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January 05, 2014 01:55 PM UTC

What would your 5 pieces of legislation be?

  • by: DavidThi808

(Dream big! – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ok, session is coming soon. And the reps each get to introduce 5 bills. What would yours be?

Mine would be:

  1. Installing a tube rail system from Ft. Collins to Pueblo (with Wyoming invited to extend it to Cheyenne). Yes it's cheaper to wait till others go first and learn from them. But there are some giant advantages to going first, and building it quickly:

    1. It would be a giant improvement for the economy. The sooner it's built, the sooner the improvement.
    2. Lots of jobs. Not just the direct construction, but most of the elements used need to be built for the first time and that could be mostly here in Colorado.
    3. Colorado would become the Silicon Valley of tube rail if we kept most of the design and manufacturing here in state. We would own that technology and that's a lot of quality jobs for a long time.
  2. Create and fund a statistics office. It's job is to statistically analyze all state departments, projects, funded programs, etc. Anything the state is heavily involved in. Where everything is evaluated once ever 7 years. And not just the details, but have it also look at big picture questions. Break out what specifically are the major causes of medical and educational inflation. Break out what are the major causes of death. Knowing what's going on will give legislators the ability to better address problems.
  3. A constitutional amendment that eliminates every spending requirement & restriction, and replaces them with a simple one that limits state spending to X% or the average of the last 3 years GDP (or other similar measure). And any change in that percentage requires a vote of approval on the ballot. So we retain requiring voter approval for an increase in spending. But we give the legislature the power to determine how the funds are raised and where they're spent.
  4. A revenue neutral carbon tax. Approval would eliminate the business personal property tax (which would make this a wash for power plants) and all the other little taxes & fees that are very expensive to implement. This would encourage renewables (and hopefully thorium), not only improving our environment, but making Colorado a leader in the technology behind renewables.
  5. When an individual or business asks a state agency for guidance on what they should do in a specific case to meet the requirements of the law, the agency gives them an answer, and for the next 12 months, the agency cannot then go after someone for following their guidance. It's bullshit that agencies say "you figure it out and then we'll sue you if we disagree." And as a political note, one of the major reasons business owners gravitate to Republicans is not the anti-regulatory message in general, but the fact that they are subject to the whim and caprice of the agencies.

What are your five?


106 thoughts on “What would your 5 pieces of legislation be?

      1. I'd like to see it at $15 as in the blue-collar Seattle suburb of SeaTac. It's Sunday and getting close to dinner making time so I don't really feel like pulling together 5 right now. Since I'm not in High School anymore, I don't have to accept homework assignments.wink 

            1. And why I think David's number three is just one more bad idea for a constitutional amendment. The budget related formulas for spending set into the constitution that we already have are a lousy idea and I don't see how replacing them with another constitutional formula would be an improvement. The problem is making the budget a constitutional matter instead of a legislative one in the first place.  Come to think of it, all of them collectively strike me as an agenda that would do little to affect the every day lives of most of the population one way or the other.

              1. You won't get a majority in this state to return full power to the legislature. It just won't pass. But I think you could sell the concept that the legislature needs to ask to increase the total, but otherwise what to do and where to pull each part of the revenue stream is left to the legislature.

                That would be a gigantic improvement.

                1. If you're talking about legislation that could actually pass, yours are as pie in sky as my clearly pie in the sky idea about a $15 minimum wage passing next session in Colorado.  I just don't think your pie in the sky stuff would make much difference in people's lives even if they could be passed and I think #3 is a bad idea that shouldn't be passed anyway.  Just sayin'.

            2. remember, pr, liberals raised the minimum wage in colorado a d indexed it to inflation, putting it in the constitution in the process.  Yes, that's a bad idea and I voted against it at the time;.

  1. 1. Amending the Constitution to resolve the deadline conflict, allowing recall elections to run mail ballots even if weird 3rd party candidates petition on at the last moment.

    2. Amending the Constitution to ensure that recalls are only done for criminality or ethical conflicts.

    3. I do like your tube-rail proposal.

    4. Minimum wage. $12.50/hr Service employees included. The $2.50 base wage for restaurant help is what I was paid in the 1970s.Sheesh!

    5. Give Colorado Ethics Watch jurisdiction over Public Utility Commission members, (and probably all other commissions which make decisions affecting Coloradan's health and welfare), to eliminate conflicts of interest.

    1. MamaJ I think you misremember wages back when. I waited tables at several places back in the '80s and our wages were 2.01 plus tips. It didn't go up until President Clinton took office. I remember the whole miserable 12 years. What's different now from then is that back when I was a teen-ager making that kind of money, minimum wage jobs were kid stuff. Now people are stringing togther 2 or 3 of them and raising their kids on them. They were never meant to support a family.

      1. Very good points on this. However, it depends on the restaurant. One of my daughters was a waitress at California Pizza Kitchen and her effective hourly rate after tips was really good – way above what anyone is talking about for minimum wage.

        But I would guess at McDonalds (no tips) or Dennys (smaller tips), they pay goes way down from that. I definitely thing it should require the full minimum wage after taking actual tips into account.

        Even better, just have required tips like they do in France (where we received very good service even though the tip was gauranteed).

        1. They do require it in terms of declared income.  How it works is staff  is expected to declare enough to make up the difference. This is great if you work in a fine restaurant and make much more than minimum wage in tips alone. You get away with not declaring a big chunk of your income if you're making $150 to $200+ a shift in tips. Nobody declares all that. It may not be strictly legal but that's the time honored way it always has and still does work.

          If, however, you work as a driver for Pizza Hut, your pay check is adjusted based on making a certain amount in tips that would bring you up to minimum wage, an amount you very often aren't making but have to pay taxes on. The extra charge you may see that you assume is a tip for the driver, by the way, isn't. It mostly goes to the company. 

          In any case, a prosperous work force makes for a prosperous economy, even if prices go up a bit. McDonald's, for instance, claims paying $15 an hour would mean raising a $3 burger to $3.50. That $3.50 burger would be much more affordable and more profitable with masses making $15 instead of  $7-$10. 

          And it's not as if lost industrial assembly line jobs were inherently high paying. They were average jobs for average people that once paid very low wages and were made high paying by labor organization.  The same thing could be done for service sector jobs today by raising the minimum wage and the result, a prosperous broad middle class fueling a booming consumer economy, would be the same as it was when organized labor created the broadest most prosperous middle class the world had ever known.

          Also when we boomers wax nostalgic about how these jobs used to be for kids earning extra money, let's not forget that minimum wage, back when we were kids, was significantly higher in terms of buying power than minimum wage is today. So besides needing to make the jobs for average people today pay what yesterday's jobs for average people payed, minimum wage is far less in relation to the cost of everything, especially education, than it was. Kids working those jobs to earn money towards their education have nowhere near the opportunity we did to make serious headway. No wonder we've slipped so much in upward mobility while much of Europe outpaces us in what used to be our biggest social advantage; opportunity. 

          There is simply no good economic or social argument for refusing to mandate a living minimum wage. None.

          1. Minimum wage in 1974 was $1.65. I know, because that's what my mother got when she went to work after a her 20 year marriage to my rat-er-father ended. In constant dollars minimum wage might have bought more, but wasn't it 1974 when everyone was wearing W.I.N. buttons? 

            1. No ifs. It would have been very tough for a single mom family without alimony and child support to make it but it did buy more and, for kids earning money for school, went much farther in paying for college since inflation there has been so dramatic. Plenty of middling middle class kids with non-college educated but well paid parents were able to get college educations at good state Us with no debt or small debt and no scholarships or grants in those days with the help of savings from minimum wage jobs in high school and part time work while attending college. 

  2. 1.  Only two pieces of legislation per legislator per year/session. 

    2.  Something else, maybe . . .



    As to David's #5 — Nope, you're flogging the wrong donkey. It's not the purview or responsibility of any state agency to be the final arbiter of what the laws passed by our legislators say.  That's for the legislators, the executive branch, and ultimately the courts to decide, if necessary.

    You ought to instead pass a law that requires our legislators pass clear, intelligible, and coherent laws . . . under penalty of death (or exile to Texas).

    1. Agree with Dio on David's #5.  Advice on how to comply with the law is legal advice and should come from the business's lawyer, not from state agency employees.  Open your wallet and pay an attorney for advice on how to comply with the law; there are plenty of them out there to help you.

      1. The downside of paying a lawyer is you can do what you think is required and still find an agency disagrees with you and you're then in court. I think simple fairness requires the state to tell us what they will find to be acceptable.

        Agencies can do this as they decide what to prosecute and what to accept.

        1. Not the agencies' responsibility to make the laws intelligible. That's the legislature's responsibility. The legislature is the people's responsibility. 

          Perhaps legislators should be required to write their own legislati instead of having lobbyists write it, read all other legislators' legislation before voting on it and attest to understanding everything in it before a vote is held. This would only work with bills consisting of a  reasonable number of pages, ranging from a few for simpler matters and perhaps a hundred for the more complex. Anything requiring more would be broken up into bite sized pieces. One could then have reasonable confidence that the agencies charged with implementing legislation could be clear on what they were actually supposed to be doing and would be able to easily convey requirements to the public in clear understandable language. 

          1. Prexactly!!!!

            The agencies have to same problem with crappy, contradictory legislation . . . 

            . . . "I wonder WTF this is supposed to mean, and how the hell we're supposed to make that work??!!??  Someone get Senator Baumgartner on the phone" . . .

            . . . better they concentrate on other things, like making that tube-rail system fly, or re-establishing our State's unicorn habitat !!!

  3. My suggestions from those excellent already posted:

    From David:


    As for #5: doesn’t the AG issue guidelines on how the law should be implemented?

    From mj55

    #1, #2. #5

    I would add:

    All petitions should be turned in to the Secretary of State's Office so that signatures can be verified and counted, even if the petititoners withdraw or if  the targeted elected officials resigns.

    Linking Cheyenne to Pueblo via toll highway or now, a tube train, has been something I have been hearing about for more than fifty years.  My question would be why?  It would seem to me it is much more critical to resolve the issue of traffic on I 70  between Denver and Grand Junction.  Not only does it carry tourists, but it is the main east west highway for all transcontinental traffic.

    1. The reasons I'd do the tube train along the front range first are:

      1. Learn how to build a working system on level ground before building one across the Rockies.
      2. There's a lot more people along the front range and therefore it would have a much large economic multiplier once it is in place.
  4. #1 – Repeal the death penalty. Especially with Hick's wishy-washy attitude on the subject. A full repeal would be good for the state and take away a talking point from the right ("Elect us if you want Nathan Dunlap to die").

    #2 – Repeal the tuition flexibility portion of SB10-003. Since 2010, college's have been allowed to raise tuition up to 9% per year without legislative approval, and can raise tuition above that in any amount with the approval of the CCHE (an appointed board with no accountability to voters). 

    #3 – Fracking Liability and Disclosure – Require oil and gas companies to disclose the contents of anything injected into the ground and allow the state to recover the cost of environmental damage that can be attributed to drilling activity.

    #4 – Minimum wage – It would have to be referred to the voters. So while I would love to see it set at $15, I would propose something just under $10, like $9.95, to make it more likely to pass. This would also make Colorado the second highest state minimum wage in the US. I would not change the inflation index, however, so it would continue to rise each year. 

    #5 – Repeal the co-habitation clause of Colorado's bigamy law. A section of Colorado law which bans multiple active marriages (bigamy, polygamy, whatever you want to call it) also make it a class 6 felony for a married person to co-habitate (live with) any other person of the opposite gender, except their spouse. So if a married couple has a roommate that isn't a relative, all of them are guilty of a felony. Meanwhile, an unmarried person can live with an unlimited number of opposite-sex people with no issue. So if you need a roommate to defray housing costs, you'd better not get married. Rep. Kagan did a great job of cleaning up the adultery statute last year. This is the next step. 

        1. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals will be hearing an appeal of the Utah case in all likelihood )Utah, strictly speaking, isn't required to appeal the ruling, but it almost surely will) and if it affirms the Utah ruling, then that precedent will be binding in Colorado (except to the extent that it depends upon Utah specific faces like a policy of religious based enforcement).  Moreover, the 10th Circuit is more likely than one might expect to affirm the Utah ruling on appeal because so few appellate issues were preserved by the State of Utah in a very half-assed response to the lawsuit in the trial court.

          Even if Utah doesn't appeal the ruling, it would be persuasive authority in a parallel Colorado case.


        Bigamy 18.6.201 
        (1) Any married person who, while still married, marries or cohabits in this state with another commits bigamy, unless as an affirmative defense it appears that at the time of the cohabitation or subsequent marriage:

        (a) The accused reasonably believed the prior spouse to be dead; or

        (b) The prior spouse had been continually absent for a period of five years during which time the accused did not know the prior spouse to be alive; or

        (c) The accused reasonably believed that he was legally eligible to remarry.

        (2) Bigamy is a class 6 felony.

        Source: L. 71: R&RE, p. 447, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 40-6-201. L. 89: (2) amended, p. 839, § 76, effective July 1.

        Cross references: For the "Uniform Marriage Act", see article 2 of title 14; for the "Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act", see article 10 of title 14.

    1. The more compressed the session the harder it is for non-professionals to participate meaningfully in the legislative process, and the lower the quality of the legislative deliberations involved.  Also, anyone who thinks that state legislators have substantial political obligations only during the legislative session is sadly mistaken as I can attest to having practiced law with one for years.

        1. The main benefit of a Lietenant Governor is that the existence of this position discourages efforts to remove a sitting Governor via personal attacks since doing so doesn't change the partisan balance of the executive branch.  An SOS ex officio Lieutenant Governor would encourage suck attacks when the SOS and Governor are of different political parties.

          Also, consider all of the SOS incumbents we've had in the last sixteen or twenty years, starting with the Gessler, the current incumbent.  Is that really who we want running the state in a crisis?  We've had one or two good ones, but far more bad ones.

          If we want to save money, require the Governor to appoint the Lieutenant Governor as a department head in his cabinet of his choice, for no additional compensation.

  5. Reduce or eliminate state subsidies to Higher Ed, or put the question to a state wide referendum.  However, state support should continue for capital expenses such as infrastructure major repairs, replacement and expansion.

      1. I would settle for $1000-3000 per student … the state would still support capital expendatures.  Federal grants and loans are available, and student loans are now dischargable in case of bankruptcy.

        1. Not couting capital expansion, the state currently provides funding to the schools equivilent to $2000 per student at Metro State up to almost $8000 per student at CU. So if you remove that funding, it is likely tuition will go up by that much to compensate, so if you are advocating for cutting all funding, you are advocating for raising tuition by $2000-$8000. 

          Availability of loans is not an excuse, as puting students into greater debt is bad for everyone. And grants and such are only available to those that qualify. 

          1. Agree.  This is a major reason why we are no longer the premiere land of upward mobility. Not even close. Whether young people are prevented from even trying to pursue higher education because of  combinations of stagnating family incomes and wildly inflating education costs or manage it only by acquiring crushing debt, the result is that it's increasingly difficult for most people to make much headway in bettering their lives and prospects through higher education. On top of that, the jobs available to the majority who can't afford higher education continue to offer decreased earning power 

            Less support for higher ed coupled with race to the bottom wages, public sector job cuts, decreased social safety net and government spending on infrastructure will only increase the speed with which we are becoming a society in which the circumstances into which a person is born dictates their future more than any other factor with fewer and fewer exceptions. Upward mobility in US society will not only continue to decrease but will do so at an accelerating pace.


        2. Speaking as the mother of a CU undergraduate, fuck the fuck out of you.  Federal grants are available for low-income students, but not for middle-class families.  Loans are available that cover about half of tuition and no living expenses.  Work-study jobs are available for low-income students, but not for middle-class kids.  Jobs are hard to come by in college towns.  My kid is a good student; he was acing graduate level math classes his third semester.  He gets $0 in scholarships, $0 in grants.  His only financial aid is student loans at over 6% interest that accrues from the day the loan is deposited into his account.  So, fuck you again.

    1. How about tie state subsidies to higher ed by making it inversely proportional to tuition increases ?  If you increase your tuition by 5 % you get 95 % of last years' funding.  If you increase your tuition by 9 % you get 91 % of last years' funding, and so on.  Something has to be done to put a cap on out of control tuition expenses.

      1. Until 2010, public colleges had to have tuition approved by the legislature. 

        But during the budget crunch, legislators didn't want to be held responsible for tuition increases, so they passed SB10-003, which gave the colleges the ability to increase tuition without anyone else's approval. 

        This will sunset next year, so be sure to watch the legislature to see if they renew it or return control of tuition to the legislature. 

        Sen. Steadman commented last week that he is interested in repealing it early during this session, instead of waiting til it sunsets. 

        1. That seems like a good start IndyNinja.  There is always the argument that you need to have all of these $ 400 K salaries for University administrators in order to " hire top talent" and " compete ", but if your admissions process involves letting everybody in with a pulse and a checkbook, WTF do you need top talent for ?  It runs itself !


          I'm looking at you, CU…

      2. How about elimiting state tuition subsidies to so-called "professional" students who aimlessly take numerous courses over a decade or more … perhaps limit subsidies to 240 semester credits at the undergraduate level, which is double the typical 120 credits for those who plan carefully.

        1. That's already the policy. The Colorado Opportunity Fund, which is the primary funding vehicle for public higher ed and reduction of tuition, is limited to 145 credit hours. 

  6. @David: putting spending limits in the Consitution is what got the state in the current straight-jacket. No matter how you calculate it, it makes it difficult if not impossible for state government to recover from a recession. This, of course, is what the Norquist drown-government-in-a-bathtub envisions.


    1. I think you're both right. David is right that to eliminate all of the stupid constitutional matters regarding the state budget requires a new limiting requirement of some kind. Gertie's right too that a rachet effect must be avoided. The Bell has written a bunch on this issue and I would refer to their suggestions on the matter, if any, but basically my memory is that what would be needed for a limit to include increases in population, GDP, and basic costs of govt that can exceed inflation. How you can possibly do that I don't know but it should be possible to write something that wonks will say that it doesn't work as a limit at all – which is a good thing. heh.

      1. OMG I'm so thankful my kid was too old for those shows when they came on! I do think Barney, being purple and all, is responsible for inspiring our totally lame Dinger, though. Just put Rocky in purple during baseball season. He's the coolest mascot on the planet and already has the right name.

  7. 1. Referendum on recall election reform: fix the recal election deadline issue, increase the signature requirement for recalls, and make the election period 30 days longer except in cases of criminal conviction or complete dereliction of duty.

    2. Referendum (apparently necessary) to raise the minimum wage. Statewide minimum to $10 (or, as someone suggests, $9.95 for bargain-hunting voters), tied to inflation; local governments can pass laws increasing their minimum wage beyond the statewide minimum.

    3. School finance reform – one of two approaches… Either go "whole hog" and pass a referendum to fully state fund schools to a base acceptable level, automatically reducing local school taxes by an equivalent amount… OR, adjust the current legislation to address legitimate concerns heard during the A66 debate and try again.

    4. Statewide health insurance co-op / public option plan. We have several regional exchanges that have come in way above hoped-for costs. Colorado already has an assessment that a single-payer plan would save the state's residents money…

    5. Prison system reforms. We need to reign in private prison costs, and the governor isn't making the decisions that would allow us to do that. Force the issue legislatively, and while we're at it lets look at some more sentencing reforms to further address prison costs.

      1. Absolutely to your #6 (even though it breaks the rules)

        And the next year, a ballot initiative to repeal TABOR, which can't be done right now (at least not all at once) because it violates single subject. And trying to remove it one piece at a time would be chaos. 

        1. I think the only way to fix the convoluted mess we have in the constitution is a constitutional convention. Even if you didn't have the single subject rule, the complexity of undoing everything would be so convoluted that it would be very difficult to sell to the voters.

          1. The Constitutional Convention route still requires selling something (even bigger) to the voters, so I don't see the point in doing it in a completely open-ended manner vs. trying to undo the TABOR tangle in a stepwise fashion.

            Altering single-subject would allow us to unwind the rest of the Constitutional fiscal idiocy in a single orderly amendment.

              1. The last time voters were explicitly polled on TABOR was 2009, as far as I can tell. 55% of those polled were against the TABOR restrictions.

                TABOR apparently also cripples emergency response to disasters, such as wildfires and floods. You don't have to be a Democrat to question that.

                TABOR is in Federal court now, on a long-running case, Kerr v. Hickenlooper, and opposed by the Independence Institute and other conservative entitties.

                1. Polls are polls. Those 55% are surely contacting Governors Ritter and McInnis, and Senator Norton all the time.  Oh wait, though that poll showed these candidates as leading, none actually won anything that time around.

                  "Cripples" seems a bit overstated. I seem to recall all manner of response to the floods.

                  The lawsuit is interesting on several scores, mostly academic and philosophical.  I make no claim to fully understand all of the legal arguments, but a majority of those on the documents on the site you linked to should and they support the dismissal of that case.  Now, that may very we'll be a numeric happenstance that probably does not reflect the voters at large. 

              2. I know few people who think that legislating every single fiscal requirement via referendum or initiative is a good idea.

                That's what TABOR got us, though. The only way around the last budget initiative is another budget initiative. And because they don't address the same topic and can't address two subjects, they conflict with each other. It's dumb, and it will only get worse given the current setup.

                1. And whenever the subject comes up, I hear many people saying, sure the conflicting tangle should be fixed, but that part about voters having to approve any tax increase, and surplus having to be rebated, we should keep those.

                    1. Ummm . . . that some folks hear more voices than others????  

                      (Not sure if, or why, that needed proving — oh well . . . )

  8. 1. Create a two tier income tax.

    The high tier is whatever it is now. The low tier goes to 0% for household income under $65,000.

    Then the high tier goes down 0.5% every year until gets to zero.

    2.  School Choice

    Allow any district that chooses to create a School Choice program , like Douglas County wanted.

    3.  Create a refundable tax deduction for any Obamacare fine penalty, fee or other expense imposed.

    4. Repeal Gun Background Checks for transfers between family members.

    5. Replace the caucus with a pure primary.

        1. If they are not gifts but sales why should they be treated any differently from other sales. There aren't different rules for selling your car to a family member than to anyone else. A sale is a sale. A gift is a gift. Bottom line, the idea that this leg makes you a criminal if you hand a gun to to family member is another lie.

          And about that Douglas County choice stuff. It provides choice for a very small pool while everybody outside of that pool gets to pay for it. More little people subsidizing the affluent with nifty breaks. It's certainly not about helping kids escape a failed school system as in some inner cities. DougCo public schools are rated very highly.

          Why should anyone pay so someone else's kid can go to an expensive private parochial school when their taxes are already paying for good public schools available to anyone who wishes to avail themselves of them?  If you want a religious education for your kid pay for it yourself. That's what Catholics in my day in my neighborhood did. If they couldn't afford it the Church helped. They didn't ask their neighbors to.

  9. On your number 2. Already done! Yay! Any school district that wants charter schools or school choice can do it! They just have to meet certain requirements from the state, like Accreditation!  So the students get an education that meets minimal standards!

    Don't you feel better?

    On your number 4. Also already done! Wow! There's nothing in Bill 13-1229 requiring background checks when transferring between family members! (In spite of what Bill Cadman says).

    So two out of five on your wishlist are already granted. Life is good.

    1. 2. Then why the resistance to DougCo?

      Could it be that DougCo wanted weaken the union and that was the real objection?

      4. Sales too. If it's ok for loans and gifts, it should be ok for sales.

      1. 4.There isn't any prohibition on money changing hands within the family. Read the bill. So I can say, Uncle Bob, I'm giving you my shotgun. And Uncle Bob can say, I'd like to give you $100. And you're done. That's assuming Uncle Bob isn't a criminal prohibited from owning a gun, and doesn't have a domestic violence restraining order out on him. Or are you against that law, too?

        2. The link I sent you was for the Colorado Department of Education. They, not the teacher's union, are the entity which processes applications for charter schools, in case you didn't know.

        Not sure what your point is, given that. There is a process for charter schools,  through the CDE, most of them are non-union, which means poor pay and working conditions. The quality of education varies tremendously. There are some good charter schools, also some really crappy ones. But either way, the CDE is the gatekeeper.

          1. Do you know what private school costs in relation to what the vouchers provide? The vouchers don't pay the full cost at the participating schools. At most of the schools they don't come anywhere close. What they amount to is a nifty discount coupon for the affluent with average tax payers subsidizing private and almost exclusively religious options they couldn't afford for their own kids even with a voucher. This in a highly regarded public school system, not one that is considered a failure so it isn't a matter of helping students in a failed school system. It's all about treats for the affluent who want to send their kids to private Christian schools and would like a discount.

            1. Be fair. Valor and Regis both NEED all the taxpayer money they can get their hands on — those athletic tuition scholarships and the premier facilities needed to build state championship sports teams don't grow on trees!

  10. I think the whole issue of the cost of public higher education in Colorado needs to be revisited,  reviewed and adjusted.  I would urge the funding of a committee to investigate what is causing the problem and what are alternate solutions.

    For example, if a student is granted a High School diploma and then requires remediation in college, the school district that awarded the diploma should be responsible for the tutition of the remediation classes.  

    Time was when scholarships were more readily availiable.  Back in the day, Colorado awarded full tutition and fee scholarships to all graduates of Colorado public high schools who were in the top ten percent of their class. The federal government also had National Defense Scholarships for students who studied math, science, foreign languages and/or were going to be teachers.  The GI bill was one of the factors that expanded the middle class in the 40s, 50s, and into the 60s,  When the draft was operative, millions of men served in the military and were granted tutition, living expenses, etc. for college. Some states award full tutition/fees to state colleges/universities to students who score 29 on the ACT….allowing multiple attempts to take the test.

    I think that colleges like CU and CSU should also be limited in the amount of money they can spend on college football….even tho I yelled for hours after CSU won their bowl game….




    1.   "Back in the day, Colorado awarded full tutition and fee scholarships to all graduates of Colorado public high schools who were in the top ten percent of their class.  "

      When was that?  It is a good idea, assuming citizenship, no felonies, and they stay in Colorado.

        1. If Colorado gave them their college education, they have to pay it back if they leave.  I'm all for pay it forward (which is the best reason for a balanced budget and/or pay go) but fair is fair.

      1. @JBJK16.

        My highschool had those scholarships i 1959.  I googled – joint honor scholarship- and the only relevant response was a Golden High Yearbook for 1963 and those scholarships winners were also listed.

        I don't know what happened to them, nor what was the last year.  In those days, tutition and fees at CU was $116.00 a semester.  And, I got a good education. We also had a winning football team until a "slush fund" was revealed and there were actual penalties.  

        There were many things in those days that are gone and that is good.  But the education itself was good.  I think if a highschool graduate of a Colorado public school had a B grade average, it meant automatic acceptance at CU, but my

        memory may be vague on that account.  

  11. 1. Repeal the Credit Agreement Statute of Frauds which prevents admission of evidence regarding oral debt collection/loan modication discussions between banks and customers, even if the bank has detailed notes regarding them made by its own employees and recordings of the conversations.  This guts a variety of substantive legal protections for borrowers.

    2. Create a tax credit equal to two months of storage charges and moving charges for landlords who place evicted tenant's possessions in storage and require landlords to do so.  The damage to evicted tenants by having their property tossed on the street is ruinous to the tenant and encourages theft of property that evicted tenants haven't actually abandoned.

    3. Create a right to work for up to six hours a day at minimum wage every work day, without regard to means testing.  Applicants would present themselves to a municipal or county office in the morning and a government official could either assign the applicants to whatever work was available or arrange for private enterprises to bid to do so.  Applicants who engaged in improper conduct while working wouldn't get paid.  This is bureaucratically simpler than unemployment checks, self-regulating, less wasteful of human capital, and would prevent much of the deterioration in employability that comes with long term unemployment – it would also provide basic economic support to people that unemployment checks don't cover like people who quit or who are fired for cause.

    4. Replace the Colorado Opportunity Fund with a scholarship providing 100% of financial need on a merit basis to as many students as possible on a revenue neutral basis.  Thus, students with no financial need would receive no aid, and students below the academic threshold would receive no aid.  Partial subsidies are insufficient for academically talented low and moderate income kids to be able to afford to go to college so the vast majority don't go; but subsidizing college educations for the affluent (whom most college students are) is subsidizing the rich, and subsidizing the least academically talented students who have an immense likelihood of flunking out is an inferior use of public funds.

    5. End enhanced sentences for child abuse causing death or serious bodily injury so that these deaths carry the same criminal sentences as offenses with comparable levels of intent committed against strangers, conclusively presume that a woman in the throes of childbirth cannot have a level of intent greater than criminal negligence.  Negligent parenting should not carry the same prison sentence as intentional murder, no matter how severe the consequences.  This law substantially increases total incarceration rates in Colorado at great public expense without making the public safer.  Indeed, even with sentencing parity, parents who lose their own children through their own negligence are usually going to suffer more emotionally than people who kill strangers are a result of their own negligence – long sentences just guild the lilly.

    1. Your third option sounds interesting, but I don't know about workable. Having that many people show up every morning at an office that might in some counties be horribly inconvenient to them, for work that they might not be suited for…

      1. All of India, a low tech nation with a history of corruption and a billion people has an extremely similar program that is one of the most effective in the entire social safety net of that country.  My idea is not original.

        1. India also isn't the US in terms of fiscal "responsibility" and moral outrage over the poor.

          The JeffCo Workforce center has lines out the door weekly as is; neither their facility nor their staff could handle what you're suggesting.

    2. In relation to your first item…

      Have we fixed our state's "trust the bank" provision on mortgage claims? If not, we need to ensure that banks produce the necessary (filed) proof that they have a valid claim on a property. That was a big issue during the mortgage crisis, and one where Colorado was shamefully deficient in its legal requirements.

      1. We have not.  Legislation was considered in the 2013 session duplicative of the federal settlement, and CFPB rules, but was scuttled for a variety of reasons in that session.  I expect to see new bills on the subject starting tomorrow.

  12. If you're dreaming big, then let's talk about skipping the revenue neutrality part of your carbon fee and actually changing the utility system. Start with changing the Electric Commodity Adjustment to make shareholders internalize some of the risk of continuing to invest in expensive fossil fuel generation. Second, make it possible for new generation to compete with existing generation and require merit order dispatching. Finally, that carbon fee. Except instead of making it revenue neutral, invest that money in mitigation and deployment of renewable generation, energy efficiency, and updates to infrastructure as necessary. If Colorado is going to lead, let's do it right. 


  13. These are all really good ideas and worthwhile to discuss. Many ideas have involved referenda. I would like to see a referendum from the Lege that would drive / encourage voters to get to the polls this November. Purely political in some ways but I would prefer something that is needed. And not just a protest. I think the time for a referendum on taxes will have to wait until 2016. We just covered pot and education didn't make it so I'm out of ideas but I hope the Dem leadership in the state has been thinking about this because we know it makes a big difference in turnout.

    1. Pot sales off to such a spectacular start despite fears about high taxes, even Rs should be happy. But I forgot. They don't want increased revenue. They don't even want the increased revenue you get without any tax increase by putting more money into consumers pockets and thereby creating more jobs. They don't want the increased revenue you'd get without any tax rate increase by paying a living wage.  

      At least in the Reagan era Rs used to pretend that lower tax rates would so stimulate the economy as to bring in more revenue. Now Rs actively advocate shrinking revenue no matter what pain that causes and privatizing everything no matter how much more that costs just because.

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