Senate protects seniors from ID theft and teens from becoming stoners — all before adjourning at 10am

House bill double dunk: Senators all approve protections against under-age pot smoking, updating concealed carry permits 

doubl dunk

Two House bills got quick and unwavering support on final reading in the Senate today.

Legal weed, like Ibuprofen, will now have to be sold in child-proof containers because of a popular measure from Littleton Democrat Senator Linda Newell. HB 1122 will also authorize pot vendors to confiscate fake IDs and make selling marijuana to a minor a Level 1 misdemeanor.

Senator Lois Tochtrop of Thornton’s little discussed, much loved, bill will allow gun owners to update their concealed-carry permits with their local sheriff instead of the sheriff of the county where they originally got their permit. Tochtrop calls HB 1166 a double whammy of good policy: saving people time and contributing to public safety.

Both measures passed without any no votes. Tochtrop’s bill goes directly to the Governor’s desk while the pot bill will take a quick stop in the House for the approval of a Senate amendment.


After much pranking, Sen. George Rivera passes highly technical records bill 

Freshman Senator George Rivera got a serious joshing yesterday after spending a long time explaining a wonky yet bipartisan records update bill he’s carrying with Representative Dan Pabon.

“Is the sponsor filibustering his own bill?” asked Senator Scott Renfroe of Eaton once Rivera had finished explaining the 11 subsections of HB 1073.

Most notably, the measure would protect seniors against identity theft by keeping marriage and civil union applications permanently private. Right now, those applications are opened to the public after 50 years. That can make elderly Coloradans vulnerable to identity theft because the applications include personal information such social security numbers, dates of birth and mothers’ maiden names.

The bill also prioritizes use of death verifications instead of death certificates in legal matters such as property inheritance because the verifications contain less private information about while still confirming that a person has passed away.

In what looked a lot like a silly round of floor play as pay-back for Rivera’s lengthy and dry bill description, the chamber appeared to vocally fail the bill on second reading yesterday, only to call it back up for vote and pass it before adjourning.

Today, as the measure went up for a final vote, Rivera was finally in on the joke as he took the floor.

“I cannot tell you how good this bill is … folks from the other side of the world — the other side of the aisle — they love this bill!” he said briefly.

The Senate first failed the bill on a 19-15 vote then, outing the gentle prank, they immediately moved to reconsider the bill and passed it with only one no vote, from Rivera’s fellow Republican Senator Vicki Marble. After the measure passed, Marble offered herself as a co-sponsor, but was told she couldn’t add her name to a measure she voted against.

Thoroughly hazed, the bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.


Will partisan debate on affordable housing bill ever pass like water under the bridge? 

Rep. Crisanta Duran’s affordable housing bill, HB 1017, saw some serious floor debate and lots of suggested amendments yesterday. The measure creates a tax credit for the construction of affordable housing, with priority given to the victims of natural disasters such as flood and fire.

“This tax credit was inspired by the Reagan administration. It is a meaningful tool to create public private partnerships to address the issues at hand,” said Duran, a Denver Democrat.

Today, as the measure came of for a final vote, Rep. Jonathan Singer of Longmont tried to head-off any more floor fisticuffs by quoting Confucius: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

“Let’s give this bill a big, strong bipartisan send-off to the Senate. Let’s give their committees the time and resources to explore the amendment that failed yesterday. Let’s talk about how to help flood victims with flood victims at the table,” Singer said.

His speech riled several opponents of the bill who took the floor saying they hadn’t planned on discussing the issue more, but were now inspired.

“I actually think the problem of affordable housing is much older than the flood,” said Rep. Cheri Gerou, referring to consumer protection measures passed in 2010 by the legislature which she feels have hamstrung Colorado’s affordable housing market.

“When we look at statistics, at where we were seven years ago, 26 percent of the building inventory was multifamily homes. Now we’re down to two or three percent… . That’s reality,” agreed minority leader Rep. Brian DelGrosso.

Duran didn’t back down, saying research showed that a tax credit would be an effective means of jump-starting Colorado’s stalled affordable housing market.

Citing a study by the National Association of Homebuilders, she said that building and rehabilitating 1,374 subsidized homes in Colorado may add up to more than 2,179 jobs, $151 million in workers’ income, $27 million in tax and other revenue for state and local governments.

Her bill passed on a near party-line vote and will now head to the Senate.