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House GOP Newsletter  
March 23, 2015  Like

♦We can afford Felony DUI

Weekly Update   ♦Upcoming Bills   ♦Press Releases

♦In the News   ♦Tweets of the Week   ♦Capitol Pictures

We can afford Felony DUI

By Representative Lori Saine

Roughly one year ago, 17 year-old Juan Carlos Dominguez Palomino was turning his Chevrolet Camaro onto Colfax Avenue in Aurora when a drunk driver slammed his SUV into the driver's side door, tragically killing Juan Carlos. Aside from the vehicular homicide and reckless driving charges, the driver was charged with driving under the influence for a fourth time. If four DUIs are alarming, consider there are drunk drivers sharing our roads today convicted of driving under the influence 10, even 15, times.

Colorado is sadly one of only five states without a felony DUI statute, meaning district attorneys must prosecute a third, fourth or even a 15th or 20th DUI the same as the first. Ultimately, regardless of the previous number of DUI convictions and blood alcohol content, the charge can never be more than a misdemeanor.

This year, I am again carrying legislation that would establish a felony DUI statute in Colorado. This bill, House Bill 1043, gives district attorneys the option to prosecute a third DUI in seven years, if certain aggravators are present, or a fourth in a lifetime as a Class 4 felony. To get a felony conviction for a third DUI in seven years, a prosecutor would need to prove either the driver operated under the influence with a child in the vehicle, caused injury or damage, fled the site of a crash, or had a BAC of 0.15 or higher at the time of the violation.  

While this bill has received broad support, some members of the legislature are concerned Colorado may not be able to afford this legislation – I am here to tell you we can.

Since fiscal year 2008-09, our general fund revenue has grown by more than $2.8 billion dollars, or approximately 43 percent. Our Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) has helped keep our tax rates low, our state government lean, and allowed our economy to surge, becoming one of the fastest growing in the nation. In fact, for the first time in 15 years, our state tax revenue actually exceeded our constitutional limit, prompting taxpayer refunds. So what does this all mean? It means Colorado can afford a felony DUI law, and any attempts to dispute this reflect a lack of prioritization not a lack of funding. 

Fiscal analysts have determined my bill would cost approximately $2.4 million next year. With the fiscal year 2015-16 general fund spending expected to be close to $10.3 billion dollars, the relatively meager cost of felony DUI should not in any way prevent this legislation from becoming law. Simply put, there is no logical reason a public safety bill this important not be at the top of every legislator's list and promptly reach the governor's desk this year.

We appreciate you taking the time to read our newsletter and encourage you to address concerns with your respective representative. You can keep up with all of our updates by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or visiting www.cohousegop.com.

Sincerely,

Lori Saine

House GOP Weekly Update

Representative Lang Sias (R-Arvada) gives the weekly House GOP Update for the week of March 16-20th. 

Click here to view previous weekly updates.

Upcoming Bills of Interest

House Bill 1294 -- Federal Law In-state Tuition For Veterans

Representative Jon Keyser (R-Morrison)

Wednesday, March 25, Upon Adjournment, House Education Committee

House Bill 1043 -- Felony Offense for Repeat DUI Offenders

Representative Lori Saine (R-Firestone)

Wednesday, March 25, 1:30 pm, House Finance Committee

Senate Bill 137 -- PACE Program Flexibility For Business Entity

Representative Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland)

Thursday, March 26, 1:30 pm, House Business Affairs and Labor Committee

Press Releases

In the News

 Tweets of the Week 

Fab townhall today! Terrific turnout & participation. We'll do it again Apr 18 pic.twitter.com/TotPMa4FeU

Thrilled to present HR Eagle Scout Wesley Hatcher with an official tribute from the House of Representatives! Congrats! pic.twitter.com/qWJlsmVkc0

Small businesses are the backbone of job creation. Thank you @NFIB @cologop @GOP #COpolitics #coleg @COHouseGOP #tcot

Capitol Pictures

      Rep. Perry Buck (R-Windsor) meeting with a group of volunteers from Wisconsin visiting to help clean up the flood damage in Colorado.

             Rep. Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs) getting his bill, House Bill 1078, that protects foster care kids           signed by the governor.

        Rep. Clarice Navarro (R-Pueblo) displays a doll made for legislators by children with the Colorado Children's Campaign for Doll Day 2015. 

           Rep. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument) presenting his bill, House Bill 1196, that will give parents more flexibility and access over which schools to send their children.

You can keep up with all of our updates by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or visiting ColoradoHouseGOP.com.

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