Printed on 11/10/17

2017 E-Newsletters

Home / The Issues



November 9, 2017

1. Defending Rights of Conscience
2. Endorsement by David Barton
3. Raising Friends
__________________________________
1. Defending Rights of Conscience


On Wednesday Centennial Institute sponsored a rally at Colorado Christian University in support of Jack Phillips, the baker from Lakewood, and others who have faced religious persecution in this country. Jack's case will be heard before the US Supreme Court on December 5th, which some are calling the most significant freedom of conscience case in our lifetime.

It was a great send-off for Mr. Phillips with an incredible, supportive crowd. I told those in attendance that I will continue to fight for the rights of conscience, including a business owner's right to decide what products and services he/she will sell.

When I sponsored Senate Bill 283, the Right to Disagree, in the last regular session, it was to defend business owners and creative artists like Jack Phillips. Unfortunately, the Colorado legislature defeated the bill. However, across the nation over 200 measures from 46 states and Congress defending freedom of conscience were introduced and 30 of them were adopted, a 750% increase over 2016.

Here in Colorado we continue to fight for the First Amendment rights of all Coloradans. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission, who made the ruling that is now being challenged in our nation's highest court, comes up for re-authorization by the Legislature in 2018. I told the rally at CCU that we must reform the commission to ensure they defend the rights of all Coloradans not just extreme agendas from special interest groups.


2. Endorsement by David Barton

I have heard it said many times that David Barton should be considered a national treasure. Time Magazine listed David Barton among the top 25 most influential Evangelical leaders in the nation. For decades, he has dug into the original documents of our nation's founding to better understand our nation's founding fathers. Through his books, radio, TV, CDs and DVDs, he has shared what he has discovered and he has influenced millions of Americans.

Here is an endorsement I received from David Barton. I am honored and greatly encouraged by his strong statement of support.



3. Raising Friends


In the last edition of the Lundberg Report we rolled out the concept of a "friend-raiser." This is a bit of a play on the words fund-raiser, because we want to emphasize the strong need we have for people to be involved in the campaign, not just funds. Right now, all we are asking for is widening our circle of friends, because it is vitally important to expand our outreach. We are not looking for campaign volunteers at this time, just a firm connection to citizens across the state of Colorado through The Lundberg Report.

The Lundberg Report is our primary method of communication. Will you help us find those people who should be receiving this Report? It's quite simple: invite your friends to sign up for the free Lundberg Report. Send them an email, a message on Facebook, a text message, call them up, pick whatever way that works the best for you. Anyone can sign up for the Lundberg Report on my website, KevinLundberg.com.

Click here to see suggested sample messages you can send to your friends. Help us make this a big success in expanding the reach of the Lundberg Report.



Back to Top

November 2, 2017

1. Governor's Budget Proposal Tops $30 Billion
2. New Name, Same Reliable News Source
3. Help Us Raise Friends for the Campaign (and beyond)
__________________________________
1. Governor's Budget Proposal Tops $30 Billion


The governor's budget request for next year is 30.5 billion dollars, a 3.7% increase over this year. This means he is calling for the state to pay over a billion dollars more next year.

Wow.

According to his budget office these are the big ticket increases:

Department of Corrections: $57.8 million ( 7.5 percent)
K-12 Education: $84.6 million ( 2.1 percent)
Higher Education: $86.9 million ( 9.7 percent)
Health Care Policy and Financing : $98.2 million ( 3.5 percent)
Department of Human Services: $60.2 million ( 6.9 percent)
Increase to the General Fund Reserve: $154.6 million

And... what about roads?

The governor doesn't spend an extra dime of general fund money for roads.

We can do better. As a member of the Joint Budget Committee I know we can do better. As a candidate for state treasurer, I am in this fight for the long term to do better. Go to my website to learn more: www.KevinLundberg.com.


2. New Name, Same Reliable News Source

With this edition of the newsletter we are giving it a new name:
The Lundberg Report.

We first started publishing these reports in 2005 as a way to not only keep others informed, but to help keep it more organized for myself and my staff. The reports have proven to be a valuable way of sharing a concise outline of the important issues at the state capitol and sometimes news and information from beyond the borders of Colorado.

It has also become the backbone of my campaign communications. The only limitation we have is it is only read by a few thousand people. We must spread that out to the rest of Colorado (more about that in the next article).

To help reflect what this report has become we are giving it a more formal title. Hopefully more people here in Colorado will come to see this as a good way to get a quick snapshot of the political issues important to us all.

The Lundberg Report... read it, pass it on.


3. Help Us Raise Friends for the Campaign (and beyond)

For my state treasurer campaign this November is Friend Raiser month.

Currently we reach about 4000 people through these email reports and about that many on Facebook. This is good, but it is only a fraction of who we could be reaching with a statewide campaign and we need your help!



Our friend-raiser campaign is designed to motivate us all to reach out and build a wider network of conservative leaders across the state. The first goal is to double our reach. It will happen if you invite your friends to subscribe to this free reagular report.

I try not to get people out of their comfort zone, but this will take some effort from everybody. I get it, email can get out of hand if we pass everything on. Make this the exception. Help me spread the word that The Lundberg Report is a free newsletter with concise information important to all Coloradans. All it takes to sign up is go to KevinLundberg.com, click on the "Subscribe to The Lundberg Report link (upper lefthand corner), type in your email address, confirm that you subscribed with a return email from our email list service (MailChimp), and its done!

We will take it from there with brief regular reports on Colorado news and we never give out your email address to others.

I will report on the progress of the Friend Raiser campaign as we progress through November.

Back to Top

October 27, 2017

1. School Board Races
2. ALEC Letter to Congress
3. Our National Anthem
4. Campaign Trail

__________________________________
1. School Board Races


Voting is in full swing for School Boards across the state. Some school boards are in desperate need of a more conservative perspective that includes a high respect for parent directed school choice. Unfortunately, not enough conservatives are running in many races, but there are two districts for which I have the following recommendations:

In Jefferson County
Matt Van Gieson and Erica Shields.

In Douglas County
Deborah Scheffel, Randy Mills, Ryan Abresch, Grant Nelson. More information on these Candidates is available at ElevateDouglasCounty.Com.


2. ALEC Letter to Congress

Recently over one hundred state legislators, including myself, from across the nation signed an open letter to Congress initiated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), urging Congress to the include in their tax reform bill the elimination of the State and Local Tax deduction from Federal income taxes (SALT).

The SALT tax deduction is a counter productive deduction that subsidizes the high tax states and counties with Federal tax relief. I am very encouraged by the President's tax reform package and signed onto this letter because I know we have to stop the SALT deduction that encourages high tax states and local jurisdictions from leveraging their high taxes against Federal income taxes, at the expense of the rest of the country.


3. Our National Anthem

Recently our National Anthem has received a lot of attention, and unfortunately much has been negative. However, this has also been an opportunity to point out what Francis Scott Key was aiming at in the stanzas he penned in 1814.

Whenever I am asked to sing the National Anthem I ask to give both the first and last verses. The first verse sets up the question: "...shall that star spangled banner wave...?" The final verse answers in clear terms that perfectly correspond to the words written 38 years before: "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

I believe now is the time to stand tall for our country and stand for our very powerful and eloquent national anthem.

INK_0 is a recent recording I made of both verses, with the added bonus of Dawn Kidwell, the director for Life Choices Pregnancy Medical Center in Loveland, signing the verses.


4. Campaign Trail for Treasurer

Yesterday Vice-President Mike Pence spoke at a GOP dinner in Denver. I attended the dinner and promoted my candidacy for state treasurer at the event.

Mike Pence gave a solid speech which outlined the accomplishments so far during the Trump administration. Bundled together, it is a very impressive list. Of course, the main-stream media paint a very different picture, but when all of the facts are lined up, Trump is fulfilling his campaign promises with conservative, limited government policies that are building up America. The Vice-President also focused on the President's tax reform plan, which will mean simpler tax reporting for most Americans, end the death tax, and spur business with a much better tax structure than most other countries.

In addition to the Mike Pence event this week I was the speaker for the Jefferson County Republican Men's Club, the Larimer County Republican Lunch Club and a 1776 Scholars meeting at Colorado Christian University.

Looking ahead, we will be launching a friend-raiser campaign. Currently we reach about 4000 people through these email reports and about that many on Facebook. This is good, but it is only a fraction of who we could be reaching with a statewide campaign and we need your help!

Over the next few weeks our friend-raiser campaign is designed to motivate us all to reach out and build a wider network of conservatives across the state. The first goal is to double our reach. It will happen if you invite your friends to subscribe to this free weekly report.

Please be a part this next vital stage of our campaign.
Back to Top

October 18, 2017

1. Executive Orders in the Right Direction, for the Right Reasons
2. 2018 Session
3. Last Week
4. This Week
__________________________________
1. Executive Orders in the Right Direction


At the Larimer County Republican Breakfast Club on Monday I was the main speaker. The advertised subject for the meeting was a progress report on Article V (of which there is much to say) but we also had an important discussion on President Trump's executive orders from last week. The previous administration signed many executive orders that were way out of line, but Obama's orders usurped the Legislative Branch and created new laws. President Trump is staying within the scope of the Executive Branch as outlined in Article II of the US Constitution. They are also making big changes which are long overdue.

The orders include: Allowing small businesses join together to buy insurance coverage; The removal of the unconstitutional subsidies established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA); Not certifying the Iran Deal, thus acknowledging that Iran is a threat and supporting our Middle-Eastern ally, Israel; his strong statement on the immigration issue, stating that America's interests must be put first and our laws must be upheld.

These are all major policy issues deserving a lot of attention, but the executive order getting most of the press is the ACA subsidy repeal. Coupled with the order allowing group coverage plans for small businesses, it is a huge step forward to drive the costs of medical care down through competition. Families need this flexibility which can lead to lower medical costs. Here in Colorado, when my medical cost transparency bill (SB17-065) goes into effect in January, Colorado citizens can and will be motivated to look for better choices in their medical care.

President Trump is doing a great job, but he is getting a lot of negative press, which amounts to a lot of fake news. For a more factual story on his first eight months in office check out this article that lists the policy accomplishments of President Trump. Or, better yet, listen to this speech the President gave to the Heritage Foundation earlier this week.

2. 2018 Session is Right Around the Corner

In less than four weeks the Joint Budget Committee will begin meeting regularly. Three weeks after that, December 1, is the deadline for each legislator's first three bills. I am still working on establishing the legislation I plan to run, and I would welcome any comments or suggestions.


3. Last Week

Last week was a little different for the campaign trail. I had several productive radio interviews in the Denver market during the week, and over the weekend I sang with the Loveland Choral Society in their fall program called "An American Anthem." On Friday we offered free admittance to veterans. The other two performances were sold out. In addition to being in the chorus I played the role of John Adams in the song called "Sit Down, John" and I opened the program with a narration that included lines from the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths..."

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing and suit


4. Coming up this Week

Tomorrow I will participating in the Group Publishing Community Service Awards luncheon. The awards are given to non-profit organizations who go above and beyond to help others, most often as faith-based organizations.

On Thursday evening I will be speaking to the Longmont Republican Women's Club. They meet at 6:30 at the Best Western Hotel, 1900 Ken Pratt Blvd.

Some professional athletes are now refusing to stand in respect for our National Anthem. I find that very disappointing and have decided to not support those teams in any way. However, if there is a silver lining to this story it is that many have decided to become more intentional in honoring our flag and National Anthem

For example, Life Choices has asked me to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" at their fundraising events on this Friday and Saturday. I am honored to be a part of their compassionate care for women facing unwanted pregnancies in Northern Colorado. As I do whenever I can, I sing both the first and the final stanza of the song, which gives a better understanding of the message Francis Scott Key intended for that powerful poem.

Finally, on Saturday evening, I will be in Broomfield for the Broomfield County Republicans' Fall Festival. It goes from 6:00-9:30pm.
Back to Top

October 4, 2017

1. Hickenlooper's Special Session

2. Article V Caucus Newsletter

3. Los Vegas Shooting

4. Town Hall in Estes Park

5. Treasurer Race
__________________________________
1. Hickenlooper's Special Session


The special session ended on Tuesday, one day after it started. The headlines in most of the papers say something like: "Republicans Kill Support for Special Districts." However, the real story should read: "Senate Rejects Governor's Illegal Plan to Raise Taxes without a Vote of the People."

The Senate leadership (Republican), stood firm and did not accept the Democrat plan to reinstate the taxes which SB17-267 eliminated. Mulligans may be allowed in golf, but the legal path for creating any tax is through a vote of the people.

My analysis of SB17-267 can found here.

The special session began with two identical bills in the House and Senate, both proposed by the governor's party in each respective house. The bill originating in the Senate was heard in the Transportation Committee on Monday and the committee defeated the bill. The House passed their bill, sending it on to the Senate on Tuesday morning. That bill was assigned to the Transportation Committee, which, after more public testimony, defeated the bill.

Elections do matter and it is fortunate for the people of Colorado that in the last election they put the Republicans in charge of the Senate...

2. Article V Caucus Newsletter

On Monday, September 10, the national debt officially topped twenty trillion dollars. This is a number we cannot even fathom.

Later that week legislators from across the country gathered in Phoenix for a planning convention for an anticipated Article V convention to propose a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The State Legislators Article V Caucus has an in-depth report on this historic meeting, which can be found here. As the national co-chair of this caucus, I invite you to sign up for a free subscription to this monthly on-line publication. It is the most comprehensive source of information on this most important issue.


3. Los Vegas Shooting

As the Special Session began on Monday, President Grantham first turned our attention to the horrific murders in Las Vegas and led us in a moment of silence for the victims. He had a family member who was at the scene of the shooting, so for him, it was particularly personal. He asked that we pray for the hundreds of families and individuals who are suffering as a result of this senseless, barbaric act.



These crimes, that highlight the worst of human nature, strike a nerve in all of us as we think of the country in which our children and grandchildren are growing up, and it reminds us just how important it is to stand for the principles that promote peace, rather that give opportunity for violence.

Our hearts and prayers are with the victims of this attack.

4. Town Hall in Estes Park

On Saturday, October 7th, I will be hosting a town hall meeting with Representative Perry Buck in Estes Park.

The meeting will begin at 2:00 pm and will take place at the Estes Park Town Hall at 170 MacGregor Ave, in the Administrative Conference room. This is a time for you to share your perspective and hear from the local state legislators. I hope to see you there!

Please note that US 34 is closed up to Estes Park. Alternate routes include taking US 36 through Lyons.

5. Treasurer Race

Last week was a busy one for me. I put over 1000 miles on the car driving to special events across the state and we wrapped up the $10,000 in Ten Days challenge, which we exceeded on day ten! Over 100 people have stepped up to launch my treasurer's race and that is a great start. If you would like to join the team in any way you can start by clicking here.
Back to Top

September 30, 2017

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The ten day challenge was a huge success. This sends a big message that we are here and ready to go.

Stay tuned for the next step in our campaign and I have to get back to the capitol on Monday for the special session. I will keep you posted on that as well
Back to Top

September 23, 2017

1. Unconstitutional.

2. Quarterly Forecast for the JBC

3. $10,000 in Ten Days - Day Two Report
__________________________________
1. Unconstitutional.


The Governor has called a special session, starting on October 2, to fix some significant errors in SB17-267, which he signed into law earlier this year.

He calls SB 267 "robust and historic legislation," and it is! It is huge and historic in its disregard of state constitutional directives. I wrote extensively on this during the session last Spring. To review those comments click here and here.

SB17-267 removed some taxing authority for special districts, which is what the governor wants us to undo. However, the legislature can remove taxes, but it takes a vote of the people to put taxes in place. Ever since the governor put his signature on that bill, those taxes went away. There is no constitutional path for the legislature to follow which could satisfy Hickenlooper's request.

I am preparing a bill that would bring this to a vote of the people by asking them to consider a complete repeal of the problem: SB17-267. This is the only way to properly address the governor's concerns.

2. Quarterly Forecast for the JBC

Last Wednesday, as a member of the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) I heard the quarterly fiscal report from the capitol economists. The overall report was positive. Prices are stable, unemployment is low, business activity is humming and tax revenues are up.

According to the Legislative Council economists the legislature can spend an additional $650 million next year (assuming revenues come in to match that increase). Of course, that is largely because of SB-267, which unconstitutionally raised the spending limit by about $600 million (see issue #1 above).

In the afternoon the JBC dug into the backlog of payments to Medicaid providers. Many providers of health services in my district and across the state have reached out to my office because they are not being reimbursed for services rendered. This impacts people, especially those with disabilities.

There has been a real problem with this since Medicaid launched a new payment system in the Spring. Three months ago we were assured they had already cleared up most of the problems, but a few weeks after that some doctors in my area assured me it was not the case. We are now told that they do not expect the program to be normal until January, 2018.

The other major action taken by the JBC was to authorize the Department of Corrections to lease (for a few months) a private prison facility because of current overcrowding in our state prisons. This is an authority the committee has, commonly refered to as a 1331 supplemental. Many years ago the legislature empowered the JBC with temporary spending authority for emergency situations. we determined that this was an emergency need. We did not, however, grant the department funding to retrofit the CSP II prison. That is a larger, long-term decision will have to be decided upon in the 2018 regular session.



3. $10,000 in Ten Days - Day 2


We are on our way!

With the first two days of the $10,000 in ten days, we have a great start. A big thank you to those who have brought us this far! To help us reach the goal by September 30, click here. Or mail contributions to:
Committee to Elect Kevin Lundberg
P.O. Box 378
Berthoud, CO 80513

(Include your name, address, e-mail and phone number.
For $100 or more include your occupation and employer. State campaign finance law requires this information.)



Back to Top

September 21, 2017

Special Campaign Edition

We pack these email updates with as much information as we can put into one brief page about the policies and politics that swirl around the state capitol, but for this special edition I am exclusively focusing on a vital need in my race for state treasurer. In ten days my first campaign finance reporting deadline will arrive. It is an important milestone in this campaign, for many will judge our effort by what we can raise by then.

I am very grateful for those who have already stepped up to help, but we are just getting started on this long journey and I need your help today.

For the final ten days of this reporting period I am setting a goal of raising an additional $10,000. Please help us meet this need. You can mail a check to: Committee to Elect Kevin Lundberg, P.O. Box 378, Berthoud, CO 80513, or contribute online by clicking here.

Thank you for giving this serious consideration. It is the next big step we need to take in our fight for freedom, for families and the faith that has been the foundation of our great constitutional republic.

Back to Top

September 16, 2017

1. Hickenlooper Calls Special Session

2. Arizona Planning Convention

3. Good News in Education Tour With Secretary DeVos

4. Scottish-Irish Festival in Estes Park

5. Website is Up and Running

6. Estes Park Life-Choices Banquet
__________________________________
1. Ready... Fire... Aim!


I couldn't resist this title, as it describes the way the governor has called a special session for the legislature on October 2. In my 15 years as a legislator this will be my third special session. I am accustomed to the governor consulting with the leadership in both chambers before taking such a big step, to make sure everybody can be there. Yet it seems to have caught most everybody off guard, particularly here in the Senate. Our Senate President was out of the country and the Majority Leader was deep in the Colorado Mountains, on an elk hunting trip.

These sessions are reserved for extraordinary circumstances where immediate legislation must address an immediate problem. In this case it is to undo a big goof in the now infamous SB17-267. I opposed this unconstitutional legislation with all I could, but it passed and was signed by the governor. It created an enterprise for the "hospital provider fee," which really gives the legislature a $600,000,000 bonus from the taxpayers' money every year, without a vote of the people. It is now a part of Colorado law.

When somebody carefully read that law, they discovered it eliminated special districts' authority to charge sales tax on marijuana. To undo this requires the tax to be reinstated and the state constitution is very clear: such tax increases must be approved through a vote of the people. I didn't see that part in the governor's executive order. What I expect he wants done is for the legislature to ignore the people's authority to vote on all tax increases and promptly put the tax back on the books.

This should be an interesting battle...

2. Arizona Planning Convention

On Monday the national debt officially topped twenty trillion dollars. It is a number we cannot even fathom.

Also this week, at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, legislators from across the country gathered at a planning convention for an anticipated Article V convention to propose a Balanced Budget Amendment. Since the Colorado Speaker of the House refused to approve delegates for Colorado I was relegated to be an observer, which I did, briefly, and then flew back to Denver for a rare meeting with US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (next story).

I am happy to report that the planning convention went very smoothly as the delegates (from 19 states) have concluded their duties and approved a good plan to proceed with preparations for an Article V convention, when the requisite 34 states call for a balanced budget amendment (currently 27 states, including Colorado). At a later time I will report on the details of the planning convention.


3. Good News in Education Tour With Secretary DeVos

After I landed in Denver on Tuesday I was privileged to meet with Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. The meeting was a part of her multi-state tour of educational successes. She wanted to talk to homeschooling families. Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC) put the group of families together. It was a very positive discussion and I was much encouraged by the secretary's understanding and commitment to support parent's fundamental right and responsibility to direct their child's education.

I am convinced that Secretary DeVos is the right person at the right time. I compliment President Trump for his choice.


4. Scottish-Irish Festival in Estes Park



Last Saturday I was honored to be the Marshal for the Scottish-Irish Festival in Estes Park with my wife, Sandy. Gordon Pedersen drove us through the parade route in his 1939 Rolls Royce.


5. Website for the Treasurer Campaign is Now On!

Here it is, the new look for the website. We kept the front end of the site clean and simple, packed with a lot of information. The previous pages of the site can be accessed through the archives link at the bottom of each new page.

Check this out and pass it along. Also please consider donating through the site. The donate button is the bright red button in the top righthand corner. The next reporting deadline is September 30 and we need to get as much in the bank as we can, to show we are serious about our campaign.


The emphasis on this website is policy, not politics. I want the people of Colorado to understand what I stand for, what I have done in public office and how I plan to serve as their next state treasurer. We have been working hard to make the front door of the site easy to navigate, with a lot of substance and information.

To learn more go to KevinLundberg.com.

6. Life-Choices in Estes Park

Last night I was the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for Life Choices Caring Pregnancy Center in Estes Park. Life Choices is a wonderful organization dedicated to helping women in difficult pregnancy situations.

Life Choices is doing great things without public funding in several parts of Northern Colorado. They operate solely on donations from private citizens, costing taxpayers nothing.

Back to Top

September 8, 2017

1. Legislative Work Goes On

2. Bi-partisan Plan from this Governor?

3. Website for Treasurer Campaign Goes Live Next Week
__________________________________
1. Legislative Work Goes On


August and September are usually considered slow months for legislators, but there is still much to be done. Notable on my calendar recently has been attending the Centennial farm recognition ceremony at the State Fair, which included a family in Larimer County, the Hohnholz Ranch, Glendevey. Yesterday I attended the Governor's Service Awards ceremony which included honoring Tom and Corrinne Carrigan who head up the KidsPac program in Loveland and Berthoud.

Tomorrow I am honored to serve as Grand Marshal in the Scottish-Irish Festival Parade in Estes Park. Next week, in addition to attending some of the Arizona Planning Convention for the anticipated Article V Convention, I am scheduled to meet with a member of the President's cabinet and attend a hearing for the Sentencing Reform Committee. On the following week the Joint Budget Committee will meet for the quarterly financial report and review emergency funding requests from the Governor and Secretary of State.

2. Bi-partisan Plan from this Governor?

Governor Hickenlooper has made a big deal of the "bi-partisan" proposal which he has recommended to Congress. One problem: his definition of bi-partisan is not very accurate. The Governor may have talked to other governors, but back home at the Colorado Capitol he failed to even notify Republican Legislative Leadership, let alone try to develop any bi-partisan understanding. As a consequence, the Senate Majority Leadership sent a letter to the US Senate Committee Hickenlooper talked to earlier this week. Since the Governor left us totally out of the loop, we constructed several questions we had concerning his plan which we asked the committee to pose to Hickenlooper.

Unfortunately, this has been his pattern. The governor tells the public he is working with everyone, but in reality he is making this stuff up on his own. Remember, this is the same governor who ignored the State Senate's rejection of a gubernatorial appointment last session. Defying constitutional law, Hickenlooper put that rejected appointee in place anyway.


3. Website for Treasurer Campaign Goes Live Next Week

In a very short while my website, KevinLundberg.com, will be in gear for my campaign for State Treasurer with a dramatic new look.

The emphasis is on policy, not politics. I want the people of Colorado to understand what I stand for, what I have done in public office and how I plan to serve as their next state treasurer. All of the current information on the website will still be available in an archives section, but we have been working hard to make the front door of the site easy to navigate, with a lot of substance and information.

Stay tuned...

Back to Top

September 1, 2017

President Trump and Governor Abbott Both Declare a National Day of Prayer
__________________________________
I recommend to all to read and observe the day of prayer which has been designated as a time of appealing to God for strength, encouragement and help for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

The President's proclamation can be accessed here.

Texas Governor Abbott's proclamation can be found here.

As we head into this long holiday weekend I trust we will not forget it is the Creator who governs. Our job is to be faithful in following his guidance and principles, and help others in need.
Back to Top

August 25, 2017

1. Colorado Speaker Rejects Arizona's Invitation to Planning Convention
2. On the Treasurer Trail
__________________________________
1. Colorado Speaker Rejects Arizona's Invitation to Planning Convention


After several requests on my part and that of Senate President Grantham, Speaker Duran has refused to allow delegates to be appointed to the Planning Convention next month in Phoenix Arizona. The Arizona legislature issued a call to all states to send delegates to an official meeting designed to recommend procedural rules for an Article V convention for a balanced budget amendment.

Approval from the leadership from both houses is required for a delegation to be appointed. Unfortunately Speaker Duran is insisting Colorado sit on the sidelines for this significant and historic event.

The last time such a general call to all states was in 1861, as an attempt to avert the impending Civil War. Today the problem being addressed is the runaway national debt, now at nearly twenty trillion dollars. It is expected that the required 34 states to call an Article V convention will be attained within the next couple of years. The planning convention will not create a balanced budget amendment proposal, but the planning convention will create much more clarity on how an eventual Article V convention would be conducted.

I still hope to attend some of the convention, but only as an observer. The convention starts on September 12. I will file a report at that time.


2. On the Treasurer Trail

Running for the statewide office of state treasurer is a big project.

Wednesday night it was the Douglas County TEA Party, this morning I was back in Douglas County with the Highlands Ranch Breakfast Club. This was the first time all five Treasurer candidates were in attendance.

Today I will wrap up the day in Pueblo for an interview with the paper, some legislative work at the State Fair and a legislators B-B-Q.

We just ordered 5000 bumper stickers. I trust they will be put to good work around the state (when they arrive).


Back to Top

August 15, 2017

1. Senator Gardner's Town Hall in Lakewood
2. Will Colorado be a Part of the First Convention for All the States Since 1861?
3. Budget Buster of the Week
4. Campaign Trail to Treasurer
__________________________________

1. Senator Gardner's Town Hall in Lakewood


This afternoon I attended a most extraordinary political event at my alma mater, Colorado Christian University. It was a town hall meeting for US Senator Cory Gardner. The CCU event center was packed! I estimate at least 90% of the people there were probably Bernie Sanders supporters and many wore T-shirts supporting Planned Parenthood.



As one might expect, it was a very spirited discussion with strong audience reactions, but that's putting it a bit too nicely. In fact, it was more like an unruly crowd who yelled over many of the comments given by Senator Gardner. That some people in our state have such extreme opinions as were expressed there was not a surprise. But it was very disappointing to see the lack of respect that was given to the Senator through much of the event. To Senator Gardner's credit, he kept his cool and answered as best as he could.

The real significance I saw in this meeting should trouble most thoughtful citizens. To a large extent the people in that room were not willing to listen to political debate; they barely let the Senator give any answers and were very quick to loudly condemn anything with which they disagreed. This was nothing like the typical town hall meetings I have been conducting over the years. The crowd was overwhelming and there was evidence of a strong organizational effort to build those big crowds (such as many people wearing the same T-shirts, pre-prepared response placards and a reporter told me it was telling that several identical questions were asked at all three town halls held today). Yet, despite strong hints of this being a carefully organized event, it couldn't have happened without a great deal of discontent among many people. This shows a great divide within our community.

Let me caution everyone: do not counter such raucous rhetoric with our own version of the same. Such a response would most certainly deepen the divisions even more.

However, we cannot ignore this intensity of opinion. I would say we should redouble our efforts to work toward the principles of good government, liberty and promoting moral values, except redoubling our efforts is not enough. We are at a critical point in our culture. We cannot stand back and expect somebody else to fix it! We must re-establish the values upon which our country was founded.

This is what drives me to stay in the political arena and fight. Not with barbs and darts but with generosity, compassion, hard work and with a second and third effort to make things right again. We must pray to God for mercy. We must work for righteousness. And never, never, ever give up!


2. Will Colorado be a Part of the First Convention Called for All the States Since 1861?

For the past four years I have been an advocate for the states asserting their Constitutional authority to initiate amendments to the US Constitution, as specified in Article V. There is a growing momentum to make this so, with several different amendment issues being proposed by state legislatures. For more specific information please check out the State Legislators' Article V Caucus, of which I am National Co-chair.

In anticipation of an Article V convention being called for a balanced budget amendment, the Arizona legislature has called all fifty states to join them in a planning convention to establish procedural rules for an Article V Convention. The meeting is scheduled to convene on September 12th.

For Colorado to participate the leadership from both houses must agree to send a delegation. President Grantham, from the Senate, is willing, however, House Speaker Duran is still considering her decision. I met with her today to answer any specific questions she might have and urged her to allow Colorado to be a part of this historic event.

As soon as I know I will report on the Speaker's decision.


3. Budget Buster of the Week

Over the past few months I have been investigating some concerns that two separate constituents, on opposite sides of the district, expressed to me. I have taken my time to report on this as I wanted to have as many of the facts before me as possible.

The issue is concerning asbestos abatement. Both constituents experienced the same dilemma. They had asbestos in their buildings, which needed to be removed. This is a very expensive process, and for both of these situations the cost was in the fifty to sixty thousand dollar range. In both cases it would have been substantially less had the abatement been limited to the removal of the known asbestos contamination. However, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) rules the soil surrounding the building was also removed and disposed of. One of the constituents said he figured that added about $20,000 to the clean-up bill. The other said it was more like $60,000 for the additional clean-up requirement. As best as I can determine, the soil removal was not because the soil had been tested and proved positive for excessive asbestos contamination, rather CDPHE rules require the clean-up merely on the possibility of contamination in the area. This is a stark example of how Government regulations drive extraordinary costs for individual citizens. To the credit of CDPHE, their spokesperson said they would look into this unreasonable requirement. The real test for CDPHE is whether they will follow through and actually get rid of this ultra-expensive regulation.

As it stands now, asbestos contamination is a serious problem for any building owner. Unfortunately, the biggest risk is often not the health hazard. The biggest risk is getting caught in the government system which requires budget busting action with nonsensical rules which few can afford to follow.


4. Campaign Trail to Treasurer

Colorado is a big state!

I have been traveling the state as part of my Whistlestop Announcement Tour. Last week it was the I-70 corridor and the Western Slope. Scheduled stops included Idaho Springs, Dillon, Vail, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Montrose, Ouray and Gunnison.

Sometimes the stop doesn't turn out the way we planned. The attached video is what I found in Dillon (click on the picture to view the video).


When I got to Grand Junction the Grand Junction Sentinel gave me a good story. Click here to read the story.




Back to Top

July 22, 2017


1. Busy Week
2. Larimer Lincoln Day Dinner
______________________________________________________________________________

1. Busy Week


This week has been a busy one for me. I started my week on Monday with the Larimer County Republican Breakfast Club, as I do every Monday. I invite you to come! We meet every Monday morning (with the exception of major holidays) at 7:00 am at Johnson's Corner in Johnstown.

Tuesday was filled with legislative meetings at the Capitol. But the real highlight of the week was two conferences, both in Denver.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) held their 44th annual meeting in Denver on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The ALEC meetings are an opportunity for legislators from all fifty states to gather and share ideas and build each other up with Constitutional values.


I was given the honor of starting the ALEC opening lunch with our national anthem.

Next on Friday (yes, there was overlap), Saturday and Sunday, the Western Conservative Summit brought together thousands of conservatives from around the country, predominantly the western states.

At both events we heard from great speakers from the Trump administration, national authors and other leaders. Seeing so many patriotic people joining together for these two events gives me encouragement for America's Future.

2. Larimer Lincoln Day Dinner

On July 29th the Larimer County Republican Party will be hosting their Lincoln Day Dinner at the Embassy Suites hotel in Loveland, with the dinner beginning at 6:30pm, and doors opening at 5:30.

It's not too late to purchase tickets! Click here for tickets and more information on the event.

The keynote speaker is a soldier, author and contributor to Fox News: Pete Hegseth. This is a great opportunity to spend the evening with like-minded conservatives, along with hearing a speaker you may not hear in person at any other time and help the local political team. I also will have a banner displayed at the dinner that should be of interest to voters in Colorado.
Back to Top

July 13, 2017


1. Hickenlooper Disregards the Legislature and the Voters Again
2. Sentencing Committee Report
3. Baby Charlie
4. Larimer Lincoln Day Dinner

______________________________________________________________________________

1. Hickenlooper Disregards the Legislature and the Voters Again

In November of last year the people elected Donald Trump to be the President of the United States. As I indicated in my legislative update on June 8, President Trump acted in the best interests of the American People when he declined to keep America in the detrimental Paris Climate Accord.

But the people's choice isn't good enough for John Hickenlooper; neither are the facts. In an executive order he signed earlier this week, he took the side of the climate alarmists rather than the needs of Colorado families and communities.

More than that, this executive order, which aligns Colorado with the faulty restrictions of the Paris Accord, is an effort to create state law and policies without allowing that law to go through the established, constitutional checks and balances of the State Legislature.

In a press release, Senate President Grantham called the executive order a "unilateral action," saying that "The Governor's failure to proceed in an open, collaborative, bi-partisan way means this policy will never have the stamp of public legitimacy it needs..." The press release goes on to emphasize that the executive order has the fingerprints of a select few environmental activists who benefit from the organization and funding of California billionaire, Tom Steyer.

Despite the freneticism of the activists, a striking element to the executive order is that the heavy burden of meeting so called "renewable" energy does not take effect until 2025 and 2030--long after his term as Governor will be over. This sounds a lot like the BBC comedy series I referenced in my last report.


2. Sentencing Committee Report

On Tuesday the Sentencing in the Criminal Justice System Interim Study
Committee met for the first time.
The goal of the committee is to come up with a plan for fair and effective prison sentences. It is a laudable goal, but we shall see if the slow wheels of the legislature are up to the task.

Of immediate concern is a recent increase in the prison population. Last month the governor asked the Joint Budget Committee, of which I am also a member, for money to lease a private prison facility and staff it with state employees (read union jobs). We rejected the plan, telling them there should be a more cost effective solution.

So today I asked if there are more spaces in private prisons in the state. It took several questions to get them to admit that the answer is yes. Now the task will be to get the governor and the Department of Corrections to use the private prisons (which are much more cost effective) for excess prison populations.


3. Baby Charlie

In the latest Action Alert from the Republican Study Committee of Colorado, of which I am the chairman, we published a story about Baby Charlie Gard, a British baby who was born with a debilitating condition. Unfortunately for Baby Charlie, after ten short months of life after he was born, British and European doctors and judges have decided he has lived long enough.

His parents are still trying to save his life. There is an experimental treatment here in the US, which they have raised the money to try, but the British system does not recognize the parents right to make such decisions for their children.

Click here to read the full Action Alert. If you are interested in receiving emails from the RSCC sign up for our newsletters on our website here.


4. Larimer Lincoln Day Dinner

On July 29th the Larimer County Republican Party will be hosting their Lincoln Day Dinner at the Embassy Suites hotel in Loveland, with the dinner beginning at 6:30pm, and doors opening at 5:30.

It's not too late to purchase tickets! Click here for tickets and more information on the event.

The keynote speaker is a soldier, author and contributor to Fox News: Pete Hegseth. This is a great opportunity to spend the evening with like-minded conservatives, along with hearing a speaker you may not hear in person at any other time and help the local political team.




Back to Top

July 5, 2017


1. Speech at Trump Rally
2. Construction Defects Bill from Last Session
3. Global Warming Politics
______________________________________________________________________________

1. Speech at Trump Rally




Yesterday I spoke at a rally for President Trump on the West steps of the Capitol. I was asked to focus on the healthcare bill now being considered by the Senate in Washington D.C.. Click here for a brief version of the speech (less than five minutes):


2. Construction Defects Bill from Last Session

Construction defect litigation has almost eliminated condominium construction in Colorado, driving up the cost of housing across the state. It has been a big political battle to fix this problem for several years in the legislature, but we finally made some headway this year.

Before House Bill 1279 became law, anyone owning a condominium unit where one of the units had a construction defect was automatically part of a law-suit brought by the HOA (home owner's association). If the suit was successful, the builder of the condominiums was often responsible for replacing all offending items regardless of the functionality of those not defective. Consequently, very few condominium buildings were built in our state.

This new law requires unit owners and builders to be informed of any lawsuit the HOA is considering, gives the builder an opportunity to rectify any defects that were found, and requires a majority of the unit owners to approve of any litigation.

HB 1279, which passed both houses and was signed by the governor, is a step in the right direction for managing the spiraling housing costs in Colorado.


3. Global Warming Politics

Here is an incredibly accurate (and entertaining) description of the politics of global warming, produced in a comedy series by the BBC. It was sent to me by the Cornwall Alliance, a watchdog organization who keeps an eye on the global warming alarmists. If you have a few minutes to watch, I highly recommend taking the time (watching both clips will take about 12 minutes). Click here for the link.

For Life and Liberty,


Kevin Lundberg
Colorado State Senator for District 15
Member, Joint Budget Committee
Chairman, Senate Appropriations and
Health Exchange Oversight Committees
Back to Top

June 8, 2017

1. Launching "The State Of Colorado"
2. Taking the Mandate out of Mandatory Reporting
3. Update on Treasurer's Race
______________________________________________________________________________

1. The State Of Colorado


Today I am launching a new section on my website called "The State of Colorado." It is The State of Colorado, from the vantage point of a veteran state legislator. Having served in the House and then the Senate over the past 15 years I have written much about the issues which concern the people of Colorado. This is a compilation of those observations.

In the light of President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord I am starting with the topic of energy and the environment.

A spokesperson for President Trump had a great observation on his decision to pull the U.S. out of the Accord: The President is being historical while the Left is being hysterical.

It is historical because finally a president is following through with his campaign promises, even in the face of withering criticism from the Establishment. Additionally, it is historical because it charts a new course for our nation: we are insisting on standing up for our best interests instead of accepting bad deals in international agreements, just to get along. Finally, it is historical because President Trump is not being taken in by the Left's almost religious adherence to the global warming dogma.

The Paris Climate Accord was always a bad deal for our country. It put strict mandates and limitations on the U.S., while giving India and China a ten year pass. It is also not a treaty, which is how these kind of agreements are supposed to be created. Finally, it was a bad deal because the assumptions in the Accord are way off the mark of reality.

But a fact check rarely stops the Left from becoming hysterical, and this is no exception.

I have been carefully following the issue of energy and the environment for most of my adult life and as an elected official have found several occasions to weigh in on the many facets of this major issue of our time in history.

Click here for "The State of Colorado: Energy and the Environment."


2. Reducing the Mandate in Mandatory Reporting

On Monday, the Governor signed into law House Bill 1322, which I ran with Senator Donovan. The bill put more balance in the requirements for mandatory reporters of sexual abuse cases. It allows a doctor to determine what cases should be reported and what cases will be better off without a formal report. Prior to this law there was no latitude for medical professionals.

In cases of sexual abuse, mandatory reporting can become part of the problem, not the solution. Doctors should be trusted to make the decision as to whether reporting a suspicion is warranted or not. This law gives doctors that latitude.

This is a step in the right direction. I hope in the future we can extend this discretion to other professionals who are also mandatory reporters.



There are far too many cases where someone has not helped out in a situation because they are a mandatory reporter, or a victim has not sought help, fearing retribution when the mandatory report was filed.

Laws should never stand in the way of a citizen getting help or giving help. By loosening this regulation, we are helping those who really are the victims.

This is good government.


3. Update on Treasurer

Thanks to everyone who has responded to my request for counsel concerning my running for State Treasurer. Over 150 have already responded with overwhelmingly positive encouragement. I am still assessing the situation and will make my decision in the next few weeks. If you have any further thoughts or comments, please send them my way.
Back to Top

June 1, 2017

1. Your Counsel is Requested
2. Governor Ignores Constitutional Duty
3. Larimer County Lincoln Day Dinner
______________________________________________________________________________

1. Your Counsel is Requested


Over the past 15 years while I have been in the Legislature we have seen some victories for liberty but there have also been many losses. Much has been done, much is still left to be done.

According to term limits I have just one more year in the Senate, during which I look forward to accomplishing all I can. However, the question looming beyond next year is: what's next?

Should this be the end of my public service as an elected official? How can I most effectively use those 16 years of experience? Can I help liberty-loving Coloradans band together to become a more effective political force?

I am writing all of this to ask you a question. As a friend, ally, supporter, or just someone who has followed my political actions and commentaries, what do you think?

I am seriously considering a run for the open seat of state treasurer.



For me this will be a big step. It is a statewide office that will take a lot of work and commitment.

The experience and knowledge I have gained as a legislator in the House and Senate, and particularly my membership on the Joint Budget Committee has given me a well-rounded knowledge of the state's government and its finances. I know I am prepared to take on the job of CFO for the State of Colorado. Additionally, my consistent conservative principles can serve the People well in this critical office.

But beyond all of that, the office of state treasurer is a position that can be so much more. The state treasurer, as a statewide elected official, can take on any issue that concerns the people of Colorado and the finances of our state government.

For example (and this is a big example), for our state to thrive, we must hold true to the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR). When the legislature and/or governor strays from the letter and spirit of this vital constitutional law, the state treasurer can and should speak loudly, with the megaphone of this statewide office.

To run an effective campaign we will need a strong team of support from all across the state. I believe this team could become the backbone of a new Conservative movement in Colorado. The time has come to bring to our state the Conservative momentum we see sweeping across our nation. Most states have elected conservative Republican majorities in both houses and Republican Governors. Congress is in the hands of Republican leadership. President Trump is starting to drain the swamp in D.C.. We must start pulling the plug on liberal policies here in Colorado.



This is not an announcement of a candidacy, it is just a question. What do you think? It will take an army of volunteers, from all over the state, for I cannot buy my way through the election. So the next question is: are you ready to join me in this battle (for it will most assuredly be a battle)?

Before launching a campaign I cannot accept funds, but I can ask for your counsel. Is this the right course? What will be best for the state of Colorado? I and my family are praying about this significant decision. I would appreciate your prayers, and if you have any thoughts, please tell me.



2. Governor Ignores Constitutional Duty

I intended to write this article to congratulate the Senate on a job well done, but it took a shocking turn when the Governor chose to defy the Colorado Constitution and the people's representatives in the Senate by ignoring the Senate's Constitutional authority to approve appointments to the Civil Rights Commission.

During session the Senate reviewed the Governor's re-appointment of Heidi Hess to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Senate voted down the confirmation, but the Governor has refused to remove her from the Commission.

In addition to being the Chairman of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Ms. Hess is the Western Slope Field Director for OneColorado, an activist group dedicated to advancing the homosexual agenda in the state. The night before my Right to Disagree bill was scheduled to be heard in committee, I was told that Heidi Hess was hosting an LGBT phone bank in her home, generating opposition to the bill. I do not question her right to be a political activist, but as chairman of the Civil Rights Commission I expect a more neutral perspective. It was for this reason that I voted against her confirmation.

Other Senators expressed other reasons for voting no, and the motion to confirm was defeated.

Rarely does the Senate reject a confirmation. For the governor to then ignore this action shows more disrespect for our system of government and the rule of law than I thought possible.

According to a Denver Post article the governor said he was "bothered" that the Senate did not confirm his nominee. Being "bothered" by something is no reason to ignore his Constitutional duty.

I am appalled. The Governor has gone rouge with this lawless action. Does the Governor want the Senate to give his office the same disrespect? He has a little more than a year left to serve as Governor. I suggest he mend his ways, unless this is the type of legacy he wants to leave.

It is obvious that we need new leadership for The State of Colorado who will stand up for the people, and for truth and right over a politically correct agenda.


3. Larimer County Lincoln Day Dinner

On July 29th, the Larimer County Republican Party will be hosting their annual Lincoln Day Dinner at 6:30 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Loveland.

The keynote speaker for the night is Pete Hegseth, author and Fox News contributor. Doors open at 5:30, and there will be a silent auction!

The party is now collecting high quality items for the silent auction. If you have anything suitable to donate, please call Carol at 970-685-4516 or email at CLTerrell1963@comcast.net.

To purchase tickets or find more information, visit the Larimer GOP website.

Back to Top

May 23, 2017

1. Is TABOR dead?
2. Dedication of the Buchanan Liberty Bridge
3. Free Speech on Campus
___________________________________________________________________________

1. Is TABOR dead?


Last Monday, May 15, Senator Marble, Representative Buck and Representative McKean and myself, gave an end-of-session wrap-up to the Larimer County Republican Breakfast Club (which meets every Monday morning at 7:00am at Johnson's Corner).

A big concern for all was the passage of SB-267, the TABOR bashing creation of an enterprise for the Hospital Provider Fee.

On Monday evening, May 22, I gave a presentation along the same vein at the Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT) annual meeting. John Caldera also spoke at this CUT meeting.

The discussion was, again, all about Senate Bill 267. SB 267 converts the Hospital Provider Fee (HPF) into an enterprise, creates Certificates of Participation (COPs) and undermines the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR). John Caldera called the passage of the bill a "betrayal" and said that with it's passage TABOR is essentially dead.

His reasoning is that the courts have already undercut TABOR many times, but now elected officials (Democrats AND Republicans) are blatantly ignoring the constitutional law called TABOR (a painful fact I made very clear to the Senate, and reported on that reality in my last legislative report.

His words reflected the general sentiment of those in the room.

There are two major components of SB 267 that both undermine TABOR. One is the COPs, which signs over the title of a State Owned (taxpayer owned) building to an investor, then the state rents the building back until it's payed off. TABOR requires a vote of the people to approve a multi-year debt, but in creating COPs, the government can wiggle around that requirement, because they are "leasing" the building.

The other big issue is the more obvious one. When an enterprise is created under TABOR (Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution) the spending cap must also be reduced. This bill leaves $670,000,000 in the spending cap, thus growing government spending by that much, without a vote of the people!

Bottom line, the bill is unconstitutional.

But we cannot lose hope. TABOR will hold the line on spending if we hold our legislators accountable for their actions.

When I look across the nation I see a wave of conservative values and limited government at almost every point but Colorado. In this state, we need to elect leaders who will vote for for freedom, not bigger government. The time has come to redouble our efforts--not give up!

2. Dedication of the Buchanan Liberty Bridge

On Memorial Day, May 29, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm, please be a part of a flag-waving celebration and dedication of the Buchanan Liberty Bridge!

The bridge is formerly known as Kechter Overpass, where County Road 36 crosses over I 25 in Ft. Collins about a mile south of Harmony Road.

Last session, the Legislature passed a resolution renaming the bridge in honor of Tom Buchanan, a conservative activist and true patriot who did so much for Northern Colorado. He passed away in the fall of 2015.

After the flag waving, everyone is invited to Senator Marble's home for a barbecue. If you come, please bring a lawn chair, and a side dish. Click here to view more details. RSVPs to Sheryl Fernandez at 303-859-1421 or by email sherylannfernandez@gmail.com are appreciated.


3. Free Speech on Campus

The 2017 regular session is over. Over the next several months, along with commentary on current events and issues, I will be reviewing some of the more significant legislation that has become law. Here is an issue that I have been working on for many years.

During session this year, a bill to restore the freedom of speech to all Colorado college campuses was introduced, passed and signed into law. Senate Bill 62 requires public colleges in Colorado to allow the expression of ideas all over campus, not just in "free speech zones" as if the first amendment of the US Constitution only protects citizens' rights in a small area of our country.

It should be a logical assumption that the free exchange of ideas is most welcome on today's college campuses, but that would ignore the epidemic of political correctness that has swept across our nation. Far too often our colleges and universities have put in place policies that have severely restricted free speech.

For much of my legislative career I have been dealing with this problem. About a dozen years ago, while I was in the House of Representatives, the CU College Republicans asked me to speak at their student union on the marriage issue. This caused such a demonstration that the president of the University and two regents called to apologize. I discovered little tolerance for my opinions at the University of Colorado.

When I was running for Congress, while on the CU campus, a campaign supporter stepped out of our "free speech area" (to the other side of the hallway). They were promptly told to return to our table. Our speech was strictly limited to the "free speech area."

A few years ago at Colorado State University the police were called to stop a college ministry from interviewing students on campus. They were told that such discussions could only be held in a so called "free speech zone."

About that time, the University of Colorado (CU) took their discrimination against free speech to the next level, by prohibiting the Gideons International from sharing Bibles on campus, a practice they had been doing for decades.

Here is a press release I published in May of 2012:

"Senator Lundberg Calls on the University of Colorado to End Censorship on the Boulder Campus

"In the final minutes of the special session, Senator Kevin Lundberg took a moment to notify the Senate of a concern he has regarding First Amendment rights being suppressed on the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado.

"A new policy has been adopted which prevents any "canvassing" on the campus without specific permission from the school. "Canvassing," for their purposes, is defined as handing anything to anybody on the campus.

"Lundberg pointed out that even if permission is granted, the activity is still restricted to a limited number of locations on the campus. This prohibition applies to citizen's initiative petitions, and anyone "offering information about services or sales; and/or distributing any Literature, flier, coupon book, sample, promotional item, coupon or any other tangible item." All types of groups are being affected by this policy. Earlier this year, the Gideons International group was prevented from holding their annual Bible distribution project on the Boulder campus of CU.

"Lundberg stated 'Our state's flagship institution of higher education should be a place where ideas are freely exchanged, not a place of censorship.'"

I am glad to report that after I voiced my concerns, CU changed their policy toward the Gideons, but the general policy of limiting free speech on our public schools has still persisted.

Across the nation we are hearing more reports of politically correct intolerance. Many conservative speakers are denied access to events on campuses or yelled down if they do manage to speak at a campus event.

It is good news to report that Senate Bill 62 is scheduled to take effect on August 9 this year. Here in Colorado a little bit of sanity will be reestablished on the campuses of our public colleges and universities.
Back to Top

May 11, 2017

1. 2017 General Session is Over
2. SB-267--A Clear Violation of TABOR, Which will Cost Billions
3. Drain the Swamp Book Signing
______________________________________________________________________________

1. 2017 General Session is Over


After 120 days, 681 bills, dozens more resolutions, many long hours of debate, and more pizzas than I can count, the session ended on Wednesday.

The final action for the Senate was a dramatic vote that de-funded most of the Governor's Energy Office. Under Governors Ritter and Hickenlooper, their energy office had become a staunch advocate for putting renewable energy ahead of the other energy resources in Colorado. The House refused our language which would have better balanced this equation and the Senate refused to capitulate, and $3,000,000 for the Governor's Energy Office went away.

We kept the budget in balance (as chairman of Senate Appropriations Committee this was a particular concern of mine), held back a lot of bad bills, but not all (see below), and managed to put some policies in place that will be good for the people of Colorado. I carried twenty-five bills and four resolutions.

Among the bills I carried that did not make it were the educational tax credit bill, the business owner's right to disagree, use of turn signals in round-abouts, and the woman's right to know bill.

On the success side of my bills were the medical cost transparency bill, flood recovery bill, medicaid correspondence legislation, a bill defining the accountable care collaborative system for Medicaid, and a bill putting legislative guardrails on the open primary law.

Among my resolutions were two honoring former Senators. It was a distinct honor to recognize the service of Senator Joe Schieffelin and Senator Bill Armstrong.


2. SB-267--A Clear Violation of TABOR, Which will Cost Billions

As we wrapped up the session this year, a very disturbing bill was embraced by both chambers. The title of the bill is "Sustainability of Rural Colorado," which is such a broad title one could drive a combine with a forty-five foot header right through the barn door of that title. The bill speaks of improving schools, hospitals and roads in rural Colorado, but that is not the heart of the bill.

It designates tens of millions of dollars for rural schools, hospitals and roads, but it gives the state the authority to spend additional hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars every year. This is accomplished by creating an enterprise for the Hospital Provider Fee, an $870,000,000 program while only lowering the spending authority for the general fund by $200,000,000.

This is a clear violation of the Tax Payer's Bill of Rights (TABOR). It is, if not the biggest, one of the biggest and boldest moves by the Legislature to ignore TABOR. Here is a video clip of my third reading comments to the Senate.

This is one of the worst pieces of legislation I have seen in the fifteen years I have been in the Legislature.

The bill increases the spending cap about $670,000,000, without a vote of the people! This is unconstitutional and the people of Colorado will be left paying this bill every year.

SB 267 also creates certificates of participation (COPs), which are financial gimmicks to circumvent the Constitutional requirement of going to the people for long-term debt.

Rural Colorado has been left holding the short end of the economic stick far too often but we should not address their problems with unconstitutional schemes that saddle the people of Colorado with a price-tag ultimately costing billions of dollars.


4. Drain the Swamp Book Signing

I have the honor to be a co-host of a book signing, for Ken Buck's book "Drain the Swamp."

It will take place on Friday, May 12th, at Liberty Arms (4990 Ronald Reagan Boulevard) in Johnstown, right off I 25 and US 34 from 5:30-7:30pm.

I found the book very enlightening. Congressman Buck shares many dark secrets of the goings on in the Washington beltway, but also goes into some cures to the problem. The most remarkable cure Congressman Buck gives is a strong endorsement of the states amending the Constitution through Article V.

I invite you to join us! Click here to view the full brochure.

Back to Top

May 5, 2017

1. Rural Sustainability Act
2. Budget Adjustment
3. National Day of Prayer
4. Book Signing

______________________________________________________________________________

The Session ends next Wednesday. That means three more legislative days, with much still to be done...

1. Rural Sustainability Act

This morning in the Senate Appropriations Committee Senate Bill 267 passed on a 5-2 vote. I and the Vice-Chairman of the committee, Senator Kent Lambert, were the dissenting votes.

This is one of the worst pieces of legislation I have seen in the fifteen years I have been in the Legislature that actually has the strong possibility to become law.


"Sustainability of Rural Colorado," is a broad title that could mean almost anything. In this case, it means removing the Hospital Provider Fee (HPF) from the State General Fund and making it an enterprise. That part is legal under the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) which is Article X of the Colorado Constitution. What the bill fails to do is also lower the TABOR spending cap by the amount of the funds removed from the General Fund.

This will amount to an increase in the spending cap of about $670,000,000. Without a vote of the people, this is unconstitutional and the people of Colorado will be left paying this bill every year.

SB 267 also creates certificates of participation (COPs), which are financial gimmicks to circumvent the Constitutional requirement of going to the people for long-term debt.

Rural Colorado has been left holding the short end of the economic stick far too often but we should not address their problems with unconstitutional schemes that saddle the people of Colorado with a price-tag ultimately costing billions of dollars.


2. Budget Adjustment

On Second Reading today the Senate heard the School Finance Act, Senate Bill 296. As is often the case on controversial bills that hold a high fiscal impact, there were several amendments. One, which I strongly supported, does what I have been saying in the Joint Budget Committee all year. It correctly renames the "Negative Factor" to a more accurate term: "budget adjustment factor."

Years ago, during the recession, citizens had to tighten their belts, and so did the government. The budget adjustment calculates the amount of money that would likely have gone to public education if the recession had not happened. This is a double book-keeping tactic that leads to confusion and false messaging.

The idea seems to be catching on and the Senate did amend SB 296 to change the term.


3. National Day of Prayer

Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer.

I was able to participate for a time at the rally on the West Steps of the Capitol, where over a hundred citizens gathered to pray for our state and nation. In 1952, President Harry Truman established the first Thursday of May as The National Day of Prayer.

I began the day by leading the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem at the Larimer County prayer breakfast. Last night I led a prayer for government and was part of the music team in the Loveland National Day of Prayer evening celebration where the worship team from my church led the music.

National days of prayer have been observed in America Last night I led a prayer for government and was part of the music team in the Loveland National Day of Prayer evening celebration where the worship team from my church led the music. and the practice has been continued ever since, and nearly every president, Democrat and Republican alike, have issued proclamations calling the nation to prayer.

To view the first National Day of Prayer Proclamation by President John Adams, click here.


4. Drain the Swamp Book Signing

I have the honor to be a co-host of a book signing, for Ken Buck's book "Drain the Swamp."

It will take place on Friday, May 12th, at Liberty Arms (4990 Ronald Reagan Boulevard) in Johnstown, right off I 25 and US 34 from 5:30-7:30pm.

I found the book very enlightening. Congressman Buck shares many dark secrets of the goings on in the Washington beltway, but also goes into some cures to the problem.

I invite you to join us! Click here to view the full brochure.



Back to Top

April 28, 2017

1. Armstrong Memorial
2. 50 years--50,000,000 Children
3. The Budget
4. Reasons to Vote for Democrats -the book
______________________________________________________________________________

1. Armstrong Memorial


Today the House and Senate honored Bill Armstrong, who passed away last year. I was privileged to be a sponsor of the memorial. Here are the thoughts I expressed last July, after his passing.

William Armstrong was a Christian, a patriot, a statesman and a leader. He never tired of standing for the truth, first in the Colorado State House, and Colorado State Senate, then in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, and finally at my alma mater, Colorado Christian University, where he served for many years as President.

But he was more. I counted Bill as a dear friend and mentor, one of Colorado's finest patriots and an extraordinary Christian Leader.

When I was first elected to the Colorado House in 2002, I sought his advice as I began my legislative career. His council was simple, straight forward and powerful. He got up from his desk, went into a back room and brought out a book on the life of William Wilberforce.

That has been a significant driving force for me in the Colorado Legislature. William Wilberforce, as a member of the British parliament, is credited with the abolition of slavery in the British empire and he established many other reforms to British society. Bill Armstrong challenged me to follow that example, and that has made all the difference.

He is sorely missed by all who knew him and benefited from his leadership. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family.

2. 50 years--50,000,000 Children

Tuesday, April 25th should have been a day of mourning for Colorado, but some in the Senate suggested it should be a day of celebration.
On Monday, a flyer was placed on our desks with the logos of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Progress Now, the ACLU, and other pro-abortion groups reminding us that 50 years ago, on April 25, the governor signed into law the first substantive abortion rights bill in the nation. The flyer spoke of "celebrating" this fact.

On the 25th, Senator Kerr called this anniversary to the attention of the Senate, referring to the bill as "good bipartisan work." He was correct in calling it bipartisan, but in looking back at the past 50 years there is nothing good about it.

Following Senator Kerr's comments I went down to the well and reminded the Senate that since that grim day over 50,000,000 babies have been sacrificed in our nation and this is not a day of celebration, it is a day of mourning.

Click here for the audio clip of my comments. Here is a news story from the Catholic News Agency.


3. The Budget

After five months of effort the Joint Budget Committee completed the 2017-18 budget for the State of Colorado. Both Houses must still approve this final product, but all of the negotiations and figure setting are over!

Due to the House dragging their feet for a few weeks, this has been the latest date to pass the budget since I have been in the Legislature. Assuming the School Finance Act is completed, we should have things wrapped up by Sine Die, May 10th.

4. Reasons to Vote for Democrats -the book

Recently I came across this brilliant book and equally clever video description of the book. The book is a very quick read, but to get the full impact I recommend watching this nine minute video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nC2iaKfKJeU


Back to Top

April 21, 2017

1. A Tough Week--Except for the Kids!
2. The Watcher Bill
3. Right to Disagree
4. Budget Buster of the Week
______________________________________________________________________________

1. A Tough Week--Except for the Kids!


This was a tough week.

With less than twenty days to go, the political knives are coming out. Despite a one vote majority, two important measures were defeated on the Senate floor. Additionally, despite the agreement we reached with House leadership several weeks ago to balance the budget, the House is refusing to take final action on two critical parts of that agreement. This is jeopardizing the entire budget for this session.



I had the privilege to speak to several students from Olivia Renfroe's elementary class from Golden View Classical Academy.


2. The Watcher Bill

I had a major amendment for Senate Bill 138, dealing with election watchers.
The amendment to the watcher bill would have given watchers (people who observe the election process for parties, candidates, etc.) the ability to observe all aspects of an election, not just the limited access they have today.

In its original form, this bill put more restrictions on watchers. My amendment would have corrected that problem and given watchers more opportunities to follow every step of the election process. As our elections become more complex, it is essential that watchers have access to all of these additional elements of elections. We need this transparency to fortify our confidence in election results.

County clerks did not like the additional oversight and, largely due to their pressure, we lost the vote for the amendment on the Senate floor.

3. Right to Disagree

SB 283, the Right to Disagree bill, was blasted by several senators from the other side of the political aisle as discrimination. I contended it was making a distinction between discrimination and the business owner's right to define the scope of their business practices. For the record, the bill would not have given anyone the right to refuse goods or services to anyone because of who they are, that is clearly discrimination. It would have allowed a business owner to determine the scope of goods and services they provide to everyone and not have the state force them to engage in business practices that they found to be personally offensive.

The bill was killed by a division on second reading with all Democrats voting against the bill. All but three Republicans supported the bill, but that was not enough, and the bill died.


4. Budget Buster of the Week

The Budget Buster this week isn't a spending problem within the budget bill, but rather a lack of action to balance the budget.

The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) runs companion bills to the budget to nip and tuck state funds to balance the new budget. These "orbital" bills must be passed in order to pass the budget. But the Democrat controlled House of Representatives has not yet passed all of these bills!

Despite the agreement we reached with House leadership several weeks ago to balance the budget, the House is refusing to take final action on two critical parts of that agreement. This is jeopardizing the entire budget for this session.

This busts the budget in more ways than one.

If all of the budget bills are not passed, we cannot pass a balanced budget. The House has already squandered too much time. This is because if the governor gets the bill less than ten days before the end of session, the legislature cannot deal with any line-item vetoes he may make. Finally, if the legislature doesn't pass the budget by the end of our Constitutionally allocated 120 days (ending on May 10th) the Governor will have to call a special session, which will come as an additional cost to the taxpayers.
Back to Top

April 13, 2017

1. CDPHE Publishes Immunization Exemption Policy
2. The Women's RIGHT to Know Voted Down
3. The Right to Disagree
4. Happy Easter
______________________________________________________________________________

1. CDPHE Publishes Immunization Exemption Policy


For well over a year I have been trying to convince the the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) that the law does not give them the authority to create an exclusive "official" immunization exemption form. Finally, they have published their agreement to this fact.

For more information on this battle, click here. For their statement on this issue, click here.

2. The Women's RIGHT to Know Voted Down

My bill, Senate Bill 284, which I was running with Senator Marble and Representatives Saine and Ransom, the Women's RIGHT to Know, was defeated in Second Reading today in the Senate.

This was the Women's Reproductive Information Guarantee to Healthcare Transparency (RIGHT) Act, which would have ensured that a woman seeking an abortion is offered the pertinent information concerning the procedure, including an opportunity to see ultrasound images, be informed of her options and know the risk factors involved at least 24 hours in advance of the abortion.

This bill was silent on the whether or not abortion should be legalthat is a debate and discussion for another day. This bill would have required the abortion provider to give full information to the woman before the abortion is to be performed. If the woman did not want the information, she could have declined the information.

Unfortunately, all of the Democrats voted against the bill and two Republican Senators joined them. I regret that the abortion industry is so resolute in their opposition to anything that gives the child a chance to live. The good news is that more and more Americans are coming to realize that unborn children should be protected. Someday, even here in Colorado, abortion will be recognized for what it is, and eliminated.

It was telling, when in committee, one opponent to the bill said she did want to even see the term "unborn child" in State Statute. Why are they afraid of the truth? Why do they continue to defend this grizzly industry and culture of death?

In this week as we celebrate the Resurrection, let us remember that life conquers death. We must defend the lives of the innocent!


3. The Right to Disagree

The Right to Disagree, Senate Bill 283, passed the Senate State Affairs Committee on a 3-2 party-line vote on Thursday Afternoon. The next step is the Senate floor for Second Reading.

SB 283 actually strengthens the laws on the books that prohibit discrimination based on the physical characteristics of an individual by clarifying the difference between discrimination and a business owner choosing to not sell certain products or services.

My office found 50 bills in 33 states that support rights of conscience. So many states are considering this type of legislation because the people recognize the fundamental right of conscience.

The main point of this bill:

Discrimination laws (rightfully) demand that all people are treated equally, and the business must provide those products and services to all who seek them. But business owners should not be forced to provide products and services that violate their conscience. The business owner should be able to identify the scope of their business and not be forced to go beyond, into any business practice with which they disagree.

​It is remarkable, the opposition to SB 283 is calling the bill a license to discriminate, whereas the bill clarifies the difference between discrimination and the right to disagree. It leaves intact all other laws on discrimination. It simply draws a line that protects the business owner's conscience.

4. Happy Easter

2,000 years ago, someone did something impossible.

He rode into Jerusalem on a baby donkey who was too young to be ridden, too young to be away from his mother, but He did it, without harming the donkey.

Then three days later, He did something even more impossible. He took on himself all the sins of the world, and submitted to be crucified for sins He didn't commit. He was crucified, dead and buried, then the third day, He did something even more impossible!

He rose from the dead!

There is only one explanation. This is the Prince of Peace, the Son of God, who humbled Himself, took on the form of a human, and became sin so that we could be sinless, and rose so He could come to judge the quick and the dead.

With man things are impossible, but with God, all things are possible!

Happy Easter



Back to Top

April 7, 2017

1. Arizona Planning Convention
2. The Women's RIGHT to Know
3. The Right to Disagree
4. The Governor Signs Senate Bill 65
5. Homeschool Day at the Capitol
______________________________________________________________________________

1. Arizona Planning Convention


Last week, the Arizona Legislature passed a resolution calling for a convention of states to plan for a potential Article V Convention to propose amendments to the Constitution.

The Arizona bill, HCR2022, calls for all fifty states to be invited to the planning convention this coming September.

I am introducing a resolution in the Colorado Legislature to authorize delegates to be sent from Colorado.


2. The Women's RIGHT to Know

My bill, which I am running with Senator Marble and Representatives Saine and Ransom, the Women's RIGHT to Know, was approved by the Senate State Affairs Committee this past Wednesday afternoon.

This is the Women's Reproductive Information Guarantee to Healthcare Transparency (RIGHT) Act, which ensures that a woman seeking an abortion is offered all pertinent information concerning the procedure, including an opportunity to see ultrasound images, be informed of her options and know the risk factors involved at least 24 hours in advance of the abortion.

This bill is silent on the whether or not abortion should be legalthat is a debate and discussion for another day. SB 284 requires the abortion provider to give full information to the woman before the abortion is to be performed.

We had a number of witnesses supporting the bill, including representatives from caring pregnancy centers, Life Choices, and Democrats for Life.

Now Senate Bill 284 goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.


3. The Right to Disagree

Next Wednesday, the Senate State Affairs Committee will hear another bill I have introduced, Senate Bill 283, the Right to Disagree.

It is discrimination to refuse to sell goods or services because of some characteristic of the person seeking those goods or services. On the other hand, a business owner has the fundamental right to not provide goods or services that violates their conscience. Any business owner should always have the prerogative to determine the scope of the products and services that they provide.

For example, if I were a book seller it would be discrimination for me to refuse to sell my books to somebody because of who they are. It is actually a violation of Colorado's discrimination laws if the person is identified in the list of protected classes. However, if someone were to walk into my bookstore and demand to obtain a book that violated my conscience I should have a prerogative to not sell that book, on the grounds of what I am being asked to sell, not who I am selling to..


4. The Governor Signs Senate Bill 65

This week the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 65, the "Transparency in Health Care Prices Act." I introduced this bill early in the session and it has finally made it through the legislative gauntlet.

SB 65 requires health care facilities and providers to publish the prices for their most common procedures. This bill is meant to initiate greater cost-consciousness for providers and patients. Medical prices are out of control and higher than most can afford. SB-65 is one step toward driving those prices down to more reasonable levels.


5. Homeschool Day at the Capitol


Judge Moore Addresses Homeschoolers at Homeschooling Day at the Capitol

Today was the annual Homeschool Day at the Capitol. Judge Roy Moore, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was the keynote speaker at the rally on the West Steps of the State Capitol, where hundreds of families gathered.


Over 1,500 people registered for the Homeschool Day at the Capitol.

Homeschool Day is a function of Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC) and is an opportunity for homeschooling families to unite as a group, with informative and educational events in the Capitol championing freedom in education and faith.

I am pleased to have been the sponsor of Homeschool Day for several years now. I presented CHEC with a tribute recognizing the success CHEC has been blessed with in our mission to bless others.

Back to Top

March 31, 2017

1. A Doctor's Take on the Medical Climate in Congress
2. Bills on the Governor's Desk
3. Budget Buster
______________________________________________________________________________

1. A Doctor's Take on the Medical Climate in Congress


On Monday, the RSCC (of which I am the chairman) had the privilege of having Congressman Phil Roe (R-Tennessee) speak to us concerning the recent actions of Congress regarding the American Health Care Plan (AHCA).

While many in the media paint a grim picture of Republican legislators refusing to get along and release the nation from the fetters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congressman Roe indicates that hope is not dead. He fully expects Congress to pass a repeal/replace measure this year.

Congressman Roe, a medical doctor from rural Tennessee, has spent much of his political career looking for ways to make medical care work for all Americans. He told us that free markets are necessary to allow the individual to find the best medical insurance for him or herself.

The AHCA wasn't perfect, but we are facing the reality that in the present political environment, a full repeal would never pass. Any step toward making medical care freer, and place it in the hands of the individuals is a step in the right direction.
Congressman Roe was insistent that the future for the medical system in America is not as bleak as some want us to believe.


2. Bills on the Governor's Desk

Aside from the Long Bill, there are two bills I am highlighting this week.

The first, of which I was not a sponsor, has already been signed into law by the Governor. It is remarkably similar to a bill I ran a few years ago, which would have deregulated small child care facilities. When It was my idea the Department of Human Services thought it was a terrible idea. Now they have come to realize that this is a good idea and they initiated the bill, which is now the law. Child care facilities no longer have to be registered or licensed for four children or less.

The other bill, of which I am the prime sponsor, adds transparency to the prices of medical care. Senate Bill 65 has passed the Senate and the House and is now awaiting the Governor's signature. For all the struggles and defeats I report, it is very good to also bring to light the successes that translate into more freedom and knowledge for the people of Colorado.

3. Budget Buster

After four plus months of Joint Budget Committee (JBC) work on the budget for Colorado, the budget had its week in the Senate. We spent most of this week considering the Long Bill, including a late-night session on Wednesday (11:30pm).had

Over 40 amendments were considered and eight were adopted. Two amendments did essentially the same thing, which was to take away a salary increase for the Judicial Branch. I'm sure we haven't heard the last of that issue. Two other amendments made small modifications of which there was little disagreement. One other amendment added $16.3 million annually for a housing program. This amendment is probably illegal, as it is a five year program for which there is no current statutory authority. The Long Bill is only for appropriating funds and cannot be used for other substantive purposes.

The other three amendments overturned JBC funding decisions, all of which were determined in JBC by a 3 to 3 party-line vote. One amendment continues the "Healthy Kids Survey," which asks public school students very intrusive and suggestive questions about suicide, drugs and sexual activity. Another amendment gave the Colorado Healthcare Exchange full funding and the last amendment to be mentioned here fully funded the Health Department's request to track doctor assisted suicides and provide a "help line" for doctors assisting in a suicide.

The JBC produced a balanced budget as the Colorado Constitution requires, and we succeeded in cutting out some programs that do not fit in the best interest of the people of Colorado.

Because the Senate did pass amendments that grew the budget beyond its introduced form (see above paragraphs), I am designating these amendments the Budget Busters of the week.

Back to Top

March 24, 2017

1. Medical Transparency Bill
2. Estes Park
3. The Long Bill is Ready
______________________________________________________________________________

1. Medical Transparency Bill


Senate Bill 65 passed the House this week. This is my medical transparency bill, requiring doctors, clinics and hospitals to list the prices of their most common practices. After the Senate approves House amendments it will be off to the Governor for his signature.


2. Estes Park

This morning I was honored to be the Senate Sponsor of a resolution commemorating the 100 year anniversary of Estes Park.

I was joined in the Senate Chamber by Representative Perry Buck and several officials from Estes Park.



As a part of my presentation to the Senate, I shared a story that demonstrated the resiliency and community of Estes Park. Several years ago my wife and I were staying in Estes, when very early in the morning we were awakened by the swirling lights and commotion that denoted a fire. When I looked out the window, I realized that the Park Theater Mall was being destroyed, dramatically changing the landscape of this picturesque town.

But what was remarkable, was that not only did I see the Estes Park fire Department respond, but the whole community came together. Everyone did what they could to help. These efforts were not in vain. I was in Estes recently, and drove by the historic Park Theater, which had been right beside the Park Theater Mall. It is still standing, mountain strong, in the middle of the town. The people of Estes Park weathered that storm, showing the strong spirit of these resilient people.


3. The Long Bill is Ready

After five months of preparation the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) "closed the budget" meaning we concluded the first phase of passing a balanced budget through the legislature.

In November the Governor submitted his budget requests and we began hearing JBC staff reports on the needs in every department of state government. Next came hearings with every department. Then, after a couple of weeks of "supplementals" where we trued up the budget for this year, we began the task of figure setting. This is going line by line through the budget and approving (or not) department and JBC staff recommendations.

This we completed earlier this week and tackled the final step, which is to balance all of our income with the expenses. We were only about $500,000,000 off! With some carving, some juggling, and a lot of discussion with leadership in the House, Senate and Governor's office, we finally had a balanced budget.

Next week, the Senate as a whole will consider the budget. The week after, the House. Whatever amendments come out of both houses will be considered by the JBC and ultimately put on the Governor's desk.

It looks rather straight forward, and it is, if you add five month's work for about 25 people.
Back to Top

March 17, 2017

1. Replacing Obamacare
2. Department of Health Finally Follows the Law
3. Bible Study Story at the Capitol
4. Budget Buster Busted
5. Economic Forecast: Good News, Bad News
______________________________________________________________________________

1. American Care Act


As Congress debates the merits of a replacement for Obamacare, a lot of rhetoric is adding more confusion than clarity.

Much of the problem is the terms being used for the debate. The defenders of Obamacare put it in the terms of how many people may lose coverage with a Republican plan, but this misses the real point: Obamacare has not driven down the cost of medical care for the average family. It has caused a dramatic price increases through higher monthly premiums and higher out of pocket expenses.

Obamacare has resulted in most families losing much of the coverage they had before Obamacare, while they are spending more for the insurance they have been left with and deductibles that are measured in thousands of dollars. This makes it so expensive that many people do not even go to the doctor, or chose to get any treatment they may need. The reality is families are now covered by medical insurance they cannot afford, especially if they get sick. In terms of protecting family finances, it has become fake insurance.

This was quite predictable, for a third-party payer system will always result in increasing inefficiencies. True competition, where the doctor and patient are making the decisions, including the related costs, is the only way to fix this problem.

As Congress continues to wrestle with the replacement of Obamacare, they need to realize anything less than creating more transparency and choices for individuals and families will be more of the same out of control prices.

To create more pricing transparency I introduced SB-65. It will require doctors, clinics and hospitals to post the charges of their most common procedures. This is not meant to be a complex or expensive regulation. It will not answer all the questions about costs, but it will encourage doctors and patients to start asking questions about medical costs.

As chairman of the Colorado Health Exchange Legislative Oversight Committee, I have asked the exchange tough questions of what they are costing the people of Colorado, what they are contributing to the people of Colorado, and what it will take to decommission the exchange. Currently Federal law locks us into the expensive exchange system for administering Obamacare programs, but we need to get rid of this expensive, bureaucratic process if we are ever going to move past the Obamacare nightmare.

In short, Congress needs to transition away from their heavy handed control of our medical system as fast as possible and let individual states craft policies that put decisions in the hands of individuals and families. Freedom, not centralized control will fix the problem.

Obamacare, either the original Democrat version or any Republican sponsored Obamacare-lite will never work.


2. Department of Health Finally Follows the Law

It took a lot of persistence, but CDPHE will finally allow parents to follow the law.

This week I received a letter from the director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) stating that they are reversing their policy on requiring the use of their form (online or printed out on paper) for immunization exemption forms.

This is a protracted battle which I, and many concerned parents across Colorado, have been engaged in for well over a year. Despite the clear fact that the law (C.R.S. 25-4-903 (2) (b)) says that it only takes a signed statement to claim the personal belief or religious belief exemption from the immunization schedule required by CDPHE, the Department has insisted they could create an exclusive "official" form (only available online) that parents must use.

That has been the Department's position for the last year, which they fully implemented on July 1, 2016. However, when faced with the possibility of the budget committee not funding their immunization tracking system, they have come to terms and have gave me written assurances that by April 14 a notice will be sent to schools and placed on their website allowing parents to make the choice on how they will exempt their children from any part of the immunization schedule.


3. Bible Study Story at the Capitol

Here is an excellent article which is the current front page story in the Colorado Statesman on the Bible study we have been holding at the Capitol during the legislative sessions for the past 15 years.


4. Budget Buster of the Week

The budget buster of the week is actually a budget buster busted.

Yesterday the Joint Budget Committee denied a $5.1 million request for the Colorado Healthcare Exchange. This was accomplished by the three Republican members voting no on the motion to fund the $5.1 million, hence the vote died on a 3-3 vote. These dollars were to help the Exchange pay for their role in qualifying Exchange clients for Medicaid.

I reported on this issue in last week's budget buster, for those details, click here. The short version of the story is as follows:

Over the past few weeks I have heard from several insurance brokers who told me there are big problems with the system set up within the Exchange for requesting a Federal subsidy (tax credit) for medical insurance. The problems, as they explained to me, are due to the fact that to apply for the Federal subsidies the system first requires screening everyone for Medicaid. If one is determined to be Medicaid eligible, Federal tax credit subsidies are not allowed and one must take Medicaid or nothing.

If you are self-employed the questions the Exchange then asks are easily misconstrued and far too often a client is determined eligible for Medicaid when they are not and unraveling this mistake can take months to undue.

Having withheld the $5.1 million from their budget earlier, I was hoping the Health Care, Policy and Financing Department (HCPF) would give us a good idea of the scope of this problem and how they intended to fix it. Unfortunately all they came up with was to assure us there is no problem and they had no way of determining if anyone was improperly qualified for Medicaid something I find incredible.

I, and the other two Republican members of the JBC, had heard enough. We busted their budget buster.


5. Economic Forecast: Good News, Bad News

The good news is the economy is strong. The bad news is the state government is still spending at (or over) the bleeding edge of our ability.

Today the quarterly economic forecast was released by the Legislative Council's Economics Section (Leg. Council). They said that Colorado's economy is improving at a moderate pace. For average citizens this is great news. The job market should continue to be strong and inflation should be held to a reasonable level.

Additionally, the Tax Payer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) holds the line on how much revenue we can keep for government spending. In the next fiscal year, according to Leg. Council, our revenue is forecast to exceed TABOR limits by about $264 million. This $264 million is more good news for the citizens of Colorado, for that is what should be returned to the people of Colorado unless the legislature figures out a way to eliminate it.

For the legislature, however, this economic report still gives us challenges. It is not because of this solid economic picture, it is because we have spent too much money. Unfortunately far too many public policy people see the TABOR limitation as the problem. They seem to think they have a right to more of the People's money, rather than honoring the TABOR limits and returning the money whenever possible.

The biggest driver in this upside down situation, where a strong economy still means a tight budget for the state is Medicaid (close to $10 billion). And, new Federal policies for Medicaid could make this problem worse, if they simply drop some of their support, or better, if they give Colorado more flexibility in controlling our Medicaid entitlements.

The other big ticket item is k-12 education (over $4 billion). It is constitutionally controlled by Amendment 23. However I should note that my educational tax credit bill (SB-39) could relieve that driver by more than $50 million in the coming budget year.



Back to Top

March 10, 2017

1. Building the Budget
2. Equal Funding for all Public Schools
3. BIG Budget Buster of the Week
______________________________________________________________________________

1. Putting Together the Long Bill


The Joint Budget Committee is finishing up figure setting for the annual budget. This means we are going over every department, line by line in many cases, setting the actual figures that will be in the budget for next year. It is a complex blizzard of facts and a lot of figures.

Early next week we should be through all of the departments and branches of government. Then the heavy lifting begins as we look at how close our figures are to a balanced budget. I expect there will be a few hundred million dollars to find, or cut from the budget to make the revenues balance with the expenses.

It is times like these that make me grateful for TABOR, and our Constitutional requirement to balance the budget. TABOR requires us to keep the General Fund within the growth limits of inflation plus population and only raise taxes with approval of the voters. All of these factors force the legislature to limit the growth of government. It also means we have some tough choices, but every responsible budget requires tough choices.

2. Equal Funding for all Public Schools

Today, on the floor of the Senate, much of the morning was spent on second reading debate of Senate Bill 61. This bill creates a fund which is intended to be used for distributing dollars to all charter schools across the state. The bill does not appropriate any money today, it just establishes the fund. These funds are needed to help charter schools compensate for the lower funding charters receive, when compared to other public schools.

So much time was spent on this bill that we ran out of time and it was laid over for further debate on Monday. The Democrats were doing everything they could to stand in the way of additional funding for charter schools. Unfortunately, this is a pattern with that party's agenda. It seems that any policy which gives parents more control over the education of their children is a policy they will not accept.

I hope this bill will pass the Senate, but if it does, it will probably be on a party-line vote. With the other party in charge of the House...


3. BIG Budget Buster of the Week

The budget busters seem to get bigger and bigger.

This week I am reporting on something of which I do not know the scope, but it does deal with the biggest item in the state's budget. Medicaid is a program that costs over $8,000,000,000 (billion).

Last week the medical insurance brokers came to the Capitol and several brokers told me the same story: When a self-employed person looks for medical insurance on the state's Health Care Exchange, because of ambiguous instructions on filling out the online forms, many people are shuttled over to Medicaid who really don't qualify. And then they find it almost impossible to get off Medicaid.

I brought this up to the Exchange last Friday and this problem didn't seem to be on their radar, nor did it seem to be a big problem for the department that administers Medicaid (Health Care, Policy and Financing - HCPF). I would expect a situation of this sort to be dealt with at the first hint of a problem. Yet this seems to be treated by the government authorities as more like business as usual.

And... largely through the Health Care Exchange, the Medicaid population has exploded over the last few years, from about 3/4 of a million people to over 1.3 million today.

And... with Congress seriously considering Medicaid reforms that will put more of the funding responsibility on the states, we must make sure anyone getting Medicaid truly qualifies and is truly in need of this most expensive line item in the state's budget.

To the credit of the Joint Budget Committee, after hearing of my concerns they have put on hold about $5,000,000 for the exchange, in hopes of seeing a response that will cure the problem of their Medicaid qualification system ASAP.



Back to Top

March 3, 2017

1. Exchange Legislative Oversight Committee
2. BBA Passes Wyoming
3. RSCC Immigration
4. BIG Budget Buster of the Week

______________________________________________________________________________

1. Health Exchange Oversight Committee Met Today

Today, the Health Exchange Oversight Committee had our first meeting of 2017.

After the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare or ACA) became law in 2010, and the subsequent passage of SB11-200 which created the Exchange in Colorado, the Health Exchange Oversight Committee was created to provide Legislative direction and oversight to the Exchange. I have been on this committee since its inception and I am now the chairman.


Representatives from the Connect for Health and Colorado Consumer Health Exchange answer questions from the Committee.

I called this meeting to find out what the Exchange is planning as Congress debates the repeal of Obamacare.

Here is what they reported:

They have signed up 180,000 for 2017.
63% (113,400) get a Federal subsidy for their medical insurance, this amounts to 2.1% of the people in Colorado.
50% went through a private insurance broker.
It is currently costing $40,000,000 to run the Colorado Exchange.
The only function they really provide is verification of which of their customers qualify for the Federal tax subsidy.
The Federal government apparently will not require any repayment of the $9.6 million for which the Exchange did not properly account.
They are giving some consideration to what steps will be needed to decommission the Exchange.
They say that the Exchange is necessary even in a "post ACA" world to act as a connection between consumers and their insurance, but I am not convinced it is worth the $40,000,000 it is now costing the people of Colorado.

We now need to wait and see what Congress will do to Obamacare and whether or not it is time to shut down the Colorado Exchange.


2. BBA Passes Wyoming

This week the Wyoming legislature passed a resolution calling for an Article V convention to propose a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. Wyoming is the 29th state (including Colorado) to do so, leaving only five more states (34, which is 2/3rds of the states) before Congress is required to call a convention according to the Fifth Article of the U. S. Constitution.

I am reporting on this for several reasons. First, it is a very important issue. Secondly, I have been active in promoting this use of Article V for several years, and help lead the State Legislator's Article V Caucus. Finally, I have been promoting this measure personally in Wyoming for the last few years. I have traveled to Cheyenne several times and encouraged all those I know up there in many ways. It is great to see all of that effort come to fruition.


3. RSCC Immigration

Earlier this week, the Republican Study Committee of Colorado (RSCC) of which I am the chairman, had a discussion on immigration with Congressman Tom Tancredo, Senator Dave Schultheis, and Charles Heatherly, a former staffer for the Congressman and currently the Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives in the Colorado Senate Majority Caucus.

A little background: The RSCC was founded in 2005 and one of the big issues we tackled right off was the immigration issue. In the fall of 2005 the RSCC held a hearing on immigration and this culminated in Governor Bill Owens calling a special session in 2006 to address immigration. The RSCC also sponsored three trips to the southern border.

We noted that immigration impacts everything, especially through government funding of schools and entitlement programs. Legal immigrants are also losing their jobs as a result of businesses hiring illegal aliens. Minorities and the poor are at the most risk of exploitation and abuse by illegals. It is not a compassionate act to allow our borders to remain unsecured.

Texas has set a fine example of the road to border security. They use a little of everything, including fences, man-power, including US Marines, and water patrols. The nation needs to strike a similar balance to preserve the American way of life so there is truly freedom and justice for all.


4. BIG Budget Buster of the Week

A constant theme we hear about here at the Capitol is how to get around the controls of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR). This year a big part of that effort is HB-1187. This bill would ask the voters if they want to reset the TABOR limits on revenue from population plus inflation to personal income growth. This is a big budget buster, which will result in the growth in the state budget by hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

The bill would allow the state government to keep about $350 million in the first couple of years. and much more later on by changing the formula for the TABOR cap from inflation plus population growth to personal income growth.

Secondly, if one examines TABOR carefully, this bill violates several of the current Constitutional provisions of TABOR. Like so many other attempts, HB 1187 is trying to undo the limits on the growth of government that TABOR has helped keep a lid on.

Colorado experimented with Referendum C back in 2005 and we found that more money doesn't solve all of the problems. There are always more demands for funding than funds available. Big government advocates will always want more. The opponents of TABOR are quick to point out the pot-holes in roads and a presumed shortfall in education funding. The path to solving these problems is to set priorities in government spending, not to take more of the taxpayers' money and keep on their spending spree.

Despite the fact that two (liberal) Republicans are sponsoring HB 1187, I expect the bill will not survive its first committee hearing in the Senate.



Back to Top

February 24, 2017

1. Exchange Committee
2. Common Sense Clarity
3. RSCC Action Alerts
4. Budget Buster of the Week
______________________________________________________________________________

1. First Meeting of the Health Exchange Oversight Committee


On Friday of Next week, the Health Exchange Oversight Committee, of which I am the Chairman, will have our first meeting of 2017. It will take place in LSB-B at 1:30 on March 3rd. I encourage anyone interested to come watch the process.

After the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare or ACA) became law in 2010, and the subsequent passage of SB11-200 which created the Exchange in Colorado, the Health Exchange Oversight Committee was created to provide Legislative direction and oversight to the Exchange. The committee is required to meet at least two times every year.

At the meeting next Friday I intend to ask some tough questions, such as: What benefit does the Exchange provide to Colorado Citizens? How many people have signed up for medical insurance through the exchange, and how many are receiving subsidies? What is the Exchange's cash flow? And finally, does the Exchange have a plan to close down if the ACA goes away?


2. Common Sense Clarity

On Thursday of last week, Senator Crowder and I presented our bill, Senate Bill 121, in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. It passed unanimously.

Senate Bill 121 stems from an interim committee I was a member of last summer, designed to find a way to improve communication between Medicaid and its clients. This bill would make that a reality by requiring certain letters from Medicaid to the recipients be written in clear, concise language.

This seems like common sense, but all too often, the forms Medicaid clients receive are confusing and written in a way that they have no idea what they are about to sign. This bill is designed to make the language and format of the letters commonly understandable to the average citizen.


3. RSCC Action Alerts

For a number of years now, I have been chairman of the Republican Study Committee of Colorado (RSCC). This year, the RSCC is rolling out a new project called "Action Alerts." These Action Alerts will be sent out regularly to give people who subscribe to our list an inside view into the happenings in the legislature.

The RSCC is a voluntary group of legislators who ascribe to a certain set of conservative principles such as: Limited Government, Sanctity of Life, Lower Taxes, etc..

Part of a good government is a good electorate taking an active role in the process. If you would like to receive these Action Alerts, please follow this link to sign up.


4. Budget Buster of the Week

This week I am reporting on a decision the joint budget committee made earlier this week, which will cost the people of Colorado just under a million dollars. The decision was to fund 85 new vehicles for the state, equipped to run on compressed natural gas (CNG).

I moved to provide the funds needed for standard fuel vehicles, but the committee defeated that measure and then, by a 4-2 vote (I and the chairman, Senator Lambert, voting no) made the decision to buy the CNG vehicles, at an additional cost of $11,500 per vehicle.


Back to Top

February 1, 2017

1. School Clinics
2. Help Pass Educational Tax Credits!
3. Roundabout Bill Passes Committee
4. Budget Buster of the Week

______________________________________________________________________________

1. School Clinics

During a Joint Budget Committee hearing several weeks ago I asked the Colorado Department of Education a question they found rather uncomfortable. The Department was asking for additional funding for school clinics. In the description of school clinics it stated that they primarily provide referral services for medical care.

The question was: "do school clinics ever refer students to abortion clinics?" The Department said they do not know. My next question was what policy they have in place concerning this issue. Weeks later they essentially admitted they have no policy.

I asked this because the Colorado Constitution (Article V Section 50) prohibits any state funds from being used directly or indirectly for abortions. Referring a student to an abortion clinic is indirectly participating in the abortion. Ever since this section was added to the Constitution (1984) most state government agencies have been ignoring this prohibition.

From the answers the Department of Education has given, it is obvious they too are ignoring this part of the State Constitution. I will try, through the budgeting process, to correct this policy and it is a very simple fix. The Department of Education needs to publish a clear statement that Article V Section 50 does not allow the indirect funding of abortions through school clinic referrals to abortion clinics. Without this policy in place, I cannot support the funding of school clinics.


2. Help Pass Educational Tax Credits!

On Tuesday, February 7, I will be presenting my Educational Tax Credit bill in the Senate Finance Committee which meets at 2:00 pm in Committee Room 271. I hope to see the citizens of Colorado come together and testify in support of this bill!

This bill is designed to encourage parents to consider the benefits of private school and home school. The bill could also save the state general fund hundreds of millions of dollars in the long run.

It would create a tax credit for anyone who helps pay the tuition for a student who moves from a public to a private school. It would also provide a tax credit to families who move their students from public school to home school.

The incentives created by these educational tax credits would give the state a healthy, competitive education system. Colorado could become the example for the nation. Parents would have better choices, students would have better access to the educational format that fits their learning style, the state would maximize the use of its educational dollars and every educational format would thrive.


3. Roundabout Bill Passes Committee

Informally, I call this bill the "Make Colorado Drivers Legal Act."

Senate Bill 59, a minor deregulation bill, removes the requirement to use a turn signal in a roundabout. The bill does preserve local control by allowing jurisdictions the prerogative to maintain the requirement by posting signs at a roundabout. This common-sense legislation passed the Transportation Committee, but not without opposition from the State Patrol. I trust we will be able to get approval from both houses and the Governor.


4. Budget Busting Bustang

This Budget Buster of the week is not under the direct authority of the Legislature but it is still your taxpayer dollars which are being used to pay for tow-trucks, buses and ad campaigns by the Department that is supposed to be building roads (CDOT). This might be seen as a reasonable expenditure if transportation was fully funded. But with a backlog of road construction projects amounting to many billions of dollars I see no justification for spending millions on these expensive peripheral projects.

The Bustang, a bus system that radiates out from Denver, took about $10 million to set up (obtain the buses) and takes another $2.7 million per year to run the system. About half of the annual cost is subsidized. Fares make up the remainder. (I don't think this includes any of the initial capital costs to obtain the buses and I seriously doubt it includes any replacement costs when those vehicles eventually wear out.)

I also recently learned that CDOT is spending about $6 million a year to hire tow trucks, primarily in the Denver metro area. These vehicles are called "Courtesy Patrol." Their stated purpose is to help keep the roads clear of disabled vehicles. Sounds nice, but the private tow truck industry has been alive and well in Colorado, many people also have towing insurance, and I believe CDOT could better spend their (our) money building highways.

Finally, this is not quite as large a line item, but when CDOT converted the HOV lanes to three or more people (HOV 3 ), they spent over a quarter of a million dollars on an ad campaign. In the past I did criticize them for not informing the public when they required a switchable pass to use HOV, but what I was hoping for was aggressive public service announcements and adequate warning time, not a slick add campaign to try to convince us the HOV 3 is a better feature than HOV 2 .



Back to Top

January 26, 2017

1. Appointment to Chair Colorado Health Exchange Oversight Committee
2. My Bills so Far
3. Budget Buster of the Week

______________________________________________________________________________

1. Appointment to Chair Colorado Health Exchange Oversight Committee
I have been appointed as chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee for the Colorado Health Exchange. Having been on the committee since its inception five and a half years ago, I am well aware of what the committee can and cannot do, which is pretty much restricted to asking questions in a public forum. However, since Obamacare is about to be repealed, it is time to completely reevaluate the Colorado Health Exchange. As chairman I intend to initiate that process.


2. My Bills so Far
Two of my bills passed their first committee hearings this week. The first, SB-34, extends the length of time that a county has to exercise more flexibility with their funds which are used for disaster recovery. It is a followup to a bill I helped sponsor after the floods of 2013.

SB-65 is the "Transparency in Health Care Prices Act." It requires health care facilities and providers to publish the prices for their most common procedures. This bill is meant to initiate greater cost-consciousness for providers and patients. Medical prices are out of control and higher than most can afford. SB-65 is one step toward driving those prices down to more reasonable levels.


3. Budget Buster of the Week
In the Joint Budget Committee we were told that the state is now providing through Medicaid, treatment for Hepatitis-C, an often deadly and until recently, incurable disease. Now there are drugs that cure, but at a price to the state of around $46,000 per person treated. With about 14,500 Medicaid clients currently diagnosed with Hepatitis-C, this translates into about $650,000,000!

However, there is a generic version of the drug in India, of identical formulation and efficacy. The Department of Healthcare, Policy and Financing (HCPF), who administers Medicaid, is paying the local, higher price for the drug. I am asking them to consider medical tourism, which could drive the cost down to $5,000, or lower.

As it stands today, HCPF is asking for an additional $66,000,000 for this year as they begin to implement their program for treating Hepatitis-C, hence, they deserve the budget buster of the week.

Back to Top

January 20, 2017

1. President Trump
2. Budget Buster of the Week

______________________________________________________________________________

1. President Donald J. Trump

A new administration began today with the swearing in of President Donald J. Trump and Vice-president Mike Pence.

Despite the glaring disdain with which the media and political establishment have tried to spin it, I was impressed with the President's inaugural speech. He didn't claim victory for himself, or go into mind numbing policy details. He efficiently laid out the principles by which he plans to govern.

The President deferred the hope and the glory of this moment to the American people. In his own words: "This moment is your moment, it belongs to you, This is your day, this is your celebration, and this, the United States of America, is your country."

"The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now," he continued. "Today will be remembered as day the people became the rulers of this country again."

He took on the established political class, particularly with these words: "For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land."

President Trump also showed a remarkable reliance on divine guidance: "When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity."
"We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

"When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

"There should be no fear -- we are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God."

This was not a dark speech of American protectionism, as some have reported. It was a straight forward declaration of where we are as a nation and how President Trump intends to steer the ship of state in the next four years.

Trump's speech, coupled with his brilliant choices for cabinet appointments, show a man of action who is committed to reestablishing the principles of liberty and prosperity for the people of our great nation.

2. Budget Buster of the Week
This week in the Joint Budget Committee we have been considering what are called supplementals. These are bills that adjust the current annual budget for each department, which are considered by the legislature early in every regular session. The fiscal year is from July 1 to June 30. Supplementals are needed to keep the budget in balance through the end of the fiscal year and helps keep individual line items flowing at a smoother pace for all twelve months.

Among the requests was $1.947 million in child care development funds for the Department of Human Services. These are dollars used to subsidize child care costs for individual families. We were told that the money was needed to address the needs of 459 families who were on a "wait list." This might sound reasonable, until we dig a little deeper.

Each county is given a fixed amount of money each year for their share of these dollars (about $87 million for the entire state). So what we are talking about is over spending this year by several counties. The reason they gave for the overage was an underestimation of increased rates for child care. The rate increases were, we were told, due to higher standards for child care.

Here is the problem, aside from the fact that it is a two million dollar budget buster for the state and the counties knew how much they had to work with from the start, this practice perpetuates the out of control costs of child care in Colorado. We have some of the highest child care rates in the country already. Additionally, because the rate hikes are due to increased government regulation (that's the "higher standards" bit), this additional cost is already because of more government red tape. More money in this system will help drive the overall costs that much higher and all families in child care will suffer.

I voted no on the recommendation, along with the chairman of the committee, but the recommendation passed on a 4-2 vote.

Back to Top

January 13, 2017

1. First Days of Session
2. Make Colorado Drivers Legal Act
3. Budget Buster of the Week


______________________________________________________________________________

1. First Days of Session

The 2017 Legislative Session officially began on Wednesday with speeches by the President of the last General Assembly, Bill Cadman and the incoming President,
​K​evin Grantham.

President Cadman emphasized that as leaders, we must honor and respect each other while standing on principle.

President Grantham began by quoting the preamble to the Colorado Constitution: "We the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, in order to form a more independent and perfect government..."

He offered kind words to many senators who have served in past sessions and quoted Hebrews 12:1: "...let us run with patience the race that is set before us."

"We the people" was the phrase he used many times acknowledging the duties and responsibilities of the citizens as the sovereign authority for Colorado's civil government. He emphasized the need for educational choice, accountability in government agencies and preserving the rights and freedoms of citizens. He spoke of lowering taxes and cutting red tape so that families and small businesses can prosper.

Policy priories were transportation funding, construction litigation reform, reducing regulatory burdens, repealing the Healthcare Exchange, and allowing military members under 21 to carry concealed.

Conversely, Minority Leader Lucia Guzman had a very different speech. She focused on unemployment, and the aging workforce. She emphasized "underfunded classrooms" and her solution was to change the Hospital Provider Fee into an enterprise.

She praised the federal tax subsidy for wind and solar.

While President Grantham's solution to the state's problems was "we the people" Minority Leader Guzman's solution was to grow government.

On Thursday, the Governor gave his State of the State speech to a joint session.

First calling for bipartisan cooperation he then jumped to big government policies that Republicans have always resisted. These policies included the Hospital Provider Fee issue, building a broadband network, starting with a new broadband office in his administration.

He talked about transportation priorities, which is good, but fell short of the immediate solution we can start with today, which is trans-bonds. The solution he hinted at was higher taxes.

Speaking for nearly 60 minutes, Hickenlooper covered a wide range of policies including praise for our energy resources, but noticeably absent was any praise for the coal industry.

To his credit, he did call for the passage of a construction litigation reform bill.

After starting with a call for bipartisan cooperation, toward the end of his speech he said he will "fight" to keep the essence of Obamacare government subsidies in Colorado.

Majorities matter and the dichotomy between the two parties was very telling. When government is strong, freedom suffers. When Liberty rules, the state will be prosperous.


2. Make Colorado Drivers Legal Act

My title to this article may sound a bit ostentatious, but when it comes to use of turn-signals in roundabouts, very few drivers follow the dictates of the traffic laws. Indeed, it is nearly impossible to follow what the law says. To indicate a turn, one must use their turn-signal at least 100 feet before making the turn. For many roundabouts in Colorado, the 100 foot requirement renders the use of a turn-signal meaningless and confusing. As a consequence, very few drivers use their turn-signal at all.

Roundabouts are confusing enough without this legal conundrum. It is not a real big deal, but I think it is important to make our traffic laws as clear and functional as possible. Hence, I have introduced a bill to eliminate the requirement to use a turn-signal in a roundabout, unless local authorities post a different requirement.


3. Budget Buster of the Week

The Budget Buster I have chosen to highlight is already known to most people. However, with the changes in Washington DC there is the prospect of actually fixing this problem. I am speaking of Obamacare in general, and the Colorado Healthcare Exchange in particular. It takes about 50 million dollars a year to run the Colorado Exchange. The only thing they have really been successful at is to push hundreds of thousands of people into Medicaid, for everyone who applies for health insurance through the Exchange is first screened for eligibility in Medicaid and if they qualify are only offered Medicaid. All others are referred to health insurance companies to buy a policy. On the health insurance side, brokers and insurance companies have always been providing this service without any taxpayer dollars. The $50 million is paid for by the insurance companies who work with the Exchange, which really means anyone who buys a policy from those companies is paying the bill.

Congress is working hard on repealing Obamacare. The big question is with what will it be replaced? I strongly urge Congress to eliminate the tax penalty associated with the individual mandate (essentially ending the individual mandate), allow insurance companies to write policies with pre-existing condition limitations, and reestablish high-risk pools at the state level for those who cannot qualify for those policies. The high-risk pool we used to have in Colorado was called Cover Colorado. These three points, plus allowing policies to be purchased across state lines should create enough competition to actually drive premiums lower.

Which brings us back to the Exchange. Without Obamacare it would then have no purpose. It would be a redundant, government-run referral system (which is pretty much what they are today). The people deserve a better than this forced $50 million tax.



Back to Top

January 6, 2017

1. 2017 Session Starts Next Week
2. Educational Tax Credits
3. Budget Buster of the Week
4. National Association of Scholars Study

______________________________________________________________________________

1. 2017 Session

The 2017 session officially starts next Wednesday (January 11), but I have been attending the Joint Budget Committee meetings for the past two months. Today getting to the Capitol was a bit more challenging than my usual pattern. Due to the snow, last night I could not get through my driveway (800 feet long) so I had to park my car at my in-laws house and they shuttled me home in their four-wheel drive truck. This morning (at ten below zero) I started out by skiing back to my car (and driving from there).

Starting out for the Capitol at dawn.

There are several important events planned for next week: a prayer rally at the capitol on Tuesday, swearing in the newly elected legislators on Wednesday, opening day speeches, the governor's state of the state speech on Thursday and a speech to a joint session by the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice on Friday.

Each of these events are open to all, on a space available basis. I particularly encourage all to attend the prayer rally, scheduled for 2:00 PM on Tuesday. It will take place on the West Steps of the State Capitol building. You can click here to view the Call to Prayer for Colorado facebook page for further details and updates. Among the items for which we will pray are: for the President, Congress, and the State Legislature, for the poor, for our military, and others.


2. Educational Tax Credits

The first bill I will introduce this Session is one I have either run myself, or been closely involved for many years.

This bill is designed to encourage parents to consider the benefits of private school and home school. The bill could also save the state general fund hundreds of millions of dollars.

It would create a tax credit for anyone who helps pay the tuition for a student who moves from a public to a private school. It would also provide a tax credit to families who move their students from public school to home school.

The incentives created by these educational tax credits would give the state a healthy, competitive education system. Colorado could become the example for the nation. Parents would have better choices, students would have better access to the educational format that fits their learning style, the state would maximize the use of its educational dollars and every educational format would thrive.


3. Budget Buster of the Week

Budget Buster of the Week: $350,000 for a new Program, the AG Charitable Fraud Unit

Recent news stories have covered a request from the Attorney General's office to the Joint Budget Committee for about $350,000 to fund a new charitable fraud enforcement unit. This means a couple of attorneys, an investigator and related services which would be devoted full-time to enforce the Colorado Charitable Solicitations Act.

First a little background. Last year HB-1129 passed, putting in place a stiff penalty system (up to three million dollars) for charitable fraud and a new requirement that "paid solicitors" for non-profits be bonded. In my research on that bill I was shocked to learn that Colorado's charitable solicitation laws, if followed to the letter, creates an almost impossible system to navigate for many non-profits in Colorado. The fiscal note for the bill was less than $20,000. Now the AG wants $350,000 for a new enforcement unit.

Part of their rationale is a supposed "sudden growth in charities" (Denver Post, 12/29/16) over the past ten years. In fact, in 2008 there was a big push from the Secretary of State to enforce registration requirements for non-profits and consequently many more have now registered with the Secretary of State. There is no evidence that Colorado has just become a haven for non-profits (which would actually be a great thing, given all of the good work of most non-profits).

So I asked them how big the problem seems to be. Early in December they told me that in 2016 they had received 30-40 calls concerning instances of possible charitable fraud. Of these inquiries, most were dismissed with a little checking up on (a return phone call) and none have resulted in a significant case that they could cite. The only actual case they noted was a national issue involving the attorneys general in all fifty states. This means that the AG's office gets less than one phone call a week. They want a brand new, full-time team to followup on those almost once a week calls?

I am concerned that this new enforcement unit will end up on fishing expeditions among the non-profits in Colorado until they find some problem upon which they can exert their heavy penalties.

This is worse than a budget buster. It is wasting taxpayer dollars to put out a dragnet for non-profit "scofflaws" who may not have filled out the proper forms for the government and posted the proper bonds (at great personal expense).


4. National Association of Scholars Study

I am honored to have been asked to be one of the speakers at a meeting to roll out a significant study conducted by the The National Association of Scholars (NAS) concerning a radical change in how civics is taught in our universities. The study highlights the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and the University of Wyoming.

The study is titled: "Making Citizens: How Universities Teach Civics." which details the way universities have strayed far from traditional government studies and are becoming a training grounds for left-wing political activists. College civics classes should be teaching students about law, liberty and the process of self governance that we have in America, not how to stage protests. In addition to explaining their findings in modern universities, the study goes into the history and background of the movement to take "old civics" out of the classroom and replace it with "new civics."

The event I am speaking at will be at the Independence Institute located at 727 E 16th Ave, Denver, CO 80203 on January 12, and will begin at 5:00 with a reception followed by the program at 5:30. Please join us!

Click here for the NAS website and more information on their project and to RSVP for this event. You also can RSVP by calling 917-551-6772.


Back to Top

< Back to The Issues

"2011 Taxpayer Champion"
- Colorado Union of Taxpayers