UPDATE: An attorney from AG Coffman’s office decided at the last minute to attend the event, letting Lundberg know 45 minutes before he arrived. He told lawmakers that the AG’s office did not have jusisdiction to investigate. The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus tweeted that the legislature’s nonpartisan legislative legal services office also declined an invitation to attend. With witnesses from across the political spectrum refusing to participate in today’s “informational hearing” on alleged sales of fetal-tissue for research purposes, Sen. Kevin Lundberg may request authority to subpoena witnesses for legislative hearings next year.
With witnesses from across the political spectrum refusing to participate in today’s “informational hearing” on alleged sales of fetal-tissue for research purposes, Sen. Kevin Lundberg may request authority to subpoena witnesses for legislative hearings next year. – See more at: http://coloradopols.com/diary/77971/lundberg-may-try-to-subpoena-witnesses-who-declined-to-answer-questions-at-todays-hearing#more-77971
“I can go to the Senate and seek permission to have that authority for any specific issue,” said Lundberg, who’s the Senate Republican Assistant Majority Leader, on KLZ 560-AM Thursday (at 18:45 below). “And this may rise to that occasion.”
“I have never seen subpoena powers granted to a [Colorado legislative] committee, but it’s within the rules,” said Lundberg on air, citing his position as chair of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, which would have jurisdiction on this matter.
Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado State University, Planned Parenthood, and the University of Colorado have refused to attend today’s 9 a.m. hearing at the state capitol to answer questions from Lundberg and 20 other conservative state lawmakers, Lundberg told KLZ morning host Steve Curtis.
If they refuse to testify again next year, Lundberg said, he’ll consider seeking subpoena power from his Senate colleagues, who hold a majority.
“I haven’t ruled that out at all,” he told Curtis, adding that it will depend on what information is uncovered at today’s hearing. Lundberg believes, for example, that if fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood were used in scientific research at Colorado Universities, it would violate Colorado’s ban on indirect funding of abortion. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains maintains that it has no fetal-tissue donation program.
For background on CSU and CU’s fetal-tissue programs see here and here.
Witnesses who have agreed to answer questions today, including a representative of the anti-choice Alliance Defending Freedom, appear to share the conservative leanings of Lundberg and others on the Republican Study Committee of Colorado, which is conducting the informational hearing.
The Grand Junction Sentinel described the group as “made up of 21 of the most conservative Republican representatives and senators in the Colorado Legislature.”
“This is a ridiculous waste of taxpayers’ dollars and recourses. (Planned Parenthood) does not have a fetal tissue donation program, and the basis of the (committee’s) entire study is in sham videos that have been debunked repeatedly here and nationally,” Cathy Alderman, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains told the Grand Junction Sentinel last month.
“If we don’t answers at the hearing on Monday down at the Capitol, I’ll turn this information over the appropriate legislative committees of reference and see if they can sort it out,” Lundberg told KLZ.