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A busy week, with three bills in process

This week will be very busy.

Three of my bills will be heard in committee.

House Bill 12-1159 will have already been heard in the Senate State Affairs Committee, and its fate will have been determined when you read this article. The bill will either be passed out of committee and on to the Senate floor for second reading, or it will be killed for no reason other than politics. The deciding votes will be by three Democrat legislators from large metropolitan Front Range counties. It was passed out of the House on a 61 to 4 vote. It has become the rallying cry for rural folks across the state who feel that they have not been fairly represented.

I thank Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and the numerous rural county commissioners who have worked tirelessly for its passage. The big counties already have the right to decide whether to elect county commissioners by district. Why can’t the small counties have the same authority? It is ironic that three legislators from big counties will decide for the small counties.

On Wednesday SB 57 was set to be heard by the House Education Committee. This is the bill that will allow local school districts to hire native language teachers who do not have all of the teaching credentials required for other teachers. This is especially important to the Ignacio and Cortez school districts where learning the Ute language may be very important to some students and parents, and where there are an abundance of native speakers, but very few and maybe none who would have teaching certificates. This is the type of freedom that school districts should be allowed in other areas of education, also. For example, a retired engineer may want to teach math and may be very qualified to do so. The local school board should be allowed to hire this teacher and waive certain requirements.

Today, SB 116 will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee. SB 116 will make the possession, manufacture, sale and distribution of the new drug “bath salts” and other derivatives of “cathinones” illegal in Colorado. Presently bath salts are sold on the internet and in various stores. They are very addictive being compared to meth and heroin. There are those who oppose making this drug illegal. Some believe that we should legalize and tax all drugs. I would agree if the addictions to drugs affected only those addicts, but they don’t. There are many costs of drug addiction to society, some of which are the breakup of families, the moral deterioration of the country, the loss of production, and the costs to the taxpayer for the rehab — not to mention the costs of incarceration for the safety of our public. Who knows where our country would be if the most addictive drugs were not illegal? Today’s costs to society resulting from drug addiction may have been much greater if we had not made these drugs illegal. It will be interesting to see how this bill is received.

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