State Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, whose narrow defeat Nov. 4 was one of the biggest shockers of the election and a rare setback for Colorado Dems, is lamenting the potential demise of his pet project — a felony DNA-swabbing bill.
Chairman of the Joint Budget Committee and the presumptive speaker of the House prior to the election, Buescher told the Grand Junction Free Press Monday he fears that a bill, which would require Colorado law enforcement officials to collect and store cheek swabs of anyone arrested on felony charges, will be derailed along with his two-term state House tenure.
Buescher said that as speaker he would have had time to shepherd through the legislation, which he’d been working on for more than a year and, he said, would have made it much easier to catch rape and murder suspects. He said he doubts that incoming speaker of the House Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, will take over the measure, which Buescher admitted is controversial.
“The speaker tends to only carry three or four or five bills a year,” Buescher told the Free Press. “I was willing to make a substantial commitment of time to that bill and I just, I don’t know who is willing to do that right now. My estimation is that bill is very difficult to carry if I’m not carrying it.”
The Republican who beat out the popular Buescher, Laura Bradford of Collbran, said she would likely be more focused on business-oriented legislation when the first session commences in January, although she didn’t rule out taking over Buescher’s efforts on DNA swabs, which already can be legally collected from convicted felons.