Bipartisan shooting range approaches; pot representative to join DUI task force; no more submarine cars

Bipartisan shooting range approaches; pot representative to join DUI task force; no more submarine cars

Bipartisan bill to allow Grand Junction shooting-range approved by House

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When the coal-fired Cameo Power Plant east of Grand Junction closed down at the end of 2010, it wasn’t entirely clear what would become of the plant’s 1,000 acres. Today the House gave initial approval to HB 1275, which authorizes the The Division of Parks and Wildlife to buy the property and turn it into the Cameo Sport Shooting Complex.

The project is estimated to cost more than $20 million in a combination of public, private and grant dollars. It would include a variety of shooting and archery ranges as well as an indoor classroom and pro shop.

“I know you’re thinking — what is a Denver Democrat doing on this bill?” joked co-sponsor Crisanta Duran on the House floor this morning. The measure is important, she said, because it encourages gun safety and hunting culture.

Rep. Don Coram of Montrose, the bill’s other co-sponsor in the House, said planners of the project are raring to go and that appraisals and environmental impact studies should be done within the year.

The measure got initial approval today and will likely come up for a final vote this week.

 

Impaired driving task force to include pot representatives 

A month after Colorado’s slew of 30-second “Drive High, Get a DUI” Public Service Announcements went viral, the House approved Greeley Rep. Dave Young’s bill to add a retail marijuana expert to the drunk and impaired driving task-force.

HB 1321 actually changes the name of the task-force — once drunk driving, now drunk and impaired driving — to better reflect the fact that driving stoned didn’t become legal just because recreational pot did. In addition to bringing recreational weed users into the safe-to-drive conversation, the bill also adds a representative of the police training board and two members appointed by the Office of Behavioral Health.

Young said the modifications to the board are all about helping Colorado’s law enforcement come up to speed with the pressing new safety concerns created by legalization.

 

Senate agrees, no more secret submarine cars 

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Senate agrees with the House: buyers of submarine cars deserve forewarning.

After disastrous water incidents throughout the country — from hurricanes Katrina and Sandy to Colorado’s own biblical deluge this fall, a lot of damaged cars have hit the Colorado market with clean titles. That’s because Colorado is what’s knows as a “title washing” state. Any car older than six years of age can have a clean title even if previous damage totaled the vehicle. Aurora Sen. Nancy Todd’s HB 1299 sews up that loophole.

Todd said the bill is particularly important in an economic climate where the average age of the cars on the rode exceeds ten years. Several senators worried that repealing the title washing law would make it hard for folks on low incomes to resell cars that have had a tough life even if they’ve been thoroughly repaired.

“The main point about this bill is that you need to disclose,” said Todd. Changing the law wouldn’t require anyone driving a stolid old beater to get rid of their car or change the title until they wanted to sell.

The measure got initial approval today and will likely come up for a final vote this week.

 

Fraud investigation funding gets easy approval in the Senate

In the House, a bill allocating more funding to the state’s fraud investigation unit caused a major floor fight a fortnight ago. HB 1057‘s House sponsor Pueblo Rep. Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff promised that the bill — which raises a registration fee for small businesses by a dollar to pay for more investigators — wouldn’t actually cost businesses anything because the Secretary of State’s office had promised to take a smaller portion of the fee for its own administrative budget in order to put more in the investigation pot.

The Secretary’s office has been in a prolonged conflict with the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee over the office’s over-drawn budget. As a result, many opponents of the bill said that while it would be great for more money to go to business fraud investigation, they disagreed that the Secretary’s office could afford to do it without passing on the financial burden to business owners.

After much debate, the bill passed in that chamber at the end of March, and by the time it came to the Senate floor today the Secretary of State drama appeared to have dissipated entirely.

The Senate sponsor, Mesa County Sen. Steve King, introduce the bill as a straight fee increase. Sen. Own Hill of Colorado Springs got up and commended the Secretary of State’s office for agreeing “to do more with less” and offsetting the fee.

The measure won initial approval without a single audible “no” vote.

 

Collective memory and storytelling during Holocaust Awareness Week

Both chambers took time this morning to discuss a resolution commemorating Holocaust Awareness Week. Lawmakers shared stories of survival and remembrance, they also called for continued attention to acts of systemic violence the world over.

“We must always remember what took place. We must also remember the power of forgiveness,” said Denver Rep. Crisanta Duran.

Denver Rep. Paul Rosenthal, one of the resolution’s sponsors in the House, emphasized that the measure isn’t just about collective memory, but also collective awareness. Despite firm popular agreement after World War II that genocide should never happen again, Rosenthal noted, genocides have continued from Cambodia to Syria.

“Perpetrators of genocide thrive not only on hate but on the indifference of the rest of the world,” he said.

Jack Welner, a Holocaust survivor, visited the capitol today to hear the resolution.  The Colorado Independent did a five-part profile of Welner in 2007. Read his story here.

Rosenthal closed the discussion in the House with a remembrance prayer which he dedicated to lost members of his own  family, to the 6 million members of the Jewish people who lost their lives in the Holocaust and to victims of genocide across the globe.

“In the rising of the sun, and its going down, we remember them …”

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About the Author

Tessa Cheek

She writes and makes photos about communities. Her book, Great Wall Style, a monograph-profile-lyric essay, is out from Images Publishing. tcheek@coloradoindependent.com | 720-440-2527 | @tessacheek

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