Printed on 3/2/17

Freedom Watch 2015

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So much that happens at the legislature happens in very small steps, but each step leads in a clear direction. Far too often that direction is for more government control of private businesses, individual citizens, and families.
2015 Freedom Watch is my journal of those many steps that are taken every week during the legislative session. This is a compilation of the weekly legislative reports I have prepared during the 2015 session.

February 8, 2015


1. Second Amendment Bills in House and Senate

2. Rolling Back the Renewable Energy Mandate

3. Parental Rights Bills Move Forward in the Senate
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1. On Monday of last week the House and the Senate were about as different as can be when dealing with gun issues, all along party lines. Several repeals of the 2013 gun bills were in committees in both houses. The House killed them all. The Senate Judiciary Committee (on which I serve) passed the repeal of the universal background check bill and a constitutional carry bill.

Now we see a crack in the Democrat's hard line on gun control, as there are recent reports that four Democrats are supporting the repeal of the 2013 law limiting the capacity of magazines. it will be interesting to see if the Speaker of the House allows a fair hearing for the bill when It hits her desk.

2. SB-44, rolling back the renewable energy mandate from 20% to 15% was debated and passed by the Senate on a party-line vote. Incredibly, the Democrats tried to argue that the higher mandate would result in cheaper energy costs. This was like calling black white. I suppose it was the best argument they have left...

3. On Thursday the Senate Education Committee took a principled stand for parental choice. Two Bills were passed, again on a party-line. My educational tax credit bill and Senator Neville's parental rights bill both passed, over the objections of the Democrats on the committee, the teachers unions, and the PTA! When these bills reach the Senate floor they should elicit some significant discussion. I trust all parents around the state will pay attention to the arguments and judge their elected representatives accordingly.


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February 1, 2015


1. Audit of the Exchange Passes Senate

2. Day Care Regulations

3. Educational Tax Credits
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1. This past week SB-19, to allow the State Auditor to conduct a full performance audit of the Colorado Health Care Exchange unanimously passed the Senate. Another bill, SB-52, to require the exchange to get approval from the legislature before they grant their employees any more large bonuses also passed the Senate, with bipartisan approval. Both bills are now in the hands of the House.

2. The Denver Post ran a story on my bill deregulating child care centers for less than ten children, SB-70, including the following statement which I gave to them:

"We are licensing child care out of existence in far too many corners of the state," said Lundberg, who also is chairman of the Senate's Health and Human Services Committee, which will consider the legislation. "My alternative says there is an elegant solution to this bureaucratic problem, and it recognizes that smaller facilities are much better served when we stay out of the way and stop driving people out of business."

The story, which did not favor the bill, went on to talk about 24 children who have died in licensed day care centers in Colorado in the past seven years, as an argument against the bill. I find that argument curious, as they are citing events in licensed facilities, not unlicensed ones. They cited no evidence of a problem in unlicensed facilities. I have been surveying operators of day care programs, both licensed and unlicensed. There is quite a bit of frustration with the licensing requirements and the cost it puts on providers, and ultimately parents.

A significant reason often cited for licensing is the required background check, which can provide some information, but not nearly as much as we might think it does. A troubling fact on background checks was brought up last week concerning another bill, regulating sports organizations. One witness cited Justice Department statistics that indicated 98% of all rapes do not end up in a conviction. Therefore it follows that 98% of those perpetrators will never show up on a background check...

The reality is that the current licensing system is not working well. There are many day care homes which are not licensed, often for very legitimate reasons. I believe smaller facilities, and the people of Colorado are much better served if we stay out of the way.

3. My educational tax credit bill (SB-45) was rescheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee this coming week. I am looking forward to a healthy discussion, and a reasonable chance of getting the bill out of committee and eventually on the Senate floor for a full debate and vote (something we have not been able to accomplish for many years now).

This past week was School Choice Week. SB-45 would be a great step forward in affirming school choice by positively encouraging parents to pick the best educational format for their children, be it a public, private, or home school.

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January 25, 2015


1. Audit of the Exchange

2. Freedom, Justice, and Dr. King

3. Article V in Wyoming

4. Educational Tax Credits
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1. In the Senate Health and Human Services Committee (HHS), which I now chair, we passed a bill (SB-19) to allow the State Auditor to conduct a full performance audit of the Colorado Health Care Exchange. With so many questions still swirling around the conduct of the exchange, this audit should help point out how this now over $200,000,000 program was rolled out. At the same committee meeting we also passed a bill (SB-52) to require the exchange to get approval from the legislature before they grant their employees any more large bonuses.

2. I sponsored a resolution honoring Dr. Martin Luther King (HJR-1005) on Tuesday in the Senate. This gave the senate the opportunity to have a lengthy discussion on Dr. King's legacy. I focused on his commitment to freedom and justice, based on the Biblical principles about which he generously spoke and wrote. For the resolution I and several other senators quoted several passages from his essay: Letter from Birmingham Jail.

Here is a sample of the words we quoted from Dr. King :"Was not Jesus an extremist for love: 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.' Was not Amos an extremist for justice: 'Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream.' Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: 'I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.' Was not Martin Luther an extremist: 'Here I STAND; I cannot do otherwise, so help me, God.' And John Bunyan: 'I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.' And Abraham Lincoln: 'This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.' And Thomas Jefferson: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be? Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?"


3. On Wednesday, after the senate action was done for the day, I went up to Cheyenne for the evening to help encourage Wyoming legislators concerning a resolution calling for an Article V balanced budget amendment (BBA) convention. Ohio Governor John Kasich visited the Wyoming statehouse on Thursday for the same purpose. On Friday the Wyoming House Revenue Committee approved the measure, passing its first, and one of its most difficult hurdles for a Wyoming BBA resolution.

24 states have already passed a BBA resolution (including Colorado in the late 1970's). Wyoming is one of a dozen states targeted to pass the resolution this year, which would surpass the constitutional requirement of 34 states. This could be a pivitol year in reestablishing the balance of power between the states and the Federal government.

4. On this coming Thursday, January 29, my educational tax credit bill (SB-45) will be heard in the Senate Education Committee. I am looking forward to a healthy discussion, and a reasonable chance of getting the bill out of committee and eventually on the Senate floor for a full debate and vote (something we have not been able to accomplish for many years now).

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January 18, 2015


1. Speeches and more Speeches

2. Colorado Health Exchange Report

3. Upcoming Bills
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1. During the first full week of the 2015 session much of the time is spent in the formalities of setting up the new legislative assembly and inaugurating the new term for the governor and other statewide elected officers (Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of State, and Attorney General). This process included the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, (including speeches from the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, the Lieutenant Governor and the Governor) the Governor's state of the state address on Thursday and a speech from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on Friday.

The speeches at these events can give us a hint of the the tone and expectations for the coming session. At the innaguration most of the speeches promised cooperation and harmony, which is a laudable goal, but the realities of two distinct agendas for the two parties will strain that cooperative spirit very soon.

Often a governor's inaugural speech contains clear specifics, but this year there was little to be learned from him. He did remind us twice that the state now issues same-sex marriage licenses (a matter he has been actively promoting since he began as governor four years ago). He also spoke of the conflict in the state constitution concerning fiscal matters, that being the requirement for continual support of public education and the limits on state spending in TABOR. Even these observations were not very illuminating, for he stopped short of actually condemning TABOR, or admitting that the constitutional requirement for increasing public school funding is now quite minimal.

In the state of the state address on Thursday the governor again gave us very few specifics. In this speech he first apologized for the Sand Creek Massacre (which occurred in November of 1864), called for a statewide system of bike and hiking trails and again called for changing TABOR, claiming that "Amendment 23 demands more new money than we can possibly expect to have two years from now." I find this to be a greatly exaggerated statement as Amendment 23 (school finance) at this time only requires education funding to increase at the level of inflation, essentially on a per pupil basis. With prudent planning in other areas this is a very manageable cost.

2. On Thursday I chaired a joint health committee meeting where we heard reports from several state programs. The most notable was the report from the health exchange. Since they began, almost four years ago, I have had a difficult time getting accurate information on basic points, such as: how many have you signed up for medical insurance? In 2014 they told us 115,000 actually purchased their insurance through the exchange and paid at least one month of premiums. At that time (last fall) they could not, however, provide for me the number of who continued to pay their premiums through the year.

At their report this past week they said "150,000 Coloradans signed up for coverage at peak." Sounds like their 115,000 was far short of the reality, right? Wrong, the 150,000 number apparently is not who got coverage, but something much less, like maybe those who filled out the forms, but nearly a third of them never saw any coverage at all. I publicly scolded them for such misleading data and continue to wait for a straightforward, factual report from them.

3. Many bills have now been introduced, including my educational tax credit bill (SB-45) and my deregulation of small day care centers of less than ten children (SB-70).

Other bills of interest include:
Parent's Bill of Rights (SB-77),
Repeal Health Exchange (HB-1066), of which I am the Senate sponsor,
Repeal Ammo Magazine Ban (1009), and
Repeal Gun Transfer Background Check (HB-1050).

Few bills have had their first public hearing but it will not be long before we have a much better picture on how the legislature will handle these important issues. For more information on all of the bills introduced go to the legislative list of bills: http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2015A/csl.nsf/BillFoldersAll?OpenFrameSet.


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January 9, 2015

The 2015 legislative session began this week with the swearing in ceremonies on Wednesday, January 7. With the exception of the opening speeches and initial "pre-file" bills, most matters of policy have yet to surface.
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The remarkable change for this year is the shift of power in the Senate. The Democrat control of the past ten years is now over, with my party (Republican) now holding a slim 18-17 vote majority. Consequently I have been elected by my caucus as assistant majority leader and I was appointed to serve as chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee and vice-chairman of the Judiciary Committee. I continue to serve as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee of Colorado (www.RSCC.us).

This change is huge. No longer can the Democrats ram through radical election laws, more Obamacare policies, gun control bills, tax and fee increases, new programs and regulations, and the list goes on...

And we can now put forward good ideas that will at least get a fair hearing and a vote on the senate floor. My first bill is a good example: SB-45 is concerning educational tax credits, encouraging home and private schools, while saving the state a significant amount of money.

The opening day speeches were also quite telling. The new senate minority leader (Morgan Carroll - Democrat) bragged about all of the great programs they had put in place in previous years, how prosperous the state now was, and (ironically) how we needed to put more programs in place (read more taxes) to help all of the Colorado citizens who were still in desperate need of prosperity.

Senate president Bill Cadman spoke of building relationships, a little about his family, supporting businesses by getting rid of unnecissary regulations, and retiring the state's excess TABOR revenues to the people. Everyone in the room clapped for these commonsence points, except for returning the excess funds to the people. On that point all Republicans clapped. All Democrats sat on their hands.

We are a split legislature, with the Democrats still in control of the House, so there is more work to be done before we can expect significant change in Colorado's policies, but for now I am enjoying the progress we have made.

It will be an interesting session and I will try to give you a report at least every week for this 120 day session.
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