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Back at the Capital - Finally

 

Last updated 2/23/2021 at 1:26pm | View PDF

The Legislature is back in session after a month break, made possible by legislative rules pertaining to a "declared health emergency" and a judge's ruling. Given the good news of the downward trend statewide of COVID deaths, hospitalizations and new cases I expect to work straight through to the end of the session. Now the question is will we go until June 12th which takes us to the 120-day limit or can we meet the goal of Sine Die by Memorial Day?

Legislators hit the ground running with 200 plus bills introduced that first four days, allowing the committees to get to work immediately. Remember, we typically see 500 to 700 bills every year.

Several bills look familiar as they were tabled after the COVID break last year including one of mine. I brought back the "Teachers should teach students not date them" bill that makes sexual contact between a teacher and 18-year-old students illegal. The bill does treat that action differently than sexual contact between a teacher and, say, a 15-year-old, but still parents should have the expectation that their student doesn't suddenly become "fair game" when they have their 18th birthday during their senior year of high school.

Another bill I am sponsoring that is back for the same reason is figuring out a way for foster children to learn to drive. Liability has been the sticking point and this bill gets to the heart of that matter.

Proper drivers' education would remove one of the social barriers foster kids face when talking to their friends and classmates as teenage conversations begin to revolve around learning to drive. Perhaps more important, given that more than 23,000 kids age out of foster care every year on their 18th birthday and 20% of them become instantly homeless, it is important that we equip them with the ability to at least be able to get to and from a job. After all, they don't have mom and dad's basement to come back to when they hit a bump in the road and no drivers license is a pretty big bump.

There is an electricity provider study bill out there that really had my attention. I was looking to cosponsor it in hopes it would lead to competition that would bring rates down. This is a really complicated issue and the better I understood the bill, the more it became apparent that while giving lip service to lower rates and being a feasibility study, it was really focused on implementation. It is critical we know all the impacts to customers including cost, reliability and dependability, before we jump in lest we saddle ourselves with higher rates for business and low-income consumers like they did in California – the only other state with regulated utilities comparable to Colorado that has implemented a similar program.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the happenings here at the Capital. Lots of ways to stay in touch; Office phone: 303-866-4877, Mobile phone: 719-351-2121, Email: [email protected], Twitter: @SenDennisHisey, Facebook: Senator Dennis Hisey

 

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