we want to get some pot, but we both realized our driver’s licenses are expired. What can we do?
Waiter: No problem, just hang out around the entrance of the dispensary and, you know, people are always glad to sell you a bud. It happens all the time.
Man 1: Thanks, man.
To put this into context, a young couple three booths down from me were tweaking their brains out, and pot, undoubtedly, was their gateway drug to the harder, brain-eating substances.
But folks, this is the shameful position that amending our state constitution to make recreational marijuana a “right” has put Coloradans in. Recreational marijuana is a social evil. There is nothing good that comes from it. Getting stoned does nothing to enhance human functioning, but is proven to do great damage to the human body, adolescent brains, family ties, memory and motivation.
There is nothing virtuous or good about legalized recreational pot. It is both a cause and symptom of progressive moral and social decay. Do those who tout tax dollars from pot realize that the cost to this and future generations will far outweigh any perceived fiscal benefits? Do they realize that the children caught up in the pot culture today will be the broken souls of tomorrow? Is it worth it folks, to welcome and embrace a known evil into Colorado, opening the door to addiction, crime, and broken relationships with a wink and a nod and a bill from the state Department of Revenue?
I’m sure those guys from Michigan found a dispensary with folks willing to sell them a bud. Our tourists now come here to break the law, lie, and get stoned. There is nothing elevating about getting high in the state of Colorado.
by Marjorie Haun 4/18/15
April 14, 2015
U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Makes America and Allies Safer
“Unilaterally reducing or eliminating America’s nuclear arsenal will not make the world a safer place,” writes Keith Payne, director of the Graduate School of Defense and Strategic Studies at Missouri State University and former deputy assistant secretary of defense, in The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. experience since the end of the Cold War proves the statement true. America has already cut its nuclear weapons arsenal by over 80 percent, but other nuclear powers have not followed its lead.
While nuclear utopians believe that if the U.S. reduces its nuclear arsenal other countries will follow suit, the reality is that not only have other states not done so, other nuclear powers have emerged, including India, Pakistan, and North Korea. China is modernizing its nuclear weapon arsenal as is Russia. Moscow has increased its reliance on nuclear weapons and has undermined nonproliferation by threatening non-nuclear states with a nuclear attack. Russia’s threats are particularly concerning in the context of U.S. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commitments since some of the threatened states, including Poland, are members of the Alliance.
All the countries with nuclear weapons programs have been investing significant resources into modernizing their warheads and delivery platforms and maintaining infrastructure supporting the nuclear weapon complex. The United States has lagged behind. The government decided to maintain Cold War–era nuclear weapons rather than conducting low-scale yield-producing experiments that would increase the probability, already very high, that U.S. warheads will perform as intended. Both China and Russia have been conducting such experiments.
U.S. nuclear warheads are not the only hostage of the government’s inability to create and implement a sustainable, long-term, adequately funded plan for nuclear warhead modernization. U.S. nuclear delivery platforms, intercontinental-range ballistic missiles, strategic submarines, and bombers are decades old (half a century old in the case of B-52 bombers). Funding for modernization has been repeatedly cut and delayed. The Department of Defense’s $15.9 billion budget request for nuclear modernization is the first essential step on the long road to the revitalization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The U.S. nuclear mission will remain critical and must be sustained.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 4/14/15
April 11, 2015
By Marjorie Haun | Watchdog Arena
Questions about pesticide application to marijuana plants in Colorado and potential pest contamination to other crops have revealed gaps in the agricultural knowledge surrounding the state’s burgeoning industry.
Prior to the 2012 passage of Colorado’s Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, its cultivation was allowed only in licensed medical marijuana operations. The marijuana plant, Cannabis Sativa, is currently classified as a noxious weed in many states.
A recent Denver Post article about the quarantining of hundreds of marijuana plants at a commercial facility due to the improper use and application of pesticides and fungicides, brought to light an issue that has received little or no attention from the general public.
According to the March 23 story:
The state of Colorado has long had “best practices” type of guidance for pesticide use by pot growers, but the state has yet to conclude work on implementing rules for pesticide use in the industry.
Agriculture regulators generally require pesticides to be used as labeled. But because there aren’t any pesticides labeled for use on marijuana, growers are asked to use pesticides labeled for “unspecified crops and/or plants.
Technically, marijuana is governed by Colorado Pesticide rules, as are other agricultural crops, but commercial producers of pesticides have not included marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) on the labels which list appropriate crops for application. In a statement to Watchdog Arena, Duane Sinning of the Colorado Department of Agriculture Plants Division explained:
Pesticides labels are registered for specific crops in specific states. Those labels are held by the private pesticide industry so state laws cannot change them. Products not specifically labeled for use on marijuana plants cannot legally be used on those plants. Out of some 13,000 chemical pesticides on the market, only about 200 of them contain labeling language broad enough to allow them to be used on marijuana plants.
It appears that many of the implications and potential hazards of marijuana pests and pesticides are unknown. Although industrial hemp crops have been studied and there is a body of knowledge regarding industrial hemp pests and pest control, it’s difficult to find credible sources for similar information addressing commercial marijuana crops.
The Colorado State University Extension Office is considered the go-to resource for agricultural information; however, when asked about existing research on marijuana pests and pesticides, Colorado State University’s Assistant Vice President for Research & Industry Partnerships Mark Wdowik told Watchdog Arena:
CSU may be able to provide information related to industrial hemp, but not marijuana. Researchers from our agricultural college may be able to assist you with information about hemp cultivation. If your questions are specific to marijuana, you will need to turn to individuals and entities external, and not related to, CSU.
The dearth of marijuana research in the area of crop pest-control, and federal prohibitions against its commercial growth and sale may account for the absence of marijuana-specific labeling in the agricultural pesticide industry.
The pests and various diseases which attack hemp plants—a plant almost identical to marijuana without the high levels of THC—are fairly well known. One of the most insidious is the Aspergillum mold, which, if inhaled, can cause severe pulmonary disease. Hemp flea beetles, spider mites, hemp borers, weevils, and whiteflies are just a few of many arthropods that attack industrial hemp plants.
What is less-known is how the pests and diseases which attack hemp’s close relative, marijuana, will affect other agricultural crops such as fruit orchards, corn, wheat, etc. Marijuana is relatively new to Colorado as an outdoor crop, and little information is available about how it will grow and possibly spread in various regions such as the high desert, plains and mountainous areas, or how it might be a vector for the spread of agricultural pests and disease.
The unknowns surrounding marijuana pests and pesticides are one facet of the controversy over a potential outdoor medical marijuana operation in the middle of Western Colorado’s prime peach orchards and vineyards. Kendra Williams, a peach grower from Palisade, Colo., summed up the issue for Watchdog Arena:
We, the peach growers, have to obtain spray licenses for applying pesticide to our crops. We have no idea whether or not the pot growers will have the same regulations. Entire crops have been pulled out of this valley because they spread diseases and bugs to other crops. Nobody knows what will happen with marijuana growing right next to our peaches. The people voting to legalize marijuana put the cart before the horse and there are agricultural questions that haven’t been answered, and I’m afraid the farmers out here will have to pay the price.
This article was written by a contributor of Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.
Reposted on Reagangirl.com 4/11/15
April 7, 2015
Blame it on Lola
A pack of Colorado Democrat Legislators has introduced a bill that says that if a person decides that they are not who they are, that they can be what they think they are despite the fact that what they are is different than who they say they are. Yep, this is the Colorado Transgender Birth Certificate Bill, House Bill 15-1265. Its preamble states:
CONCERNING THE ISSUANCE OF A NEW BIRTH CERTIFICATE WITH A GENDER DESIGNATION THAT DIFFERS FROM THE GENDER DESIGNATED ON THE PERSON’S ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE.
Back in the good old days when boys were boys and boys could only be girls if they went under the knife, a transsexual person could present evidence that they had been surgically altered to appear as their preferred gender, and then go through the process to change the designated sex on their birth certificate with the order of a judge. In other words, Dick could be Jane on his/her birth certificate so long as Jane had no dick. But the Colorado Transgender Birth Certificate bill removes the burden from an individual of having to prove that they have taken steps to physically transition into the opposite sex. (I think there are still two sexes, but please correct me if I’m wrong.) All that gender-confused little Dickie needs to present to the court to become Jane is a written request–or a permission slip from his parents if Dickie is a minor–and an statement from a “licensed health care provider” stating that:
“the person has undergone surgical, hormonal, or other treatment appropriate for that person for the purpose of gender transition, based on contemporary medical standards, or stating that the person has an intersex condition, and that in the provider’s professional opinion the person’s gender designation should be changed accordingly.”
The language in this bill is so broad (no sexism intended) as to stagger the mind of a person who thinks in concrete terms. It says that surgical alternation is not at all necessary for Dick to claim he is really Jane. “Intersex” individuals are extremely rare. The word means “
Folks, wake up. Democrats Moreno, Esgar, Garnett, Ginal, Rosenthal, Ulibarri, Guzman and Steadman want to encode this bill into statute for the rest of eternity! Think about the public safety implications. Right now in Colorado there is controversy over “transgender” or unisex bathrooms–especially those where little girls and boys go to the restroom–because, for example, a man claiming to be a woman, but who has all the working parts of a man, can enter a restroom where little girls go pee pee, and there is nothing anyone can do about it without being charged with discrimination. Hang on to your butts, because the Colorado Transgender Birth Certificate bill takes this danger up a notch. Currently, if Dick enters a restroom where little girls go pee pee, and Dick says he’s Jane, the law can argue that because Dick has a dick, that he is not Jane and should not be in a restroom with Mary, Claudia and Prudence. However, HB15-1265 would give Dick a lot of ammunition for his defense because in court, Dick could pull out his birth certificate that says he IS Jane. “Ha!” Dick would exclaim, “you thought I was a boy in a girls restroom, but you’re wrong! I’m really a girl trapped in a boy’s body, going to a girl’s restroom, because my birth certificate says I’m a girl, and it would be wrong for me to go to a boy’s restroom.”
Societal chaos, altered realities, unicorn farts, and all manner of dissonant cognition seem to emanate from the Left side of the Colorado State Capitol. There is lots of blame to go around for this phenomenon, but I really think it all started with the Kinks stupid song, Lola. Apparently the Democrats adopted this vapid song, and made it the political platform of their party.
Well I’m not the world’s most masculine guy
But I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man
And so is Lola
La-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola
Lola la-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola
by Marjorie Haun 4/7/15
Contradictions sink Colorado ‘indefinite detention’ bill
By Marjorie Haun | Watchdog Arena
The Colorado Legislature recently attempted to duplicate the efforts of other states, in what many believe to be the protection of civil liberties of American citizens.
The Colorado House passed HB15-1114, a bill very similar to the 2012 Virginia law responding to the National Defense Authorization Act, prohibiting state employees from investigating, prosecuting, or detaining individuals under the NDAA. However, with a preamble and concluding sections containing contradictory language, the bill faced problems early on. The preamble states unequivocally:
The bill prohibits a state agency, a political subdivision of the state, an employee of a state agency or political subdivision of the state acting in his or her official capacity, or a member of the Colorado National Guard serving in his or her official capacity from aiding an agency of the armed forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of any person pursuant to section 1021 or 1022 of the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.
Section (2) of the Colorado NDAA bill, however, seems to negate its stated purpose. It reads:
The prohibition described in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section does not apply to participation by an entity in a joint task force, partnership, or other similar cooperative agreement with Federal Law Enforcement if the joint task force, partnership, or other similar cooperative agreement is not for the purpose of investigating, prosecuting, or detaining any person pursuant to section 1021 or 1022 of the federal “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.”
Even more problematic for the sponsors of HB15-1114, Sens. Laura Woods (R) and Jessie Ulibarri (D), is the provision in the bill which would criminalize individual state employees who, even in their official capacity, participated in the investigation, prosecution, or detention of an American citizen with possible terrorist links. It states:
An individual who violates subsection (1) of this section shall be prosecuted under any applicable provisions of the “Colorado Criminal Code”, Title 18, C.R.S., including, but not limited to, provisions that prohibit assault, battery, kidnapping and homicide, as defined by law.
The Colorado Division of Public Safety and numerous military organizations opposed the bill because of this provision.
The Colorado Senate State Military and Veteran’s Affairs Committee held a hearing on HB15-1114 on March 23, during which an expert on military law and the NDAA from the Heritage Foundation, Charles (Cully) Stimson, testified in opposition to the bill. In an attempt to assuage the fears surrounding NDAA investigations, he stated:
A grand total of two terrorists (Jose Padilla and Yasser Hamdi) with ties to either al-Qaeda or the Taliban—who have been American citizens—have been subject to military detention in the United States. Each challenged his military detention in Federal court prior to Congress passing Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA of 2012.
Of the Colorado bill, Stimson went on to say:
This law sends confusing messages to state employees, especially law enforcement officials. Imagine a state trooper pulling over a speeder and finding out through an ID check that the FBI has an alert for the driver as a suspected al-Qaeda operative. What should the trooper do if he knows or suspects the driver is a U.S. citizen? Should he do his duty and detain the suspect, which could be interpreted as a violation of Colorado law? Or should he simply write the speeding ticket and send the terrorist on his way, not telling the FBI or the military, and the consequences be damned?
Following Stimson’s testimony, the Colorado Senate State Military and Veteran’s Affairs Committee killed the bill in a 3-2 vote.
This is not the first time NDAA investigations and “indefinite detentions” have been addressed in the Colorado Legislature and other legislatures. HB15-1114 is the third bill in three years to be introduced which would prohibit state participation in federal investigations of American citizens with suspected terrorist ties.
When the NDAA passed in 2012, certain provisions sparked a heated conversation about civil liberties. Section 1021 of the NDAA addresses the power of the United States Armed Forces to detain persons involved with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as well as “a person who was part of, or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces (ISIS), that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces” (sub-section 1021 (a) of NDAA 2012).
Though the language seems to be clear about who is covered by the NDAA, disputes continue over the provision of the act allowing for the detention of American citizens with suspected terrorist links. It states:
(c)DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR—The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
Civil libertarians on both sides of the aisle have feared the potential “indefinite detention” of American citizens under this act, possibly due to the arbitrary definition of “end of hostilities.” As a result, several states have sought to pass legislation prohibiting the use of state resources, funding, and state employees—such as state patrol officers and National Guardsmen—from assisting in NDAA investigations of American citizens.
The state of Virginia responded in 2012 by passing a bill forbidding state employees, such as law-enforcement officers and National Guardsmen, from participating in the investigation, surveillance, detention or arrest of any U.S. citizen who may be a suspected member of a terrorist organization.
Virginia’s law has been challenged for a number of reasons, including the fact that, according to the Washington Post, the state has received billions of dollars of federal funding for the support of NDAA surveillance of suspected terrorists. This has also been an issue in other states with similar bills.
Several other states, including Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Missouri and Utah, have passed similar laws banning state assistance in NDAA investigations or detentions of American citizens.
This article was written by a contributor of Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 4/2/2015
March 25, 2015
Are you keeping abreast of Colorado’s legislative antics?
Two Democrats have passed a bill through the Colorado State Legislature aptly nicknamed the “Breastfeeding Bill.” HB15-1164 concerns “The postponement of jury service for a person who is breastfeeding a child.” First of all, I find the term “person” suspect. Why isn’t it “mother,” or “maternal progenitor,” or “mumsy?” The term person is too broad to be legally applicable. In fact, it would be better to replace the term ,”person” with “broad,” because “broad” is not at broad as “person,” since not all “persons” are properly equipped to breastfeed a baby, or a kitten, or a wombat, in broad terms.
The other thing that bugs me about this bill, which by the way, has weirdly passed both chambers of the Colorado Legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk, is, why the heck do we need a law for this? I was a breastfeeding mom (sorry kids), and I never needed a special law to tell the court to let me off easy because I was lactating. I was once excused for breastfeeding. “I might leak breast milk during the trial,” I told the lawyers, and they let me go without discussion. I was once excused for having morning sickness. “I feel like I’m going to puke…now!” I told the lawyers, and they let me go. In fact, they chased me out of the jury room. No problemo. I’ve seen people excused from jury duty for hemorrhoids, and ingrown toenails, and dyspepsia. Trust me, lactating broads have never been forced into indentured jury duty. Nobody, especially not judges and lawyers, want bodily fluids oozing during the court proceedings.
Third, it seems like mammary legislation is the third rail of politics. When a breast-related bill comes up for debate, nobody dares touch it. Republicans may think the bill is stupid, but they’re terrified to broach what Democrats tell them is a sensitive subject. If you oppose any bill with the word “breast” in the language, you will be accused of hating women, and babies, and wombats. It’s almost like the Colorado Breastfeeding Bill is a sacred cow, exempt from scrutiny. And, trust me, Democrats are milking the issue for all it’s worth.
Since it passed through a split Legislature with flying colors, Governor Hickenlooper probably cannot wait to get his hands on it. With the success of the Breastfeeding Bill, you can be sure that future legislation, pumping up special rights for boobs, will have the proverbial political cup running over.
Posted by Reagangirl.com, your website for equal opportunity snark.
March 24, 2015
The Sneaky Way the Obama Administration Is Allowing Illegal Immigrants to Join the Military
Despite the challenges of a growing terrorist threat, the Obama administration has decided now is the right time to allow illegal immigrants to join the military.
While the administration is juggling the assembly of an international coalition to degrade and destroy ISIS and its affiliates and identifying the 100-plus American passport holders and the 3000-plus European passport holders who have joined ISIS, the administration—for the first time ever–will allow illegal aliens to join the U.S. military through a pilot program named the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI).
The MAVNI program authorizes the secretary of defense to “recruit certain legal aliens whose skills are considered to be vital to the national interest.” It is mainly directed at those holding critical skills, such as “physicians, nurses, and certain experts in language with associated cultural backgrounds.” According to the Defense Department website, the “limited pilot program will recruit up to 1,500 people per year, and will continue through September 30, 2014.”
Those former illegal aliens became “eligible” to join the military because of the Obama administration executive amnesty program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA program is, as Heritage scholars have written here, unjust, costly and acts as an incentive for more illegal immigration.
DACA purports to set prosecutorial priorities and grant relief to each individual who (1) came to the United States under the age of 16; (2) continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years before June 15, 2012; (3) is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has a GED, or is an honorably discharged veteran; (4) has not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors or otherwise poses a threat; and (5) is not above the age of 30.
Recall that the patriotic-sounding ENLIST Act (Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training Act), proposed earlier this year, failed to become law. That act would have given lawful permanent residence status to illegal aliens in exchange for honorable military service. Since that form of back door citizenship did not become law, the administration has simply created an ENLIST Act workaround–a two-step executive amnesty process: (1) get into DACA, and (2) then get into the U.S. military via MAVNI.
And just who has been granted DACA status?
As of June 2014, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 1,423 citizens from Pakistan have been granted executive amnesty through DACA. Furthermore, the administration has approved 449,921 Mexican citizens and tens of thousands of others from at least 18 different countries.
This news comes the same week the Justice Department convicted Sohiel Kabir of terrorism. An Afghan-born, naturalized U.S. citizen who served in the U.S. Air Force, Kabir was charged with providing material support to terrorists by making arrangements to join al-Qaeda and other related charges. He faces life in prison when sentenced.
All of this is happening at a time when the threat of international terrorism is on the rise, and the military is downsizing. In fact, according to American Enterprise Institute defense expert Mackenzie Eaglen, the active-duty Army has declined 21 percent from a post-9/11 wartime high of 570,000 down to 450,000 soldiers, and could go as low as 420,000 if current funding levels continue.
Our country has benefited from the honorable military service of millions of men and women, including some who were allowed to serve even though they were not citizens. To them, we owe a debt of gratitude. But this scheme is different, and given the times and means, difficult to justify.
This article has been modified to correct the name for this program, Military Accessions Vital to National Interest.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 3/24/15
March 21, 2015
High schoolers sent to lobby for ‘IUD bill’ in Colorado
By Jackie Moreau | Watchdog Arena
Ordinarily, when student groups visit their state Capitol, they do so to learn more about the political process. In Colorado, however, high school students with a nonprofit called “Colorado Youth Matter” were busy visiting their legislators the day before the vote on a bill that would continue a grant for free methods of birth control.
Implemented in 2008 with a multi-year grant requiring no appropriation from the state of Colorado, the Long-acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) program makes intrauterine devices (IUD) and hormonal implant contraceptives available at low or no cost to women between the ages of 15 and 24 throughout the state, targeting communities with high poverty rates. The grant that funds the LARC program, administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, is due to sunset in June of this year. Those advocating for continuing the LARC program have worked with legislators to create House Bill 15-1194, also known as the “IUD Bill,” requiring a new appropriation of $5 million per year from the general fund.
Colorado Youth Matter, funded in-part by the state of Colorado, receives 16 percent of its monies through the Colorado Department of Human Services. The federal Personal Responsibility and Education Program (PREP) operates under the umbrella of the Affordable Care Act, and allots public health dollars to be given to programs aiming to decrease rates of teen pregnancy, sexually-transmitted disease, and related instances of school dropout. Colorado Youth Matter, which coordinates closely with other family planning and pro-choice advocates, is one such program.
Colorado Youth Matter scheduled their “Capitol Action Day” on March 9, in anticipation of the vote on HB 15-1194 that was originally scheduled for March 10. Youth Matter coordinator Taylor Stein made appointments for high school students to meet with legislators on both sides of the aisle.
One legislator indicated that the meeting with Colorado Youth Matter high school students consisted primarily of advocacy for the IUD bill. According to the legislator’s account, the students opened by asking for support for the LARC program and remained largely focused on the bill and related issues. The young men and women from both rural and urban Colorado high schools came armed with talking points and statistics gleaned from a number of reproductive rights websites, and lobbied the legislator on this specific bill.
The stated mission of Colorado Youth Matters is “WISE,” an acronym for “Working to Institutionalize Sex-education,” and it has branches in several Colorado school districts. The group finds interested participants through their Teen Outreach Program(TOP), and the CREATE, a national voter registration drive. Colorado Youth Matter offers ‘mini grants’ of $3,000-$5,000 to two or three school districts annually to implement comprehensive sex-education programs, despite the fact that, in 2013, Democrats in the Colorado Legislature passed a bill creating a new grant program tofund comprehensive sex-education programs for school districts which wanted it as part of their health curricula.
The Personal Responsibility Education Program, under which Colorado Youth Matter functions, awards grants to organizations which educate young people on abstinence and contraception, and seek to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Its title, however, denotes more learning and less activism.
To date, HB 15-1194 is waiting in the Colorado House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. If passed through that body it will then go to the Senate, which has a Republican majority.
This article was written by a contributor of Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.
Reposted with permission by Reagangirl.com 3/21/15
March 18, 2015
The Colorado Kill Blog is the good news of the Limited Government Gospel. Here, we chronicle, with gratuitous glee, the death of bad bills.
It’s mid-session in the Colorado State Legislature, and numerous bad bills have been dispatched with extreme prejudice by the various House and Senate committees. Here, we revisit the carnage.
SB15-172–High-performance Transportation Enterprise Accountability–Sponsor, Jones (D)
This bill, having something to do with HOV lanes, mass transportation, and inter-agency communications, was presented and passed by Democrat majorities in the House and Senate in 2014, then promptly vetoed by the Governor. One can justifiably surmise that it was vetoed by Governor Hickenlooper in 2014 for the same reason it was killed by the Senate Transportation Committee in 2015, which is its indecipherable language and convoluted objectives. Despite having a relatively small Fiscal Note, it’s best that SB15-172 was quickly dispatched this year, so as to save people the mental torture of trying understanding what the hell it means.
SAVED: $65,000 over 3 years
SB15-174–Uniform Substitute Decision-making Documents Act–Sponsor, Steadman (D)
The term “uniform” is misleading as used in the language of bill since it is asking for irregular, and possible illegal, documents to be recognized where critical decisions are being made on behalf of another party. Documents, such as Power of Attorney or a proxy delegation, created outside Colorado state statutes, could be used in life-or-death decisions for individuals lacking the capacity to decide for themselves. SB15-174 would require Colorado courts to accept any “substitute document” presented in good faith, despite doubts about its authenticity relative to the person in question. Long story short, you could write your Great Uncle Verle’s will on a napkin from Burger King, leaving you his chicken farm and his trunk full of pirate gold, and, if passed, the Uniform Substitute Documents Act, would require the court to accept it as valid.
SB15-174 was taken off life-support in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
SB15-118–Eliminating Tax Deductions for CollegeInvest for Those with High Incomes–Sponsor, Merrifield (D)
Colorado law allows for payments made to CollegeInvest, a college savings plan, to be 100% tax deductible for all participants. Another benefit of such programs is that certain investment earnings and withdrawals are exempt from being reported as taxable income. This bill would eliminate the deductions for people with incomes higher than $250,000. per year, while increasing the tax deduction for those with incomes less than $75,000. to 200% of what is actually paid into the fund. A cost-shifting measure which punishes “the rich,” this bill would potentially increase state revenues due to the elimination of certain deductions. However, this bill would also harm a private company, CollegeInvest, by increasing its administrative costs, and decreasing an important customer base. The old adage, “If you want less of something, just tax it,” certainly applies here, because eliminating that tax deduction for college savings plans for “the rich,” will surely result in less “rich” people pursuing such a means to fund college for their kids.
SB15-118 was choked out in the State Finance Committee, saving Colorado $169,996.00 in administrative cost over two years.
SB15-120–Electric Grid Modernization Plans–Sponsor, Jones (D)
This bill would force the investor-owned utility companies, and all rural and municipal electric associations working under the major providers, to submit a 10-year modernization plan by the end of 2015. Although this bill sounds like common sense, it’s an unnecessary directive from government since utility companies are already addressing grid modernization, integration, and reliability issues. With heaps of regulation and layers of oversight already in place for Colorado’s PUCs (Public Utility Companies), the last thing they need is another unnecessary piece of legislation written by a state senator who failes to acknowledge that “grid modernization plans” are already in progress.
SB15-120 was electrocuted in the Senate Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, saving the state $288,000.00.
SB15-125–Statewide Registry for Advanced Directives–Sponsor, Steadman (D)
“Advanced directives” are those directions given by aging or terminally ill people, regarding end-of-life decisions, to those charged with ensuring their wishes are fulfilled. These matters are highly personal and extremely private, nevertheless, this bill would create a registry, run by the State of Colorado, into which all advanced directives given by individuals would be “registered” and recorded. The Department of Health and Environment would have to make this registry, filled with personal and highly-sensitive information, available to the public. Colorado county Clerks and Recorders would be tasked with entering the agreements, or advanced directives agreed upon by two or more parties, into a database within 14 days that such an agreement, or advance directive, was drawn up. This bill would increase costs for local governments, which makes it hard to calculate the true cost of this SB15-125. Above and beyond the costs and administrative headaches of implementation, are the dangers of placing into a government registry, private, sensitive facts and data about individuals and their loved ones.
SB15-125 was quietly euthanized in the Senate State, Veteran’s and Military Affairs committee, saving Colorado $163,222.00 over two years, and countless millions to counties over time.
SB15-132–Empowering Students in Higher Education Funding–Sponsor, Todd (D)
This bill suffered from a split personality. One aspect was simple; to include in state education standards of “Financial Literacy,” instruction on how to assess, choose and manage student loan programs. The other side of the bill, not so innocuous, would require the State Department of Higher Education to award money to programs in which students “demonstrate significant academic achievement.” In other words, the Mr. Hyde personality of SB15-132 would use tax payer money to fund programs which pick winners and losers in the student loan market.
SB15-132 was expelled from the the State Senate Education Committee, saving the tax payers of Colorado $5,008,790.00.
SB15-037–Youthful Offenders in Corrections–Sponsor, Garcia (D)
Under current Colorado law, youthful offenders who commit crimes and are incarcerated in an adult facility may be transferred to a juvenile facility, under certain circumstances, until they are 21 years of age. This law would allow criminals up to 24 years of age to be housed in facilities with juveniles. Given that many juvenile facilities house children as young as 12, SB15-037 would almost certainly open the door to older inmates preying upon younger, often emotionally-troubled, inmates. This legislation seeks to address the problems of overcrowding in adult incarceration facilities in the state, but in so doing, the Youthful Offenders bill would be placing older, harder, possibly predatory prisoners in facilities with the most vulnerable of juvenile offenders.
SB15-037 was humanely executed in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
This round of legislative slaughter saved Colorado $5695,008.00.
by Marjorie Haun 3/18/15