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Colorado House Republicans

House GOP Newsletter

Monday, March 13, 2017

♦Mid Session Review   ♦House GOP Weekly Update
♦Recent Press   ♦Upcoming Legislation   ♦In the News
♦Member Tweets   ♦Capitol Pictures
Mid Session Review 

By House Republican Leader Patrick Neville

I have the honor of serving as Minority Leader in the Colorado House of Representatives alongside an amazing collection of entrepreneurs and attorneys, builders and business owners, ranchers, pilots and others who offer their real-world experience, intelligence and imagination to the House. As representatives, they work hard and make genuine sacrifices to serve their constituents. They take that title, ‘representative’, as a sacred trust, and it means they are guided by the concerns of constituents as well as their own consciences and common sense in proposing or opposing new laws.

As a group we seek to promote the causes of liberty, justice, and common sense good government via legislation. Our legislation is grounded in these fundamental values which themselves derive from our state and federal constitutions.

Along these lines, several good pieces of legislation have already emerged this session. We made it possible to prosecute child abusers in a way that doesn’t expose victims to multiple trials and the need to testify, and did so in a way that is more economical for the state and brings a perpetrator to justice more quickly (HB17-1109). We passed legislation making it possible for law enforcement to use electronic intercepts in pursuit of human traffickers who exploit people as sex slaves (HB17-1040). In education, we replaced a demonstrably ineffective ninth grade assessment with one geared to the ninth grade curriculum (and consistent with the tenth grade test), and saved taxpayers’ money at the same time (HB17-1181). We passed legislation to give good Samaritans clear directions to rescue animals or children trapped in unsafe vehicles and be immune from property damages (HB17-1179). We’ve also passed several bills that streamline government by removing inefficiencies and redundancies – all examples of common sense good government.

Meeting one of the goals mentioned in my opening day remarks, every one of these bills passed with bipartisan support.


Nevertheless, there have also been missed opportunities that would have benefitted the people of Colorado. Senate Bill 01 would have provided regulatory relief to over 600,000 small businesses and millions of Coloradans. The bill would have enabled these businesses and government regulators to work in a more cooperative environment. Leaders from the business community along with chambers of commerce testified in support of the bill, but it was killed in a partisan committee vote – leading some Democrats privately to question the strategy of leaving business owners with the impression that Democrats were anti-business. I’m hopeful that our bipartisan initiatives on construction litigation reform will yet succeed – it would be a big ‘win’ for Coloradans who want attainable housing, something in short supply these days.

As representatives, we’re committed to hearing the voices of all Coloradans, and so we’ve proposed bills and had committee hearings on important issues like freedom of religion, the ability to invoke second amendment rights to defend children in schools, the rights of property owners against municipalities who would prevent them from benefitting from their own mineral rights, and the ability of citizens to hold government officials accountable when they advance ‘sanctuary city’ policies. These bills died in committee, and until we are a majority these causes are unlikely to advance, but we bring them up for debate out of respect for our voters and in hopes of persuading others of their importance to a society that values justice and liberty.

According to our state constitution, our chief responsibility as lawmakers is to develop a balanced annual budget that addresses the core functions of government as defined by law: funding the government and the courts along with education and transportation. Some politicians appear to have been infected with the ‘so many good causes, so little time’ theory of governance by which they use taxpayer money to fund their own favored big-government projects – but a great many of these causes do not reflect the values and priorities of Coloradans or the priorities mandated by our constitution. I would also point out that we in the legislature have no money of our own to spend, it all comes from you the taxpayer and we are committed to investing your money wisely.

With rare exceptions, over the past several years the voters have told us they do not feel under-taxed nor do they always believe they are getting value for money from the state government – yet nothing is more predictable this time of year than these familiar memes: “we need more money”, “there’s a crisis in ___ (fill in the blank with ‘education’, ‘transportation’, ‘healthcare’, etc.), “we owe it to our children”, “we’re hamstrung by the constitution”, and the like.

Fact is, from 2006 to 2016 our population increased from 4.72 to 5.54 million people (a rise of 17%). At the same time, inflation remained low, averaging 2.4% per year, yet our state budget ballooned from $16.3B to $27.15B – an increase of 67%. Our state government has grown significantly faster than population and inflation – the limits to growth according to its constitution.

In the past few years, personal incomes have risen slightly, but markedly higher costs for healthcare and housing mean the average taxpayer has no more money to spend now than he or she did years ago. Coloradans are historically proud of their self-reliance, but since 2010 the number of our citizens who rely on Medicaid for healthcare has risen from 618,000 to 1,045,000– an increase of 69%. Coloradans haven’t changed, but it’s no coincidence that those numbers rose at the same time President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) appeared – not only did the ACA make health care policies unaffordable, it hurt the economy so that many good people lost jobs or had hours reduced and had no where else to turn. We are optimistic that our national economy will strengthen, but the financial realities indicate that now is not the time for a spending spree, especially when we’re spending your money.

Like our colleagues on the opposite side, Republicans began the session with new leadership. But unlike our opponents, the Minority is a safe place for wise and independent minded discussion and debate about new approaches to governing that will benefit all Coloradans. When old ideas and formulas no longer deliver positive results for the people of Colorado, the times demand bold and creative leadership – the sort of leadership embodied in the wise and energetic members of our caucus. We will work to revamp the way we craft budgets to ensure these members can more easily bring their talents and experience to solving Colorado’s financial problems, and we will work for the remainder of the session on streamlining the budget so that you aren’t saddled with another tax increase, especially if it’s absent real reform, transparency, and accountability. As I’ve said from the beginning, we don’t have a revenue problem – we have a spending problem, and it’s our job to see to it that Coloradans get their money’s worth when it comes to the annual state budget, ever mindful that we’re spending your money.

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and you can keep up with all of our caucus updates by following us on Twitter and Instagram, liking us on Facebook, subscribing to our YouTube channel  or visiting COHouseGOP.com.

Sincerely,

Representative Patrick Neville
House GOP Weekly Update

Upcoming Legislation

Finance, LSB-A, Upon Adjournment

State, Veterans, & Military Affairs, LSB-A, 1:30 p.m.
In The News
  • They should call it the You First Act. The bleary-eyed can take heart Sunday morning when daylight saving time begins and they’ve lost an hour of sleep. The Colorado legislature feels their pain.
    A bill introduced — well, reintroduced — in the Colorado House this week would make daylight saving time the year-round clock in Colorado. That would mean no more falling back in November and springing forward in March. ("Daylight saving time proposal dawns in the House," Colorado Politics, 03/09/17)


  • A bill introduced into the Colorado Legislature late Wednesday calls for a measure to be placed on this fall’s ballot to raise taxes for transportation projects. The measure, HB1242, is part of a compromise between Republicans who control the Senate and Democrats the House to create a long-term, sustainable funding stream for transportation projects. ("Tax increase proposed for transportation," Grand Junction Sentinel, 03/08/17)

  • Bipartisan legislation allowing cell-phone and broadband service providers better access to municipal markets won approval in the House Tuesday, March 7th. House Bill 1193, sponsored in the lower chamber by Reps. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, and Tracy Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada, should translates to faster and better upgrades to cell-telephone service. From a press statement by the House GOP: The bill streamlines broadband and cell providers’ ability to access a local municipality’s light poles, light standards, traffic signals, or utility poles to install small cell signal transmitters, or “micro cell technology.” Micro cell technology is associated with improving 4G and carrying 5G service in Colorado. ("Lawmakers pry open the market a bit more for cell-phone service, broadband," Colorado Politics, 03/08/17)

GOP Member Tweets


Kim Ransom @Kim Ransom

Why yes - I was on time to work today, didn't miss a minute.  In a red jacket.  #daywithoutawoman #committeed #elected #honoredtoserve in #coleg

Capitol Pictures

Bill sponsor Representative Steve Humphrey (R-Eaton) poses with supporters of SB17-062, as well as fellow members of the House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs committee, after passage of the bill, which expands and protects free speech on college campuses in Colorado.
Representative Paul Lundeen (R-Monument) speaks to Boy Scouts at the capitol.
Representative Kim Ransom (R-Douglas County) meets with visitors to the capitol for Chronic Disease Colorado Day.
Representative Susan Beckman (R-Littleton) addresses questions at a town hall meeting.
 
 
 
 

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