Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 15, 20184min871

A bill to fill a $32 billion to $50 billion hole in the Public Employees' Retirement Association won't have the public employers' help, if an amendment passed in Senate Bill 200's first committee hearing sticks. In a five-member committee with three Republicans, Sen. Jack Tate. R-Centennial, needed to make the change to secure enough GOP support to keep the legislation alive.


Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 14, 20186min753

The Colorado Senate considered a bill to beef up funding for transportation without raising taxes Wednesday but it bogged down in amendnents about where the money would go, as well as delivering a tacit protest of the bill's sponsor. Senate Bill 1 would ask voters in November to set aside more than $300 million a year in existing sales taxes and fees to repay more than $3.5 billion in loans to jump-start major projects, especially widening Interstate 25 north of Monument and Denver, as well as the I-70 mountain corridor.


Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 8, 20183min896
The Colorado Senate gave a narrow passage to “constitutional carry” — carrying a concealed weapon without a permit — Thursday morning, one of the last gun bills filed so far this session. The Republican legislation likely faces the same outcome other gun bills have received in the Democratic -led House: certain defeat. Senate Bill 97 […]

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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandJanuary 30, 20189min386
Senate Republicans Tuesday championed a bill on tax cuts that would spend down some of the estimated $1 billion revenue surplus expected by state economists in 2018-19. Senate President Kevin Grantham of Cañon City and his number two, Senate President Pro tem Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling, are the sponsors of Senate Bill 61, which would […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 26, 20183min678
Republicans on a Senate committee put the brakes on Sen. Lois Court’s bill to make Colorado the 16th state with hands-free driving this week. Another failed bill before a Republican majority would have made failing to wear a seatbelt a primary offense that alone could get  a driver pulled over. Senate Bill 49 on hands-free driving […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 13, 20183min10633

State Rep. Paul Rosenthal and Sen. Lois Court think plastic bags can help fund affordable housing.

The bill, if passed, would refer a measure onto the ballot to ask Colorado voters to approve a tax on plastic bags from the supermarket. The tax would be a quarter, the same amount whether the customer at the checkout counter uses one bag or several. The proceeds would go to grants and loans to local governments and building contractors to build or retain affordable housing in Colorado.

The text of House Bill 1054 can be read by clicking here.

Compared to runaway housing prices, the bag tax comparably is a small price to pay, The tax, they project, could raise $50 million a year.

“No matter where I go or who I talk to, the sky-high cost of housing is the number one concern that I hear,” Rosenthal said in a statement.

Court said, “Even with the construction of a large number of new condos, the leases are expensive and not bringing down the cost of housing in the city,” she said. “We see many areas of the state dealing with this issue—it’s not just the Denver metro area.”

As a bonus, the tax would encourage the use of reusable or paper bags and raise awareness of plastic bag waste in Colorado.

“Plastic bags pollute and litter our environment, plus they’re an eyesore and they don’t biodegrade,” Rosenthal said. “We have to be far more aggressive when it comes to curbing our daily waste, which only adds to the mountainous heaps of garbage that currently litter our state.”

Several Colorado cities already tax plastic bags, “proof that the system works in the state,” according to Rosenthal.

Boulder passed a 10-cent fee on all disposable paper and plastic bags and reduced in 2013, and the next year bag use dropped 69 percent in the city, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.

The bill carves out exemptions for restaurants and those eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.


Lois CourtLois CourtJuly 31, 20174min312
State Sen. Lois Court
Sen. Lois Court

We all try to multitask in the modern world, but when it comes to texting while driving, no message is worth a life.

Texting while driving kills people in Colorado. In January of this year, Brian and Jacquie Lehner, a couple, died while on their motorcycle when struck by a woman who was drunk and texting while driving. Family and friends of the victims of these crimes go through unimaginable grief that is entirely preventable, if individuals would just realize their actions could take a life. I believe we at the State Capitol had a responsibility to do something about this, which is why we passed a bill we hope will help save lives.

This legislative session, I was proud to sponsor Senate Bill 17-027 with Democratic State Rep. Jovan Melton of Aurora, which increases the fine for texting while driving. After productive discussions with our colleagues, the bill passed out of the General Assembly with broad bipartisan support — 34-1 in the Senate and 56-8 in the House. On June 1, at the District 3 Substation of the Denver Police Department, surrounded by supporters of all ages, we proudly watched Gov. John Hickenlooper sign this bill into law. The fine for texting while driving will now be $300 and 4 points.  That’s a significant increase from the previous $50 and 1 point.  Our hope is that the public will understand the seriousness of texting while driving and will realize that this increase is a statement that we care deeply about public safety in Colorado.

My friends from the group CORD, Coloradans Organized for Responsible Driving, have lost loved ones because other drivers were texting and driving. These CORD members worked hard to help advance this bill forward and deserve lots of credit for the momentum behind this new law.

In 2015, 17 car wrecks that resulted in deaths were caused by those drivers using cell phones. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers who text are over 20 times more likely to crash — that is an enormous increase in risk. This is a problem that unnecessarily puts Coloradans in unsafe situations that are easily preventable.

The new law will draw attention to the problem and make drivers think more consciously about choosing not to text while driving. You, too, as a citizen can make a difference by discussing this behavior with your family, friends, and colleagues. The more that people understand this life-and-death issue, the more lives will be saved.

Even if the new law won’t prevent all accidents involving cell phone use, if we save just one life with this policy, it will be tremendously successful. It is my hope that with this new law, more Coloradans will “Put Down The Phone” the next time they are tempted to text while driving. No text is worth a life.