Straight From the Senate - Dennis Hisey SD2

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Re: Straight From the Senate - Dennis Hisey SD2

Post by ParkBull » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:00 am

Straight From the Senate

March 25, 2019

Judge’s Ruling and Red Flag

To set the first issue up – all bills are to be read in their entirety twice in each chamber, unless “by unanimous consent” they may be read by title only. This has become the common practice and makes sense. If you aren’t familiar with a bill by the time it comes to the floor there is little chance you can cast an informed vote by having someone read it to you.

So, to “ask that a bill be read at length” is a rare thing and when it happens everyone is paying attention. The longer the bill the more it gets everyone’s attention. However, once the reading begins no one is actually paying attention because what this has become is a tool used by the minority to slow things down when they feel their voice is not being heard. In Washington D.C. this could be called filibustering.

The minority asked for a 2,000 page bill to be read at length in protest over the speed at which the majority was rushing through some very high profile, controversial and impactful bills. Majority leadership, through the magic of technology, found a way to have 5 computers read different parts of the bill at 625 words per minute. One computer reading at that speed is incomprehensible - 5 at the same time was just noise.

Republicans sued and on Tuesday the judge ruled that a bill being read at length must be read by one reader (human or computer) at a speed that is comprehensible to the human ear. The winner here was not one or both parties but the Colorado Constitution, as the intent of the Constitution was upheld.

On Friday the first 10 hours of the session were spent on the Extreme Risk Protection Order, otherwise known as the Red Flag Bill. Lots of amendments, some to shift the focus back to the underlying problem of mental health. However, when one of the sponsors of the bill said, at the microphone, “this bill is not about mental health but about removing guns” that kind of set the tone for the day.

It passed on a party line vote. It goes to a conference committee to iron out the differences between the House version and the Senate version. From there to the Governor who has indicated he will sign. I predict the next stop after that will be the courts as it is challenged for being unconstitutional. I haven’t talked to anyone that wants people with the serious mental health issues to have access to guns, but let’s do it without violating the Constitution.

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: SenatorHisey@gmail.com, Twitter: @SenDennisHisey, Facebook: Senator Dennis Hisey



Senator, Dennis Hisey

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Re: Straight From the Senate - Dennis Hisey SD2

Post by ParkBull » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:09 am

Straight From the Senate

April 1, 2019

Budget and ERPO Passed

The Senate passed the Budget this past week - the one thing we are required to do by law. This was the most collegial process the Senate has enjoyed on any major piece of legislation this year.

The bill now goes to the House where they generally strip all of the Senate amendments off and put on their own. From there the Budget goes back to the Joint Budget Committee where they look at all of the amendments and act as the Conference Committee to reconcile all the versions of the bill and bring it back into balance.

42 amendments were printed this year – a light year from what I was told. Some were to fund projects or programs important to a Senator, some were to defund or reduce funding to projects or programs. 13 of those amendments passed.

The most significant amendment was a Republican amendment that moved money around to make Transportation a priority that resulted in 106 million more dollars available for roads and bridges, bringing the total transportation funding to $336 million, fulfilling the goal put forward on opening day by the Minority Leader.

Thank you to the many Democrats that supported this amendment. We hope the entire amount makes it through the rest of the process but even a significant portion of that will be a win for Coloradans. So, with all that praise and hope I should explain why I voted against the budget.

The latest revenue forecast a week earlier showed about 200 million less coming in this next fiscal than had been projected. That meant the glide path the budget had been on for the past several months needed to scaled back. It was to some degree but in order to not make as significant of cuts, one time money and reserves were used to balance the budget. So what we did was increase the base budget going forward with no way to sustain it in future years. I just could not support that making one of 6 no votes.

You’ve read more about the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill than is fair but the final reading of this bill was heard the day after the budget. I have included excerpts from the closing remarks I made on the floor.

“Starting with what I believe is the infringement of our constitutional rights there are many reasons why I will not be able to support this bill...”
“Now that 1177 has been debated at length and found wanting, let’s get together with concerned legislators from both sides that want to produce a meaningful, constitutionally compliant bill that will have bipartisan support because we addressed the root of the problem - the mentally unstable person.”

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the happenings at the Capitol. Lots of ways to stay in touch; Office phone: 303-866-4877, Mobile phone: 719-351-2121, Email: SenatorHisey@gmail.com, Twitter: @SenDennisHisey, Facebook: Senator Dennis Hisey



Senator Dennis Hisey

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Re: Straight From the Senate - Dennis Hisey SD2

Post by ParkBull » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:23 am

Straight >From the Senate

April 8, 2019

Fire Fighting Foam and Equal Pay for Equal Work

As the only legislator drinking from the aquifer contaminated by PFAS it seemed fitting that I’d be part of HB19-1259, the bill trying to bring some transparency to their use. PFAS is short hand for a manmade family of chemicals with about a 6-syllable name that is or was found in everything from Teflon to Scotch Guard to Firefighting Foam. So, the truth is it can be found in almost every human and has even been found in polar bears.

There is more antidotal than scientific evidence about its effects on humans but it is generally agreed in the scientific and medical community it is not good for the body and in high enough concentrations can lead to serious ailments including cancer and tumors.

As a firefighting foam it is used primarily on liquid fuel fires, jet fuel and diesel being the two most common applications. What this bill does is prohibit the use of PFAS for training purposes. It also requires an inventory of PFAS materials on hand as well as requiring manufacturers of fire-retardant materials such as the protective gear firefighters wear to disclose whether the personal protective gear they sell contains PFAS chemicals.

What this bill does not do – it does not ban the use of PFAS foam in the case of an actual fire. If a plane full of passengers catches fire, the firefighters will extinguish it in the most expedient manner possible and then we’ll deal with any contamination issues.

Most if not all fire departments have or are transitioning away from PFAS foam but an inventory of what’s in storage will let us know what kind of disposal issues we may be facing.

Shifting to an absolutely great sounding bill, Equal Pay for Equal Work (SB19-085), it actually takes away one of the simplest tools workers now have to deal with discrimination.

What this bill takes away is the ability to start with the Department of Labor and Employment. Currently, a simple phone call starts an investigation and that leads to a decision. If you don’t like the decision then you go to court.

With this bill your first step is to file a complaint in District Court. When your only tool is a hammer everything looks like a nail, when your only tool is the courts everything looks like lawsuit. The courts have always been an option.

By implication, SB-085 has the potential to open an employer up to lawsuits if they wish to reward top performers that make the company more profitable. The more we restrict employer’s flexibility to reward exemplary work the more we encourage mediocracy – not a good combination for recruiting companies that are looking for the best and brightest. Hated to vote against something that sounds so good but it’s the details and not the title that matter.

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: SenatorHisey@gmail.com, Twitter: @SenDennisHisey, Facebook: Senator Dennis Hisey



Senator Dennis Hisey

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Re: Straight From the Senate - Dennis Hisey SD2

Post by ParkBull » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:08 am

Straight >From the Senate
April 15, 2019

Bill Signings and Rule Changes

As we enter the final weeks of the session the flurry of bill signings will only intensify. Some bills are signed into law amid much fanfare and hoopla, others quietly in the governor’s office with no audience or cameras. Not to worry about something nefarious being made into law in the dark of the night without proper scrutiny. Every bill, before it gets to the governor’s desk, has 3 hearings in each chamber and two to six committee hearings. The proponents and opponents have had ample time to cuss and discuss the merits of the bill and by a majority vote in both chambers it has moved on to the governor.

The same cannot be said for executive orders or rule making but that’s a topic for a different day.

Last Friday the rules changed – as they do every year about this time. It was the last day the governor had 10 days to sign, veto or let the bill become law without his signature – a tool that has actually been used occasionally. For the remainder of the session the governor has 100 days to take those same actions. Not sure the history of this rule but it appears to have two practical effects.

First, this allows the governor to have bill signings around the state after the session has ended. For example, if a bill that affected mining operations found its way to the governor’s desk in the last three weeks of the session he could make the trip to Clear Creek or Teller County in May or June to hold a bill signing ceremony. This would allow local officials and mine operators and employees to attend. It is more than a good photo-op, it gives locals the ability to highlight their region to the governor and his staff.

Second, and this is why we made sure we passed the budget last Friday. Since a veto or line item change by the governor can be overturned by a 2/3 vote in both chambers we needed to ensure the budget would have to be dealt with while we are still in session. No one expects the governor to play games with the budget, particularly since he got everything he asked for but why tempt fate.

As to the status of my bills that are still alive, I admit to a little concern over whether they will all make it through the legislative maze before we adjourn on May 3rd.

With a few weeks to go it is easy to be philosophical and say “Oh well, there is always next year”. It remains to be seen if I will still have that attitude one minute after midnight on May 3.
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: SenatorHisey@gmail.com, Twitter: @SenDennisHisey, Facebook: Senator Dennis Hisey

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