Archive for the 'Colorado State Legislature' Category

What about employers who are mean and greedy?

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

On the radio Tuesday, GOP Chair Steve House amplified Republican lawmakers’ objections to the parental-leave legislation, which advanced in the state House yesterday.

Steve House said the bill, which allows parents to attend a limited number of school functions, is unneeded because employers already treat their employees nicely.

House: The point you just brought up,  one of the biggest problems we have as a Party is, we let the Democrats get away with the wrong premise — the premise in that case being that the average employer is not going to take care of their employees, or be flexible — like you just described– so therefore the government has to do it.   That’s crazy.  I’ve worked for a number of employers in my life.  I’ve watched employers deal with the fact that an employee needed  time to go to a school, or you know, to a meeting in the middle of the day. It doesn’t require government intervention unless your premise is all employers are too mean-spirited to do it, and that’s ridiculous!

KLZ 560-AM’s Steve Curtis didn’t ask Steve House, “What’s the big deal, if employers are so nice anyway. Why not have the law in place for the ones that are mean and greedy?’

We know there’s a few of them out there.

Questions about the hospital provider fee? Read this

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

Reporters have struggled to find a short-hand description for the “hospital provider fee,” because  it’s impossible to describe briefly. And lengthy descriptions of it often require multiple readings. And that’s without trying to understand the intracacies of why it’s such a big deal.

So the Colorado Independent did us all a favor by dedicating a full article to: “What you need to know about Colorado’s biggest political battle. It’s called the hospital provider fee, and it’s complicated. Let’s break it down.”

You should take a few minutes to read the entire piece, by the Independent’s Corey Hutchins, but here are a few paragraphs:

The hospital provider fee is a state program requiring hospitals to pay money each year depending on how many patients stayed in hospital beds overnight and how much outpatient services they provided. That money is then used, among other things, to help Coloradans who can’t afford insurance plans get care, and to help the state pay for people who are on Medicaid, which is a government healthcare program for low-income Coloradans and their families.

Each hospital pays a different amount — some pay a lot, some pay nothing — and the fee hauled in nearly $700 million last year. This money is then matched almost dollar for dollar by the federal government to expand Medicaid, provide health coverage for Coloradans who are using emergency rooms for non-emergency treatment, and reimburse hospitals for care. The more money the fee brings in the more money the feds give Colorado to make sure people who can’t afford healthcare get it. Since 2009, the program has helped more than 300,000 people get insurance coverage….

Democratic Sen. Pat Steadman, who sits on the state’s budget committee, explains it like this: Picture a bucket with water pouring in. The incoming water is state revenues, and when the bucket fills to the top (or hits its TABOR limits) water starts pouring over the edge— and that overflowing water (money) goes back to taxpayers in the form of rebates. Now, picture rocks in the bottom of the bucket. One of those big rocks is money from the hospital provider fee. It’s money that takes up space in the bucket, and those who want to take a big rock out can do so by reclassifying the hospital provider fee into an enterprise.

Bill on tap to restrict fetal tissue research and give women burial option for fetus

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

In a article at the end of last year, Durango Herald reporter Peter Marcus reported that Colorado Republicans plan to continue introducing anti-abortion legislation during the upcoming legislative session, some of it specifically targeting Planned Parenthood. Marcus reported:

This year, some Republicans are discussing measures to curb Planned Parenthood’s financial resources – though it does not receive direct state funding – while also forcing an investigation. Republicans also want to impose restrictions on fetal-tissue research programs and require abortion providers to counsel women on cremation and burial options.

This legislative effort to “require abotion providers to counsel women on cremation and burial options” got my attention, as it appears to be a new appraoch here–though it’s been tried nationally.

It turns out that Americans United for Life, a national anti-abortion group that provides state legislators with model legislation, has a bill posted on its website with details on what such counseling might look like and whay it would be proposed. Part of the reason for the bill, as you can read below at number 6, would be to stop fetal-tissue research.

..the purposes of this Act are to:

(1) Ensure that the mother of a deceased unborn infant is given the opportunity to bury or dispose of the bodily remains of her infant with
dignity and respect;
(2) Require institutions where deceased unborn infants are delivered or where unborn infants are aborted to provide a dignified final disposition of the
bodily remains of these infants;
(3) Require fetal death reports for all fetal deaths as defined in this Act;
(4) Ensure that parents of all stillborn infants are offered the opportunity to obtain a [Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth];
(5) Prohibit the sale, transfer, distribution, or other unlawful disposition of an
infant, an unborn infant, or bodily remains resulting from an abortion;
(6) Prohibit the use of bodily remains resulting from an abortion for experimentation; and
(7) Ensure that the bodily remains of an unborn infant resulting from an occurrence other than an abortion are not sold, transferred, or distributed for experimentation without the mother’s informed, written consent.

We don’t know whether Colorado’s bill, if one is introduced, will include all of this, but it appears state Republicans will continue their focus on fetal-tissue research in Colorado.

Cadman: “Liberal” Denver Post wants to “divide Republicans”

Monday, January 11th, 2016

In a fundraising email yesterday, Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman hisses at The Denver Post, writing:

Cadman: “You see, liberal newspapers like the Denver Post want to use this in an attempt to divide Republicans. They can’t comprehend individual thinking.”

Cadman was mad about Post reporter John Frank’s article Sunday exposing an “ideological divide” among Republicans in the state legislature that reflects the division we see on stage at GOP presidential debates. Drawing on GOP voting records, Frank’s piece outlines a pattern of Republican opposition, particularly by eight GOP state senators, to legislation that Cadman and other state Republicans supported.

Cadman’s email didn’t cite any data to support his view that The Denver Post is “liberal,” and a call to his press officer was not returned. But everyone knows The Post isn’t out to get the Republicans. There’s no basis for the accusation.

But that doesn’t stop Cadman from trying to raise money by trashing the newspaper and, by extension, the profession of journalism. How statesmanlike of him.

Over the years, I’ve chronicled these cheap attacks in Colorado (e.g, from Sen. Cory Gardner and former Secretary of State Scott Gessler.).

In this case, you have Cadman asserting that The Post can’t comprehend individual thinking, even though Cadman himself blamed his Republican opponents for not trying hard enough to iron out their individual differences.

Cadman told Frank that “Republicans who opposed the bills ‘maybe should have exerted a little more influence before they got to the floor.’”

Plus,  how could The Denver Post, even if it wanted to, divide the Republicans any better than the Republicans divide themselves? Seriously.

I’m waiting for someone like Cadman or Gardner to have the guts take their accusations against The Denver Post out of shadowy fundraising emails and talk radio and have a real debate about it. Maybe one of them would like to challenge The Post’s John Frank or Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett to a debate. Or Post Editor Greg Moore. That would be fun to see.

NARAL report: national anti-choice groups targeting Colorado

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado issued a report yesterday exposing the legislative influence in Colorado of two national anti-choice organizations, Americans United for Life (AUL) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), as well as the state-wide network of “crisis pregnancy centers.”

During the last legislative session, five bills and one resolution were modeled on AUL draft legislation, and AUL staff testified at numerous committee hearings, according to the report, titled “Against Our Will: How National Anti-Choice Groups are Targeting the Pro-Choice Majority in Colorado.

None of these bills had much chance of becoming law, as pro-choice Democrats control the governor’s office and state house.

But two of the proposed laws generated serious media attention: a measure requiring women to have an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abotion and a “fetal personhood” bill giving legal rights to a fetus, potentially threatening abortion rights, and allowing prosecutors to bring murder charges if a fetus is destroyed during criminal acts.

These two bills  were co-sponsored by key Republicans in the state, including the leading GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, State Sen. Tim Neville, and Westminster State Sen., Laura Woods, whose race next year will likely determine control of the state senate.

The AUL legislation was backed in Colorado by ADF, which frequently dispatched senior consel Mike Norton, husband of failed U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton, to the state Capitol to testify, according to the report.

AUL and ADF did not retrun my calls seeking comment for a post I wrote on this topic today for RH Reality Check.

One AUL resolution that cleared the Colorado Senate last session indicated support for government assistence to pregnancy resource centers–though such entities currently receive no state funding.

“They are a national network of generally unlicensed, unregulated anti-choice organizations posing as clinics,” the report stated. “Not only do they try to discourage women from getting an abortion with medically-inaccurate information, they use misleading advertising about their intent to get them in the door.”

The 60 CPCs in Colorado outnumber abortion providers in the state by approximately three to one, according to the report.

The largest affiliate of CPCs, Care Net, describes itself welcoming women “facing unplanned pregnancies with life-affirming compassion, hope, and help. Every year about 30,000 people volunteer at these pregnancy centers. And since 2009, there has been a 20 percent growth in the number of Care Net centers providing free ultrasounds to their clients.”

Sanctimoniousness rings hollow, especially at Chistmas

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

With Hanukkah behind me, and fresh from celebrating the solstice (and looking forward to Christmas), I saw this Facebook post by Derrick Wilburn, Vice Chair of the Colorado Republican Party.

Wilburn: For what its worth, not one of the Democrat candidates in last night’s debate mentioned or invoked “God” at any point, not even closing statements. The Republican candidates, at the very least, would end their closing statements with “God bless America” or similar. As close as any of the three last night came was Hilary who closed with, “And may the force be with you.”

Is it relevant? To some yes, to some no, but this much is inarguable – from removing of “God” from the wording of it’s 2012 platform (then subsequently adding Him back in via a rigged vote resulting in God Himself being boo’d on the convention floor) to last night’s complete snubbing, the Democrat Party is marching toward a wholly secular existence at neck-breaking speed. Some may think that’s a good thing some may not, but neither side can dispute that it is truth.

Obviously religion is important in America, but how long will Republicans promote themselves, even in a veiled manner as Wilburn does, as the party of God and Country? While taking jabs at secularism? It can’t last, with the country going in the opposite direction? Well…

More Facebook viewing turned up this post, by State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs), in which he goes further than Wilburn. He tells us who, among the believers, are the heretics and who aren’t .

“This graph separates the non-Christian, heretical, apostate churches from the true Christian churches in our generation,” wrote Klingenschmitt on Facebook, pointing to data showing that members of many Protestant denominations are now more accepting of homosexuality.

You don’t have to say “Thank God” to appreciate that trend, especially around Christmas.

On radio, state lawmaker says Planned Parenthood execs have “same demonic spirit of murder” as gunman

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Update (Dec. 11): In response to my question of whether he thinks there’s any difference between the Planned Parenthood domestic terrorist and Planned Parenthood executives, Klingenschmitt said via email, “I’ve been consistent in my statements calling for an end to ALL of the violence, not just half of the violence as the pro-abortionists do.  They remain inconsistent in their calls to end some violence, while they engage in violent behavior against children behind closed doors.”

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“Listen, the shooter was filled with the demonic spirit of murder,” said State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, a Republican, told Colorado Springs radio station KLZ 560-AM four days after the shooting (at 6:20 below). “And yet, the Planned Parenthood executives who call for not just the murder but the profiting from selling aborted baby parts, as we’ve seen from their own lips on the videos of the Center for Medical Progress over the summer, they have that same demonic spirit of murder.”

“Absolutely. Abolutely,” responded KLZ host Steve Curtis, who’s a former chair of the Colorado Republican Party.

Klingenschmitt did not immediately return an email seeking to know if he sees any difference between Planned Parenthood executives and the domestic terrorist.

Other anti-choice leaders have responded to the tragedy by objecting to the abortions at Planned Parenthood as well as the murders committed by the terrorist, but Klingenschmitt went further Dec. 1 by equating Planned Parenthood officials to the terrorist.

For example, Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason stated after the tragedy that her organization opposes all violence, including the shooting, but she criticized the media for “failing to report that innocent babies are killed in that very building every day that they are in business.”

Klingenschmitt was one of three Republicans, along with State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Westminster) and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Neville, whom pro-choice activists accused last week of inciting clinic violence through their use of “extreme” rhetoric. Klingenschmitt’s Dec. 2 comments mirror one of his quotes cited by activists as an example of the kind of language that

“Never have I called for violence. In fact, we abhor the actions of the violent shooter,” Klingenschmitt also said during the radio interview. (at 4:25 below).

Colorado Republican leader vows to continue investigating Planned Parenthood

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

Last week’s terrorism at a Planned Parenthood center won’t stop Colorado state Sen. Kevin Lundberg from conducting hearings on the women’s health organization and pushing for a state investigation.

In a Facebook post three days after the shooting, Lundberg wrote he took advantage of a budget hearing to ask Larry Wolk, Colorado’s chief medical officer, why he hasn’t launched an investigation into whether the organization violated state laws relating to fetal-tissue research.

The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reported on the incident Tuesday:

Despite the tragedy still fresh for the public and victims’ families, Republicans on Tuesday wasted no time, getting right back to the fetal body parts issue. Remarks came during a budget hearing with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“Will the department be taking some action to deal with this inadequacy?” asked Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, pointing out that the state health department has taken no action against Planned Parenthood on the fetal body parts issue.

Later, Lundberg wrote on his Facebook page that he has “specific questions” that he intends to ask Wolk during the legislative session, and Wolk ageed to testify.

“I finally had a brief opportunity to question the Colorado Health Department director, Dr. Wolk, concerning his department’s failure to thoroughly investigate possible violations of Colorado law concerning fetal tissue trafficking,” Lundberg wrote on Facebook.

Wolk’s told Lundberg at the hearing that he did not see “any connection to Colorado” in heavily-edited undercover videos, some of which featured Colorado Planned Parenthood officials. And he said he’s always available to answer questions from Lundberg.

“This despite his refusal to come or send anyone from his department to the RSCC Fetal Tissue Trafficking Hearing held on November 9,” Lundberg wrote on Facebook.

Colorado pro-choice activists on Tuesday pointed to the rhetoric at the November 9 hearing, which repeatedly spotlighted the discredited videos, as contributing to the November 27 murders in Colorado Springs. If Wolk refused to testify at the legislature, an angry Lunberg said in a radio interview about the Nov. 9 hearing, he’d consider requesting subpeona power to force him to do so.

As I wrote for RH Reality Check Friday, Lundberg wasn’t named by the activists Tuesday, but they cited his fellow Colorado legislators, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs), and state Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) for using language that incited violence directed at Planned Parenthood.

The health department has declinedColorado Statesman to investigate Planned Parenthood in Colorado.

Klingenschmitt says Gardner is doing the “Bob and Weave Dance”

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt likes to come out swinging at his various targets, including, now, his Republican opponent for state senate, Rep. Bob Gardner.

Showing off his media skills, Klingenschmitt posted an entertaining video today, labeling Gardner a “liberal” and featuring Gardner doing the “Bob and Weave Dance.”

Klingenschmitt: My opponent for the race for State Senate District 12, Bob Gardner, has just started performing this Bob and Weave Dance to perfection! Here’s a quick example. If you’re following this Colorado Springs election, you know we’re both Republicans. And I’m actually conservative and Bob Gardner is a liberal who pretends to be a conservative.

Klingenschmitt’s undercover video features Gardner saying he supports the principles of liberty, but Chaps points to the Principle of Liberty website, which lists Gardner as receiving an F in 2013 2014.

“Don’t believe ratings systems that are odd, distorted,” Gardner says in Chaps’ video.

Chaps calls that the Bob and Weave Dance–and he wants an apology from Gardner for allegedly calling Chaps a liar.

He concludes with, “Unlike you, Mr. Bob-and-Weave Gardner, I don’t dance.” (But we know Chaps does throw poop.)

https://youtu.be/iJLP4e8Nduc

Lundberg may try to subpoena witnesses who declined to answer questions at today’s hearing

Monday, November 9th, 2015

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.

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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.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/co-state-sen-lundberg-on-klz-discusses-planned-parenthood-hearings-nov-5-2015