Lundberg Legislative Report
March 5, 2011
1. Civil Unions
2. Obamacare and Judge Vinson
3. Meeting with Governor
4. My Bills
1. SB-172, creating civil unions in Colorado, will be heard in Judiciary Committee on Monday. Even though the people rejected such a measure on the ballot in 2006, the sponsors are moving forward. In the Senate all Democrats are listed as sponsors, so it will pass the Senate. Hopefully the House will be a different matter.
The bill is filled with legal jujitsu. It states that the legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that are granted under the law to spouses shall apply in like manner to parties to a civil union, but the bill also says that the act shall not be construed to create a marriage between the parties to a civil union, create or recognize a legal status similar to marriage, or alter the public policy of this state that recognizes only the union of one man and one woman as a marriage. How can it insist that civil unions are not a legal status similar to marriage and yet create civil unions that mirror the rights and responsibilities of spouses in marriage?
This is a big issue that strikes at the very core of our society. I will oppose SB-172.
2. Even though most of the provisions of Obamacare do not go into effect until 2014, several bills we are considering this year assume the law is a foregone conclusion, but that is becoming much less certain in Federal court. Most notably, Federal Judge Vinson declared the law to be unconstitutional a month ago, in answer to the suit filed by 26 states, including Colorado. I have asked Legislative Legal Services to give the Colorado Legislature some guidance in this area. In my opinion, we should not be passing bills that assume Obamacare is the law of the land. Judge Vinson has clearly stated the same, including a “clarification” opinion given this week. It is time for the legislature to pay attention to the legal realities of this over-reach by last year’s congress.
3. I will be meeting with the governor on Monday. To his credit, he is scheduling such one-on-one meetings with most legislators. The meeting will be brief, but with no specific agenda, I am open to your suggestions. Do you have any thoughts on what I should ask or discuss? If you have any ideas, please Email me before 10:00 AM Monday.
4. SB-055 was considered on the Senate floor for second reading yesterday (Friday). This bill will require information to be posted at all electronic security scanning systems that includes the radiation exposure (if any), privacy policies of any images that might be created and the options a citizen has if they do not wish to submit to the electronic security scanning system. The majority Leader, Sen. Morris, put an amendment on the bill requiring all costs created by the bill to be paid for by the general fund. This was a curious amendment, for the fiscal note said the costs would be minimal, for the posting of the information could be as simple as taping a sheet of paper to the wall. Nonetheless, the amendment was accepted and then the bill was sent to the Appropriations Committee to consider the implications of the amendment. I hope all of this parliamentary maneuvering does not jeopardize the bill’s final success. It certainly did give the bill a bit of attention in the media this week.
Next Monday I and Sen. Harvey will present HB-1003, the photo ID bill, to the Senate State Affairs Committee. This committee already killed a similar bill the Sen. Harvey introduced earlier this year, but we will still make the case that our voting process has been compromised and needs to be tightened up to give voters confidence in the integrity of the system. On Wednesday I will again be before State Affairs to present HB-1095, requiring the Secretary of State to create a password system for changing online business records. Currently anyone can go online and change any business record, without any password controls!