1. Justin Bauer Memorial Highway
2. Needle Exchange Program
3. Joint Select Committee Committee on Cild Welfare
4. Medicaid Reform Bill Passed Committee
5. U. S. Health care Act and the 10th Amendment ————————————————————————————————
1. On Friday I presented SJR-26, creating the “Staff Sergeant Justin Bauer Memorial Highway.” Justin Bauer was killed in Iraq in January of 2009. The highway being designated is state highway 56, running through Berthoud, from I-25 to U. S. 287. His widow, father, father-in- law and several other friends and family were able to join me on the senate floor for this very moving event. It was a real honor and privilege to help establish this permanent memorial for Justin Bauer.
2. SB-189, making needle exchange programs for drug addicts legal in Colorado, was passed by the Health and Human Services committee this week. The argument for the bill is that clean needles prevent the transmission of deadly diseases, and that saves lives. I am not convinced that their argument overwhelms the fact that the program gives a tacit approval, or at least a tolerance for illegal drug use, and these drugs destroy and kill many lives as well. Needle exchange programs go a long way toward drug legalization. I will not go in that direction.
3. I was appointed to be the only Republican Senate member of the Joint Select Committee on Child Welfare. The committee is to look into some of the issues surrounding the deaths of 35 children who had a connection with the Department of Human Services. Our first meeting was Friday afternoon, April 16th.
Much of the meeting was at first spent on peripheral items concerning a previous study on DHS policies. After a couple of hours of these details, I had to demand we get more specific information about the 35 children who have died in the last three years. We learned that most of these children were not under the direct supervision of DHS. Only 4 were in foster care. And of those the death of one was determined to not have any relationship to their care. All others were with their family, who had had some contact with social services in the past several years. That is not to excuse any neglect, but it is to understand the problem more precisely.
As the hearing continued, much of the testimony essentially called for more money for more program services. However, one person whom I have a great deal of respect for said is isn’t so much a lack of money. It is a wrong strategy that spends the money we do have in the wrong way. Social services is too prone to take children away from their parents and put them into foster care. She called for more resources for families to fix their problems and less resources (money) going to the foster care programs. This family advocate also called for greater outside accountability to the DHS systems. We must remove any veil of secrecy that DHS can hide behind.
The select committee is scheduled for one more meeting, next Friday afternoon. This is not much time for a very large subject, but I look forward to doing what I can to dig deeper into this significant issue.
4. SB 160, my Medicaid reform bill, was unanimously approved by the appropriations committee Friday morning. It will now head to the Senate floor for further debate.
5. Next week I hope to introduce some resolutions, including one that tells Congress the Tenth Amendment prohibits them from enforcing their recently passed Health Care Act. I will give more details in next week’s report.