As Colorado Senate Republicans on Monday touted a new web page asking the public for feedback on government regulation, left-leaning groups hijacked the portal with retaliatory comments.
Incoming Senate President Kevin Grantham of Cañon City and Republican Majority Leader Chris Holbert of Parker told reporters Monday that the new forum would be used to identify laws that should be repealed or delayed.
“We hear that word a lot when we’re talking with groups of constituents, we need ‘repeal.’ OK, tell us what those issues are. And that list has grown,” Holbert said.
“We’re going to start looking at those (comments)… We’re trying to gather those ideas from people in Colorado. It’s fascinating, because it’s all across the board.”
But ProgressNow Colorado had another idea for the Senate Republicans’ effort. At 8:15 a.m. Monday morning, the group asked its left-leaning network to, “Tell Colorado Republicans what you want – yes, really.”
Two hours later, ProgressNow was able to take credit for at least 55 of the 96 comments left on the web page since Senate Republicans publicly announced the launch on Friday. Comments continued to grow into the late morning.
“Don’t help Donald Trump take away health coverage from thousands of Coloradans. Don’t help Donald Trump demonize immigrants and people of color. Don’t try to take away abortion rights (again). Don’t hold public schools hostage to further a political agenda. Don’t make it easier to send unvaccinated kids to Colorado schools. Do something about TABOR’s fiscal chokehold on the state. Do something about neighborhoods and schools threatened by oil and gas drilling,” one comment read.
“Make the Affordable Health Care act (sic) work BETTER by Republican’s (sic) actually participating in legislating like you should have the last 8 (sic) years. You totally abdicated your responsibility in responsible government,” read another comment.
ProgressNow suggested talking points for its network, including protecting the Affordable Care Act, immigrants, people of color, abortion rights and schools. The group also encouraged its supporters to tell Senate Republicans to require vaccinations, ease conflicts associated with the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, and curb oil and gas development in neighborhoods.
“Senate Republicans said they want to hear from Coloradans about their priorities for the upcoming legislative session. As of now, more than half the responses say the Senate needs to protect the gains we’ve made in health coverage, resist Donald Trump’s demonizing of immigrants, Muslims and people of color, and stop trying to take away abortion rights,” said Ian Silverii, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado. “We hope they are really listening.”
Senate Republicans, however, are hoping to hear from the public on “onerous” laws and mandates, suggesting that government is a “red tape dispenser,” which averages nearly 530 new rules per year, totaling almost 157,000 pages.
In some of the first comments posted to the page, a handful of Coloradans appeared to agree with the thrust of the message from Senate Republicans.
“Repeal all the BS firearms laws passed a couple yrs (sic) back,” wrote one commenter, referring to 2013 laws passed by Democrats that required universal background checks and a cap of 15 rounds for high-capacity ammunition magazines.
“There are also plenty of other stupid ones you could get rid of,” the commenter continued. “But my key areas of interest lie with firearms, illegal aliens (getting benefits that should be reserved for legal American residents of Colorado) and just smart immigration reform in general.”