Voters? Screw The Voters, Says Sen. Kevin Lundberg

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

A story from the Denver Post’s John Frank today that will make your blood boil–at least 65% of you, anyway:

Months after Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved a medical Aid-in-Dying ballot initiative, three conservative lawmakers blocked money to implement the new law on moral grounds.

The objection is one of a handful of examples in which Republican lawmakers used their clout to reject spending in the $26.8 billion budget bill that violated their social conservative beliefs.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration requested permission to spend $44,041 from existing fee collections to meet a requirement in the new law to compile data about the use of life-ending, doctor-prescribed medication…

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 106 last year, after all–by the highest margin of any initiative that passed in 2016 in fact–a far greater margin than many other ballot initiatives that have passed in Colorado and are now considered uncontroversial settled law. As part of implementing the new law, appropriating a modest amount to cover data about how the law is being used seems like a no-brainer.

Unless you’re a Republican on the Joint Budget Committee of the Colorado General Assembly, that is:

“I find that (law) so morally offensive I cannot in any good conscience be voting for using taxpayer dollars for any part of this process,” said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, a Republican budget writer. “There might be a requirement in the law, but there’s no requirement in the Constitution” to vote for this money. [Pols emphasis]

And carrying out their responsibilities to implement voter-approved Proposition 106 isn’t the only area in which JBC Republicans are playing political games with the budget:

Other budget requests this year negated by Republican budget writers for largely ideological reasons included $5.1 million in federal dollars for the state’s health care exchange; $745,000 for a biennial student health survey that asks about sex and drugs; $18 million for housing programs for the homeless; and an expansion of a program to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants living in the country illegally.

It’s not unheard of for lawmakers on the powerful JBC to use their position to take potshots on pet political issues, but the number and significance of these moves this year is raising eyebrows. It’s possible that Republicans are taking more aggressive action locally to keep pace with acrimonious national politics, but that’s not supposed to be the way we do business in Colorado. In Colorado, we’re supposed to take pride in a bipartisan budget process that’s kept free–or at least freer–of partisan political games.

But this year, not even the overwhelming will of the voters is above the fray.

17 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    What I find "morally offensive" is my fellow Republican, Senator Lundberg, trying to impose his personal religious views on the entire state population. The good senator really does need to read Article II, Section 4, of the Colorado Constitution in regard to religious freedom.

  2. unnamed says:

    So tempted to just say that Kevin (Bill) Lundberg wants people to die painfully.

    • Arvadonian1 says:

      Say it.  His actions on the implementation of this bill seems to show a preference that those who are dying to die in a slow and painful manner as opposed to a quick an painless manner.

      And when it is my time to go, I will, of course, make sure to check with my doctor, my pastor, my family, and Kevin Lundberg before I check out….because, you know, smaller government.

  3. mamajama55 says:

    Here's what Kevin Lundberg has on his campaign website:

    I believe that governments are instituted among men to protect their inalienable, God-given rights, and that our government was designed for the power to come from the bottom up, not the top down.

    So when the voters of Colorado actually approve an initiative "from the bottom up" by 65%, old Kevin should really be on board. But no. It isn't too surprising that Lundberg has no respect for  voters – he was appointed by a Senate vacancy committee to his present position in 2009, had no primary opponent in 2010, ran unopposed in the primaries and general in 2014. He also tried unsuccessfully for Jared Polis CD2 seat in 2012.
    2018 is the first real Senate election he will face since 2010. (Lundberg was a state Rep from 2002-2009)
    For Gawdsake, Democrats, get on the stick and nominate a decent candidate to oppose this douchebag.

    This is the same genius who claimed that IUDs stop "a small child from implanting" in the uterus. FYI, Kevin, IUDs prevent pregnancy, and are not abortifacients. Is that too sciency and icky for you?

  4. notaskinnycook says:

    So doesn't that mean he times out '20? Man, I'll be glad to see the back of that jackass.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      If MJ's stats are correct, and if he gets re-elected in 2018, he'll "time out" in 2022 since he's a senator, not a representative.

      • Pseudonymous says:

        Lundberg will be out after the 2018 session (technically, early January 2019).

      • mamajama55 says:

        Lundberg has one of those complicated election histories. He was a state rep from 02 to 09. Then he was appointed Senator when Steve Johnson resigned. He was actually re-elected as Senator in 2010, beating Democrat Richard Ball 67% – 33%. (I got that wrong in my comment above, but corrected it).

        In 2012, he tried to unseat incumbent Jared Polis for CD12, failing miserably.

        In 2014, he had no primary nor general opponent for his Senate seat.

        2018 would be Lundberg's first contested Senate election since 2010. And, yes, he would term limit out in 2022, unless the Dems or Independents run a good candidate to defeat him in 2018. I would think that his budget  shenanigans suppressing the wishes of Colorado voters on 106 should be hung around his neck like an anvil. There's plenty of moderates and liberals in SD15.

        Per the Coloradoan, 2014 voter reg by county:

        Larimer County stats: Dems: 52420 Reps: 66544 UAF: 77172

        Senate district 15 may skew redder, since Fort Collins was carved out of it, but it should basically reflect the same pattern.

  5. Gilpin Guy says:

    I'm bummed they nixed funds for the health insurance exchange.  In light of the fact that Republicans couldn't come up with anything better, what assholes.

  6. Meiner49er says:

    Those of us who've had the "joy" of being repped-off by Kevin Lundberg the last 14 years know full well he's FINALLY term limited in 2018, and that he will likely step down sooner to allow the Larimer Republicans to backfill his seat with their preferred Alt-Right Alternative. That's how things work up here.

    It's not too early for an intrepid Dem challenger to get their toes wet before the opposition reloads the clown car. He or she won't have incumbency, but could get out in front and establish a sane option without much opposition from ol' lame duck Lundberg.

  7. okbookwoman says:

    Most people who have a job to do are either 1) Fired or 2) docked pay if they refuse to do the job. I'm pulling for a reduced salary! He’ll be termed out –just not soon enough for the “screwed” voters!

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