Sen. Mitchell: Lawmakers must safeguard ‘domestic pleasure appliance’ purchases against state snoops

In heated debate Wednesday over controversial legislation aimed at taxing purchases from out-of-state online retailers, Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, argued that a proposed amendment to failed to fully guard purchaser privacy. He offered examples. Would you want a government bureaucrat to know that a Sen. John Morse spent money for products from Pfizer pharmaceuticals or from lingerie retailer Fredrick’s of Hollywood? he asked, chiding his Democratic colleague. Mitchell said it was one thing to open up your bookstore spending to the state but spending on drugs, for example, or “domestic pleasure appliances” would be something else.

Sen. Shawn Mitchell

Sen. Shawn Mitchell

“Can you say ‘chilling effect’?” he asked Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver, who had proposed amendment 34 to House Bill 1193. Johnston’s amendment was praised by Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, who said it made a “horrible bill” a bit better in that it at least guaranteed that itemized lists of purchases wouldn’t be released to the government.

“Sen. Brophy was being kind in his assessment of the amendment,” said Mitchell, who eventually literally threw up his hands at the podium in front of the Senate. “It does make the bill better. But it doesn’t go far enough…. I don’t know. Members, vote your consciences.”

“Say yes to the first amendment. Say no to this bill,” said Mitchell when it came time vote on HB 1193. The bill passed the Senate, 19 votes to 16.

Mitchell, an attorney and staunch anti-tax lawmaker, has been noted for colorful and offensively suggestive remarks. During a hearing of a legislative committee this summer, Mitchell told a witness that if he was nervous he should “relieve that” by “imagining the chairwoman in her underwear.” That’s “what I do when I’m nervous,” Mitchell said, referring to State Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, who was chairing the committee. Progressive activist group ProgressNow and Colorado political bloggers demanded an apology.

Pfizer is the manufacturer of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra– the “little blue pill” that has re-energized older men’s sex lives and sold wildly over the past decade.

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About the Author

John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic | 720-432-2128 |

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