Dumbest Bill Ever. Ever.

UPDATE: Yes, ex-lobbyist Sen. Pat Steadman (D) was pushing this bill too. Somebody should really have a talk with him about appearances, the bill was no less a PR disaster with Steadman pitching it. According to Lynn Bartels, GOP Rep. Larry Liston claims there were “some” other Democrats on board as well–nobody willing to say so now, we’d guess.

One can hardly believe this bill was introduced at all, but 7NEWS eulogizes it–we know some Republicans who wish it had never seen the light of day. A lesson in appearances:

An attempt to allow some people to bypass security at the state Capitol has failed. A bill to allow lobbyists to not have to go through metal detectors to enter the Capitol was voted down in a legislative committee Tuesday afternoon. Rep. Larry Liston, R-Colorado Springs, wanted to allow lobbyists to be able to pay a fee, undergo a background check and get a pass to avoid having to wait in security lines.

“I did not realize there were going to be this many people wanting to testify, obviously I’ve ripped open a scab,” Liston said.

One person who testified against the legislation referred to hearing the bill called the “Lexus lane for the lobbyists.”

“I don’t think this is an overly burdensome requirement,” said one lobbyist about going through metal detectors…

You’re damn right lobbyists ran from this bill–we can scarcely imagine a more outrageous message to send to the public than a bill allowing lobbyists to bypass capitol security (although we’ve got to assume that some lobbyist convinced Liston that this bill was necessary). It doesn’t matter if they are at the capitol every day, let them go through the same security every citizen has to pass through. Rep. Joe Miklosi said it best to the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels:

“My constituents have never come to me and said, ‘Please make it easier for lobbyists to get into the Capitol.'”

We talked a few days ago about a bill, introduced by a Democrat, that could be considered politically toxic in an election year: a small-potatoes distraction from the key priorities of jobs and education that the legislature needs to focus on right now. We’d say that bill just got outdone by orders of magnitude–if the Democrats are smart, they will airdrop the “GOP Lobbyist Lexus Lane Bill” into every Colorado voter’s living room.

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  1. Ralphie says:

    Like lobbyists don’t have easy enough access to our legislators already?  We need to give them security-jumping privileges that average citizens don’t have?

    Agreed.  Dumbest.bill.ever.

  2. ClubTwitty says:

    To speed the corporate paymasters through the queue.

    The ‘Molson-Coors cut line’ and ‘EnCana Express lane.’

    “Speeding delivery of cash to your ‘representatives’ since 2010”

  3. Ambassador says:

    If he was smart, he would have introduced a bill for kids to not go through security checkpoint. That would have been better.

    After all, there are more kids that come throught the capitol than lobbyists.

    • gertie97 says:

      Lobbyists, both paid and unpaid, are very thick upon the ground.

      • ThillyWabbit says:

        But I still bet the school groups outnumber the lobbyists. After all, the school kids are typically one-time visitors and the lobbyists are repeats. It might be close at any one moment in terms of the head count in the building, but in terms of entrances and exits the kids have to have the lobbyists beat because there are several groups throughout the day, whereas the lobbyists tend to linger like the flu.

  4. Ellie says:

    Guess the leg. figured they would be too busy at the end bleeding all over the floor on the budget.

  5. kateforgach says:

    In case you hadn’t heard, the Colorado legislature has introduced a bill which would make merchants collect sales tax if they have even one affiliate in Colorado. As a result, over 200 merchants have already said they will quit working with all Colorado affiliates. This could wipe out significant income overnight for affiliate marketers, bloggers and non-profits that use affiliate programs to raise money for their organizations.

    We still have a chance to fight this bill, but we need your help. There are two easy things you can do today and tomorrow to help fight the advertising tax in Colorado.”

    Read more at: http://tinyurl.com/yav9thw

    On a personal note, there’s a good chance I would lose my wonderful job if HB-1993 passes. I worked like blazes for three years to secure a decent job with a living wage and benefits. After just one month, I could see this job disappear as the company would likely move to another state.

    This comes at a particularly bad time for our company, which has been growing by leap and bounds since it’s founding two years ago. Last week, the CEO purchased office space that would allow us to grow from five employees to 20 employees, based on an excellent business model.

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      Just one state – and this is a credible threat. If 20 states do it, then everyone pays and they continue doing business.

    • Does this bill change anything for companies with a real storefront in the state?  It’s always been my impression that if you maintained a physical presence in a state, you were liable for sales taxes to that state regardless of whether or not the sale came through the in-state store or via the Internet.

      Every major online store operates this way.  Even Dell charges sales tax here in Colorado.

      The only business model I was under the impression that was affected by this type of law is an Internet business where “affiliates” offer secondary online sites that forward business through the main Internet seller’s site or service.  I.e. it only affects people making money in a state through strictly virtual services as part of an affiliation to out-of-state sellers.

      I have no problem with such a law.  The Internet affiliate program is closely analogous to a retail presence.  Internet sellers still must charge sales tax if they have a physical presence in the buyer’s state – what’s the problem?

      • Several other states already have such a provision.

        The goal of such an affiliate program is to drive business to the main seller via the popularity of the affiliates.  Chop out successful affiliates, and you decrease revenue.

        • Old Time Dem says:

          that only New York currently defines nexus for sales tax purposes to include affilate-marketing programs.  The law has been upheld (against a challenge by Amazon) in the trial court and an appeal is pending.

          Many other states (including now Colorado) are considering legislation similar to New York’s.

          • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

            Then I think joining in could work – NY is such a large market companies will work with the new rules.

            • Old Time Dem says:

              Amazon can service New York without affiliates, and continue to not collect NY sales tax, or it can use NY affiliates and collect NY sales tax.  It’s their business decision–if affilate programs don’t drive business, they are expendable.

              The Colorado bill would only apply if the gross receipts from affiliate programs exceeds $10,000 (the NY law contains a similar provision).  In addition, the use of affiliates actually only creates a presumption that the retailer has a presence in Colorado–there still has to be sales tax nexus under the U.S. Constitution.  Eventually, the US SCt will probably have to weigh in on whether affiliates create nexus.

              BTW, there is no doubt that when a Colorado resident purchases from Amazon, for example, that the sale is taxable.  The issue is whether the state can compel Amazon to collect and remit the tax, or whether it has to rely on the Colorado purchaser to file a use tax return and remit the proper tax.

            • Old Time Dem says:

              have enacted so-called “Amazon laws” already.

              (correction to above comment noting that only NY has such a nexus law in effect)

    • Old Time Dem says:

      whose success turns on evading state sales taxes might not be an excellent business model.

  6. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    A bill that requires registered lobbyists to first spend ½ hour doing community service before being allowed in the building? That would get a lot of support 🙂

  7. donscottknox says:

    The news articles posted here fail to address an important related issue: Journalists with offices get after-hours access to the Capitol, with Colorado State Patrol authorization.

    Not to take anyone’s side on this issue (I could care less who gets security and who doesn’t), but Rep. Liston’s right when he says there are carve outs for other groups. Top of the list: Journalists.

    The after-hours access by the media seems especially glaring. I bet no constituent has asked Rep. Miklosi for after-hours access to the Capitol by the media, but they have it.

    Oh, and one more thing. Some journalists, though not all, are treated to rent-free office space at the Capitol year-round. The Durango Herald and the Grand Junctioh Daily Sentinel use this as their primary Denver bureaus, covering other events including plane crashes and political conventions that are otherwise unrelated to Capitol business. Is this not a special favor for a special class of citizens?

    The primary difference between the lobbyist effort and the journalists’ access is that (my assumption here) the lobbyists HAD to run a bill while the media just got the perk handed to them. As a career journalist, this special treatment stinks to high heaven. Clearly, I’m disappointed in my craft.  

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