COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 2, 2014 — The Colorado Senate voted to pass 16 bills in 30 minutes today as Democrats sought to complete as many bills as possible in the waning days of the 2014 legislative session. There are rules in the Colorado legislature about having committee hearings for bills and about the minimum times for bills to be considered before voting.
None of that was in evidence today. The rules are regularly suspended for the last three days of the session—but the session ends Wednesday May 7th so that suspension hasn’t even begun yet.
The legislative report as of last Friday showed 236 bills not yet passed; of those, 130 were still in committee. Eliminating hearings in committee speeds up the process at the expense of citizen input. The Democrat-controlled legislature showed last year what they thought of citizen input as they forced through their anti-Second Amendment agenda.
Nothing has changed this year. Selecting Morgan Carroll as Senate President to replace recalled John Morse should have signaled that nothing had changed: if anything, Carroll is more radical than Morse.
This year the Democrats extended their destruction of the voting system in Colorado to local elections, reducing residency requirements, eliminating citizen oversight, allowing same-day registration and forcing all mail-in ballots.
This month in El Paso County there is an election for the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District. As required by the new law, mail-in ballots have been sent to all names on the voter rolls, including inactive voters. Residents tell of getting ballots for people who have moved years ago. What will unscrupulous people do with those ballots?
What else is so important that the bills must be rammed through now?
One bill (Senate Bill 14-187) spends $400,000 to fund a study on ways to reduce spending by the Colorado Healthcare Exchange, which is running in the red. The Exchange itself is mired in scandal and controversy. The director is under investigation for embezzlement in the state she came from. A net 335,000 Coloradans have lost their health insurance.
The Exchange wants to offer other products, like life insurance, to try to make more money.
The sponsor of SB-187 in the House is the very same Rep. Amy Stephens who sponsored the exchange in the first place. Stephens is actually a Republican.
There are more giveaways for school lunches, senior dental care, Alzheimer’s treatment by the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, and more government monitoring of prescription drugs. There’s even a grant to train high school students in CPR—as if that’s not already widely available from a variety of sources.
There’s also a bill regulating the amount of liability insurance transportation network companies (TNCs) must have—and it’s double that required for taxis. Why the state legislature is involved in regulating taxicab companies instead of the City of Denver is anybody’s guess.
Then there is the Cannabis Credit Co-op, also known as the Pot Bank. That bill would fund the bank with taxpayer money so that owners of cannabis businesses could do their banking. That bill is still being discussed in the Finance Committee. The governor’s Director of Marijuana Coordination –yes, this is a real position—testified to the committee that they should vote for the bill even though no one knows whether it would be legal under federal law.
Apparently you have to pass the bill to find out whether it is legal.
The state budget has already passed. Some of these new giveaways won’t have funding so it is an open question as to why the rush to pass so many bills.
The question won’t be asked by Republicans, who as minorities in both houses are mere spectators to this spectacle of one-party rule. The Founders wrote a Constitution that designed the United States as a republic that protected minority rights. Indeed, the Federalist Papers discuss in great depth the dangers of an unchecked majority and provided safeguards for minority opinion. The states formed after the Revolution from federal territories needed to have a republican form of government in their state constitutions before they could be admitted to the Union. Colorado had such a constitution.
No matter. Democrats in Colorado are all about minority rights—until they gain a majority. Then it is sit down and shut up. Literally.