Patrick Neville Archives - Colorado Politics
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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 22, 201810min1480

In the wake of a Columbine-style school shooting in Florida last week, Colorado lawmakers again weighed a trio of bills aimed at loosening up the state's gun laws. All three failed on a partisan vote, as they do each year, including one that would have allowed school staff to carry firearms with an existing concealed carry permit.


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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandFebruary 16, 20187min279
It’s not just about preventing another Columbine-style school shooting. Handheld radios in schools help employees manage difficult parents or help students get to school when the bus breaks down. But it’s the cost of setting up radio communications to first responders that is stopping many school districts from making that happen, and this week, Republican […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 8, 20182min4010

The conservative policy-shaper Americans for Prosperity held its annual lobby day at the Capitol Thursday with a free box lunch for members and legislators who participated in their program.

No Democrats showed up to speak in the West Foyer of the state Capitol, though some joked that they liked the annual handouts from the organization that eschews government handouts. Sen. Matt Jones, D-Louisville, showed off his collection of AFP swag in his office, but he didn’t show up later for the doughnuts or lunch offered by the organization.

House Republican Leader Patrick Neville explained the difference to the AFP crowd.

“It’s great to hear from good citizens,” Neville said. “We’re surrounded by a lot of different special interests down here at the Capitol, and they’re all arguing for more and more money. What they don’t realize a lot of times is that it’s your money.”

He added, “We want you to have more money in your pockets and less in the special interests up here. That way when you have more money, the economy grows, we all prosper and Colorado becomes more affordable.”

Neville and Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, were the highest-ranked dignitaries who spoke.

Neville thanked AFP and its members for “giving us the support we need to argue on behalf of the individual citizen and not just for more government programs and more regulations and all the other bad stuff, and we can actually advocate on behalf of you, for private citizens.”

Grantham said after his address that he appreciated the AFP members for being at the Capitol to learn how to be “advocates for policies that affect us on a daily basis.”


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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandFebruary 5, 20187min3440

Middle-income families who shell out thousands of dollars every year for child care could get a little help from the state under a bill that is expected to show up in the Colorado House Monday.

The measure, which doesn’t yet have an assigned number, will be sponsored by Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran, a Denver Democrat, and Rep. Faith Winter, a Thornton Democrat.

Winter told of her own experience in looking for affordable, quality child care, once taking a week to scout out facilities. She said she and her husband worked two jobs: one to make ends meet and the other to pay for child care so they could work.

The bill would give families with incomes of up to $150,000 a state tax credit for child care, worth up to $400. Combined with an existing federal tax credit, those families could end up with an extra $1,000 in their wallets every year.

*The state already provides a child care tax credit for families with incomes of $60,000 per year or less, although the credit covers only a portion of child care expenses. HB 1208 would increase the amount of child care credit families with incomes of $60,000 or less would be able to claim, and for the first time, families with incomes between $60,000 and $150,000 also would be able to claim that state tax credit.

If passed, the extra tax credits would cost the state about $14 million in lost revenue; Winter estimated about 40,000 families per year could take advantage of the credit.

The bill’s biggest challenge will come from the Senate, where it has gained a Republican sponsor: Sen. Beth Martinez-Humenik of Thornton. Although she is vice-chair of the health and human services committee, which might be considered a more friendly committee, the bill is mostly likely to head to the Senate Business, Labor & Technology Committee because it involves taxes. Should it clear that committee, it would likely next go to Senate Finance, perhaps its biggest challenge.

One advantage the bill has in the Republican-controlled Senate: Martinez-Humenik, whose seat is considered the most endangered in the Republican caucus. She’s up for re-election in the fall, and Republicans are likely to look favorably on bills that they believe will help her, and them, keep that one-seat majority.

This week, Winter and Rep. Matt Gray of Broomfield are also taking on the House Democrats’ top priority bill: House Bill 1001. It’s nearly identical to a measure pushed by House Democrats a year ago, and which died in the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee last May.

Winter explained that nearly one in four mothers go back to work two weeks after giving birth, but child care facilities don’t take babies that young, putting pressure on those families to find alternative arrangements.

HB 1001 would set up a family and medical leave insurance program in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. That insurance program would provide partial wage replacement for individuals who need to take off work to take care of their own serious health issues, care for a new child, or care for a family member with a serious health condition.

The measure would be paid for through monthly premiums on employee wages of up to .99 percent, eventually bringing in more than $550 million by 2020-21. Its upfront costs in the first year are estimated at around $31 million.

Opponents claim the measure will drive up the cost of doing business in Colorado as well as growing government when it isn’t needed. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock told Colorado Politics that the measure adds regulations and that will raise costs, such as in compliance. “It’s the opposite of what the sponsors intend to do,” he said. Families are hurting because of rising costs; this will acerbate that, he added.

Not a single Republican in either chamber voted for the 2017 version, and finding any, especially in the Republican-dominated Senate, that will back it in an election year may be its biggest challenge.

One issue with the bill is that every employee will pay into the program, even for companies that already offer a medical leave program.

State Sen. Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, who is unaffiliated but usually caucuses with Democrats, also opposes HB 1001. She told Colorado Politics if a company wants to do it as a benefit to attract people, “more power to them.” In addition, her employees told her they don’t need to have money taken out of their paychecks for a program they may never use. “And who are we to say we’re so smart that we can do it better than people can do it themselves?”

Neha Mahajan of 9 to 5, the national nonprofit that is backing the bill, told Colorado Politics that the program would supplement existing medical leave programs that pay 66 percent of an employee’s salary, boosting the pay from 66 percent to 100 percent. It would also extend leave from 12 weeks in most programs to 16 weeks.

HB 1001 will be heard Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee.

 

Correction: to note that families with incomes below $60,000 would be able to claim a larger credit; a previous version said they were ineligible.


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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandJanuary 15, 20187min548
Here’s some of the notables and quotables from the first week of the 2018 Colorado General Assembly. ICYMI: Last October, Gov. John Hickenlooper called lawmakers back to the state Capitol for what was eventually a two-day session intended to fix a drafting error in Senate Bill 17-267. You do remember that, right? Apparently, memories are […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchDecember 24, 20173min2690

Registration is open but seats will fill up fast for the legislative preview and who’s-who confab put on by the Denver Metro Chamber of the Commerce, the Colorado Competitive Council and the Denver Business Journal.

The fifth annual breakfast is Jan. 4 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center.

You can register by clicking here.

Tickets for chamber members are $85 each, and $100 for non-members. A table is $1,200. The event is early on a Thursday. Registration begins at 7 a.m., then the program follows from 7:30 to 9 a.m.

Ed Sealover, the statehouse reporter for the Denver Business Journal, will moderate again this year.

House and Senate Republican and Democratic leadership will set the table for the session. The lineup of speakers includes House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver; House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. R-Castle Rock; Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City; and Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver.

Kelly Brough, the chamber’s president and chief executive (who, btw, was Gov. John Hickenlooper’s chief of staff when he was Denver’s mayor), will talk about the chamber’s legislative priorities this year. The list is expected to include addressing the rising cost of health care, improving the financial soundness of the public-employees’ retirement system and promoting workforce development for young people, as well as expanding the uses for recycled water.

The 150-year-old Denver Metro Chamber has a membership that includes 3,000 businesses employing 300,000 employees, it boasts, as well as acting as “an effective advocate for small and large businesses.”