March 6, 2017
By Bob Cox
Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.
With all the hoopla in Washington, D.C. getting the attention of the news, we sometimes tend to forget that we have a group of lawmakers in our own state that need to know that we are paying attention to them also.
One of the big platforms in the GOP campaigns of this last election was the promise to begin to reduce the regulatory nightmare that has slowly engulfed the people of this country and given the violation of a regulation the same consequences as the violation of a law.
So, I thought it appropriate that the first bill introduced in the 2017 session of the Colorado Senate was one that dealt with part of this problem.
SB 17-001was somewhat unique in its conception because it was a bill sponsored by a father and son team. Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton carried the bill in the upper house (Senate) and his son, House Minority Leader Patrick Nevill, R-Castle Rock, co-sponsored the measure.
In short, the bill provided that if a small business committed a minor violation of a rule, the agency responsible for that rule could, instead of immediately fining the violator, give the business 30 days to cure the violation. There is a lot more to it, including defining of the small business and limiting the actions to violations that do not include the safety of employees. We are talking about things like record keeping and administration matters.
Well the bill skated through the Senate without much problem. It passed the Senate on the third reading on Feb. 1 and was introduced in the House on Feb. 6. From what I could find out, the bill had some fairly good bi-partisan support and had a chance for passage by the house, but the Democratic controlled House had different ideas; they effectively killed the bill in committee.
The crazy thing about politics is that a sane person will be left scratching his head over some of the antics these so-called representatives go through. It turns out, according to several things I looked at recently, that the Democrats kind of liked this bill. Their problem is that they can’t get much recognition from their constituents if they pass a bill sponsored by two Republicans, so they evidently decided to kill the bill and write one of their own, which basically included the same provisions. That way it will be their idea; they will be the heroes of the day. I saved a copy of the text of SB-1. My information is that Rep. Tracy Kraft-Thorp will likely introduce the Democrat version. It will be interesting to see if she uses very similar language. I plan to compare the two.
Frankly, I would be better impressed if the lawmakers were trying to remove the burdens of regulations, rather than just lightening the load a little, but at this point I will take about anything that points out the fact that giving the regulators the power of lawmakers is never a good idea.
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© Robert R. Cox 2017