We were amused to come across this social media malfunction today in which the official account of the Colorado Republican Party re-tweeted Colorado GOP Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown offering some ill-considered praise:
— KBBColorado (@ColoradoKbb) May 5, 2021
The key word here is “we.” When Brown congratulates Republican Rep. Kevin Van Winkle and writes that “this is an essential issue we can all agree on,” she apparently isn’t talking about the 15 REPUBLICANS who voted “NO” on HB21-1258 (Rapid Mental Health Response for Colorado Youth). The “NO” votes for this well-publicized legislation include both the current House Minority Leader Hugh McKean and the former House Minority Leader, Rep. Pat Neville.
Also voting against Van Winkle’s bill were some familiar Republican names: Rep. Mark Baisley, Rep. Rod Bockenfeld, Rep. Mary Bradfield, Rep. Tim Geitner, Rep. Ron Hanks, Rep. Stephanie Luck, Rep. Andres Pico, Rep. Kim Ransom, Rep. Janice Rich, Rep. Shane Sandridge, Rep. Matt Soper, Rep. Dave Williams, and Rep. Dan Woog. Two Republican House Members were listed as “excused” in the final vote, which means that a grand total of 7 Republicans voted “YES” on this “essential issue we can all agree on.”
And what does HB21-1258 seek to accomplish that is of such concern that 2 out of 3 House Republicans can’t agree? As CBS4 Denver reports:
One of the most ambitious mental health bills in state history is making its way through the legislature. The goal of the legislation is to help kids struggling with pandemic-related depression and anxiety.
Even before COVID-19, Colorado had a mental health crisis among kids. Suicide is the number one cause of death among kids ages 10-18 in Colorado, and Children’s Hospital says, since the pandemic started last year, it’s seen a 10% increase in emergency room visits by kids having suicidal thoughts….
…Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet introduced a bill with Rep. Kevin Van Winkle which would give every school-aged kid in Colorado access to a mental health screening, and if needed, three therapy sessions, all paid for by the state.
“It’s a risk free trial,” said Michaelson Jenet. “They get three visits to see if therapy is something they want to pursue.”
Kristi Burton Brown is half-right about half of her Tweet: This is an essential issue we SHOULD all agree on…
And not just 29% of House Republicans.