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November 20, 2011 12:28 AM UTC

Bill Deadlines Start Dec 1...

  • by: morgancarroll

(My promotion comment is longer than the diary, but really, when Senator Morgan Carroll stops by to ask about our priorities, that belongs on the front page. – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

What do you want to see the CO legislature work on in the 2012 session?


59 thoughts on “Bill Deadlines Start Dec 1…

  1. Oh wait – I do – jobs, jobs, jobs!

    And with that said I think the absolute #1 goal needs to be education – K-12 and higher ed. Gtting it’s inflationary rate under control, improving K-12 (SB-191 will hopefully accomplish a lot here), and making higher ed affordable.

    And for one idea that’s out there but could both increase quality jobs and pay a profit back to the State of Colorado – Fund 2nd stage venture capital funds that are Colorado only.

    Thank you very much for asking – few do.

    1. My son will be going to college next year, and I am shocked at the expense.  CU resident undergrads pay about $25,000 a year for tuition, fees, books, room, and board.  That’s $100,000 if they graduate in 4 years!

      My CU law school class just had its 25th reunion, and I learned that over those 25 years, tuition has increased 1000%.  $3,000 a year when I graduated; $31,000 a year now.

      And of course, those student loans stick with the students for life.  They can’t be discharged in bankruptcy.  I assume that plays a role in the skyrocketing tuition.

      We have got to do something to strengthen the funding for our colleges and universities, so our kids can start their careers without a $100,000 boat anchor attached to their ankles.

  2. could you find a way to make the COGCC insist on full public disclosure of any and all hydraulic fracturing fluids used in drilling in this state? The industry is exempt from federal regs but they can be forced to comply by the state .

    Please have one of your staff people research the Alabama law. The so-called Halliburton loophole was hammered through congress in 2005 by Dick Cheney in response to this law. He personally visited the Capitol for three consecutive days, strong arming the congress into giving hydraulic fracturing an exemption from every federal regulation regarding injection wells.

    They claimed that, since they pump out the fracking fluid, they aren’t actually injecting the well. The Big Lie is that they only pump out about 70% of what they inject. The legislature needs to look into this “fracking rule” quickly, as it seems the COGCC and the governor intend to get this done before the legislature reconvenes. If I am in error about any of this, I welcome a response from anyone who has better information.


  3. I know it’s too late for your Dec. 1 deadline but I would like to see a ballot initiative to de-Bruce TABOR for jobs in rebuilding roads (infrastructure), repairing our older schools, retraining our unemployed.  I think it could very well be the perfect time to have the voters here in Colorado amend Tabor accordingly.

    Thank you for asking Senator Carroll.  

    1. I think there are a substantial number of voters that do want to be asked when taxes are raised. But I think they would be ok with a more high-level approach.

      One thing to consider (and I have had legislators on both sides of the aisle say this might work) is to remove all funding restrictions from the constitution (TABOR, Gallager, A-23, etc) and replace it with one that says that total revenue to the state cannot exceed X% of the state’s GDP (or similar measure) averaged over the previous 3 years. The legislature can then mix & match any way they want. And it would include yearly payments on long term capital bonds so infrastructure bonds don’t require a ballot either.

      1. But from a practical political standpoint I don’t think it would pass.  First, the voters put things in our overworked (top heavy) constitution because they don’t trust the legislature (unfortunately) to make those decisions.  Secondly, I think your just asking for some serious blow back putting TABOR and Gallager together (not so sure of A-23).  

        I could be wrong but if I am, I’m certain I’ll hear about it before long.  

        1. So the voters approve each question when it is there on its own not taking into account the conflicts between them. I think if most of the leadership from both parties got behind it, the voters would approve this.

          And it would have a clause that any change in the % going to the state  has to be approved by the voters.

              1. When a country decided to levy property taxes on houses based on how wide they were, they built ’em narrow.

                When another country decided to tax based on windows, it got dark inside.

                When another country decided property taxes would not be levied unless/until the house was “finished” every house promptly added an unfinished 3rd (4th, etc) floor.

                Tax income? Shift to cap gains.

                Tax something else, something else.

                There is no fool proof way of measuring GDP. Tie taxes to it, and it will become a very slippery target indeed.

                Philosophically reasonable. Logistically impossible.

  4. 1. Legalize Gay Marriage

    2. Repeal the anti-immigrant laws passed in 2005 that require small businesses to check immigration status over e-verify (as well as other anti-immigrant legislation)

    3. Anything else to help undocumented immigrants

    4. Legalize marijuana

    5. Ban privatization of prisons

    6. TABOR4EVER!!!!

    Love and peace all! – ALI

    1. like (a) stopping the prison privatization that aims at cost savings and (b) imposing three new teacher education requirements, which, by limiting teacher supply and increasing teacher education expense, will drive up education cost.

      Just another illustration about how if you’re a TABOR supporter, you can’t really be progressive except on pure social libertarian issues like gay marriage and abortion.

  5. We need our teachers getting credentialed in Multiple Intelligence learning/identification, Cooperative Learning and Project Based Learning

    If our teachers were trained to write their curriculums using the three elements above, then we truly would be modernizing the public school classroom

    If anyone has questions on this, I’m happy to answer based on the 1.5 years I spent as a public school tyro-teacher

  6. Amend 38-35-109 CRS to state all transactions affecting real property ( deeds, deeds of trust, assignments, etc.) must be recorded with the country recorder in the county in which the real property is located within 20 days of the date of the transaction. Current statue says may be recorded.

    Any court of jurisdiction (normally a Rule 120 proceeding) must dismiss a foreclosure proceeding in which the party in interest bringing the action cannot show required recordation of transactions as above. Create this as an affirmative defense in such a proceeding and awarding of attorney fees and costs to defendant on dismissal.  

    Provide for increased civil and criminal penalties for mortgage fraud.

    These proposals are modeled after a new law that went into effect in Nevada Oct. 1.  

    1. It’s a start to protecting CO homeowners.

      – must be non-waiveable by mortgagor

      – applies only to residential property (as defined by RESPA and Fair Housing Act)

      – require original documents and signatures as part any foreclosure or other Judicial action

  7. A big elephant in the room that needs to be addressed is the growing number our aging parents. Providers of health care services for seniors,the home health, nursing home and assisted living businesses, are going to face tremendous challenges meeting the health care needs of the aging baby boomer population. Colorado will face tremendous challenges helping to pay for these needs, and is currently ranked dead last in among all states in infrastructure to manage this challenge.

    There are currently 14,500 licensed assisted living beds, and about 22,500 nursing home beds. In the next 9 years the number of people over the age of 75 will increase 152% from 239,665 to 363,518. The demand for new beds is not being met.

    Most importantly, the elder care delivery system is fragmented and inefficient. We need something like a Senior Care Czar to build a coalition of advocacy groups, providers, elder law attorneys and administrative judges, and who will work together with HCPF and the CDPHE to build a fair and functional, efficient and accessible, high quality delivery system.

    It can be done, and now is the time.

  8. for issue committees.

    Clarifying the rules for sending ballots to inactive/failed-to-vote voters.  Better yet, requiring mailing of ballots to everyone who requested permanent mail-in status who is not inactive/returned mail.

    In other words, revisiting all of the election and campaign finance laws and removing any ambiguity that Gessler can exploit for his own partisan purposes.

    Clarifying/strengthening rules regarding outside employment by elected officials.  Definition of full time (e.g., cabinet-level officials) and part time (e.g., legislators) would be helpful.

    1. Change any mention of “Inactive (insert date)” or “Inactive – failed to vote” to “Active – failed to vote (insert date)” in section 1-2-605 and wherever else it’s mention.

      As it’s written now, if you are considered “Inactive – failed to vote” BUT you’re affiliated with a political party that is holding a primary election by mail, you will receive a ballot for that primary election (CRS 1-7.5-107(II)(A)). If you vote in the primary then you’re back to “Active” status.

      This gives electors that are affiliated with a political parties that are having a primary election an unfair advantage over other electors (mostly unaffiliated electors) to regain their “Active” status.

      Thanks for asking!

  9. 1) Limit pension deduction to those making less than $250,000 adjusted gross income.  Per preliminary CO Dept of Revenue 2008 numbers (the latest available), this would provide $9.2 million per year in revenue.

    2) Limit tuition program deduction to those making less than $250,000 AGI.  Per 2008 statistics cited above: $3.4 million per year in revenue.

    3) Eliminate the CO Capital Gains Deduction.  Hard to say the exact revenue potential, but it could be as much as $17 million per year.  The 2008 HB 1366 initially proposed eliminating the deduction completely and it had a fiscal note of $34 million per year savings.  The final bill as passed limited the deduction to $100,000 and had a fiscal note of $17 million per year savings.  So, it’s possible that eliminating the deduction entirely would generate an additional $17 million per year.

    I’d be happy to provide more information if you wish.

  10. I’m a CSU student with a niece in elementary school, and both K-12 and Higher Ed need help. Priorities in brief:

    1) Preserve as much funding as possible. It’s nice to do more with less, but we are now doing less with less.

    2) Move forward with replacing the CSAP, whether with a similar assessment program or with something more comprehensive than filling in bubbles (I like the latter option).

    3) Take some of the money being spent to make it easier to fire teachers, and use it to make it easier for new teachers to succeed. Every first year teacher should have an experienced mentor she can  speak to at any time.

    4) Preserve alternative education options. Not every student learns the same way. Jefferson County Open School is, from what I hear, in danger of closure. It would be a shame if Colorado lost the only high school I ever, ever, EVER would have graduated from without dropping out. I think I’m pretty successful for a 23-year-old, and if I hadn’t found JCOS, I would have probably been just another bright kid who dropped out and got a GED and then found out it really isn’t equivalent to a diploma when it comes time to get a job or get into college. Doubt I would be as happy as I am today without JCOS.

    5) Preserve community colleges. They don’t make the state look good or attract out of state dollars, so they get screwed every time funding is cut, but these are the ONLY way many people who are low-income and/or single parents can better their circumstances and seek a skilled career rather than just a job.

    6) Same goes for online  higher education options.

    7) We need more trade schools, and we need more classes in K-12 that prepare students for life and work. Bring back autoshop, home economics, American government, and all the other classes getting dumped  because they are  expensive  to hold and don’t prepare anyone for the CSAP. No 18-year-old high school graduate should leave school not knowing how to balance a checkbook, evaluate credit offers, register to vote, vote, change a flat tire, apply for college… but they  do graduate not knowing these  things, every year, because at least they know how to pass CSAP and that’s the most important to school funding.

  11. Rather than expand highways, we need to be supporting our buses and trains. Investing in transit encourages economic growth as does maintaining the roads that we already have. But new highway capacity does not lead to economic growth.

    So instead of building a new highway in Jefferson County (a project that has already cost the taxpayers $17 million) or expanding I-70 or I-25, we should invest in something that will create jobs.

    1. So the state, who largely uses matching funds from the Federal government to stretch its transportation dollars, is limited by shortsightedness at the Federal level.  (I see the House and Senate have both managed to pass a bill ending funding for high-speed rail, for example…)

      BTW – what’s the story with the JeffCo highway?  What road are we talking about?

  12. Thank you for asking this question. I think everyone else has asked what I’ve been thinking.

    I’ll never understand Miguel Ali’s love of TABOR, but I strongly agree with him that sound pedagogical practice is the key to saving our schools. I think experts in the field of education should be making decisions about our schools, however, not legislators. We got into the mess we are in because of NCLB and other attempts of legislators to do the work of educators, IMHO. We should respect their expertise, give them the resources they need, and support them as a profession.

    As you know, I share the concerns about fracking.

    Morgan, thank you also for endorsing Joe Miklosi. I know Joe really appreciates it. You are a rock star, Senator Carroll!  

  13. 1. Remove the provision that people who miss general elections become Inactive. It is no longer necessary, the probloem it was designed to fix no longer exists.

    2. Give Gessler step-by-step instructions on campaign finance. He clearly can;t be trusted to do it himself.

    3. Give the counties the option to conduct all elections by mail-ballot. But don’t make it mandatory they do so. There are some counties that feel their way is better and they have that option. But most counties would welcome the cost savings and the elevated turnout that comes from amil ballots.

        1. I’d start with the following premises:

          1) The State Constitution is not, by and large, a broken document.  It should remain intact as much as is possible while fixing its problems.

          2) Its main problem is the balance of the I&R system.  Before anything else, some tweaks to that system must be made or we’ll wind up looking at another convention in a few decades.  Making Constitutional amendment harder while giving issue proponents new options stronger than simple legislative initiatives will help.  Disallowing certain things (i.e. tax allocation) from becoming Constitutional provisions would also help.

          3) Unwinding the spaghetti that is the current TABOR/A-23/Gallagher mess is the symptom that requires calling the convention, but as noted above, the cause is the lack of forethought on the potential abuse of the I&R system, and lack of effective outlets for the frustrations that bring on that abuse.

          4) I’m going to get crucified on this one, but the state’s Home Rule provisions seem to be in need of some modifications if we’re going to get past certain modern issues, e.g. Internet taxes and land use.

          4) Anything else, e.g. expanding on the state’s civil rights or clarifying our state’s commitment to education, is gravy.  These changes must be simple, and should not in any way create new restrictions or limitations.

  14. Most of my highest priorities have been mentioned, but nonetheless…

    1) Sentencing reform.  We need drug rehab, not lockup.  And we need to consider coming in line with world averages for incarceration – we’re a prison nation, and it’s a drain on government spending.

    2) On the same note, end privatized prison use in the state.  Might need a bond issue for eminent domain, but should save money over the life of the bond and would remove the private prison lobby from issue (1) and from immigration reform discussions (see: Arizona SB-1070).

    3) Foreclosure reform.  Our laws are some of the worst in the country for people contending with banks on foreclosure issues.  Allyncooper’s suggestion is a good start.

    4) What Ralphie said regarding clarification of rules (issues committees, inactive ballots, and outside work by full-time elected officials).

    5) Fracking disclosure.  No loopholes; if O&G wants trade secret protection, then set up a “contains toxic chemicals/does not contain toxic chemicals” rating system that also lists potential effects of the chemicals, along with an independent auditor who can review those ratings.  (My guess is O&G would rather disclose their chemical list in all its obscurity rather than have a simple pass-fail rating…)

    6) Some items along the lines of what caroman proposed for tax credit phase-outs.

  15. Sen. Carroll,

    I don’t know how bad this situation is in the state – I know it sucks at the Federal level.

    I’d like to see a law imposing a ban on new government contracts with contractors who have bilked the government out of money in the past, along with a mandatory review and possibly mandated fiscal constraint of existing contracts with contractors found to have overcharged the state (and county/local governments).

    Why we continue to give contracts to companies that screw us as taxpayers over, I have no idea.  It seems there has to be a pathology term for such a decision.

    1. … based on today’s principles, companies would receive “prison sentences” equivalent to those meted out to individuals for the same crime.  Someone dies due to a small safety hazard at your facility that you could have fixed?  Negligent homicide.  Allow people to die from a toxic emission you know can kill people?  1st or 2nd degree murder.  Steal from the government by intentional mis-billing?  Fraud and grand larceny. One set of charges per incident.

      For the period of time in question, a Federally assigned administrator (has to be Federal – states can’t regulate commerce at this level) will approve all of your corporate expenses.  Shareholders will receive no dividends during this time, and corporate execs and board members will have their pay and benefits strictly limited.  All available profits will go to government coffers, as a regular prisoner would not be able to make any money during his incarceration – an appropriate portion should go to the government that prosecuted the crime, some portion to the victim, and the rest to the Federal government to distribute as it sees fit.  In cases of life (or death) prison sentences, the shareholders should be given the periodic option of dissolving the company, with profit from the dissolution going to the government.

    2. Improving state contracting IS one of the areas squarely in our control.  Who we bid with, how we prioritize bids, what terms and conditions we expect with performance and what, if any consequences follow from poor performance or results.  A few partial starts have happened by way of all state contracts online and ensuring cost and performance measures are covered under open records.  I believe we have some kind of performance rating system, but would need to do a bit more research to see how strong or effective it is.

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