King Condemns Party Line Vote to Kill Exchange Audit Bill

(Denver) – A bill sponsored by Senator Steve King (R-Grand Junction) that would audit taxpayer-funded Connect for Health Colorado was killed in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee today on a 4-3 party line vote. 

In the House, not only did the same bill pass on a bipartisan 60-1 vote, but Democratic Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino voted in favor of the bill. 

“I am unbelievably disappointed in the Democratic majority’s decision to turn their backs on the concept of transparency and best practices in government by voting on a party line to kill this bill,” said Senator Steve King. “There has been bipartisan support for auditing Connect for Health Colorado from day one because it promotes good government and transparency.” 

On Monday, the Denver Post reported that Connect for Health Colorado had spent $46,000 on “exchange-branded packets of sunscreen and lip balm" and an additional $9,627 to rent an RV. 

In February, the Denver Post revealed that a Director at Connect for Health Colorado had been indicted in Montana for stealing from a non-profit housing organization. 

Connect for Health Colorado has signed up about 100,000 fewer Coloradans in the exchange than they originally predicted. 

HB 1257 was sponsored by Senator Steve King and Senator David Balmer (R-Centennial) in the Senate. Senator King is also the Chairman of the Legislative Audit Committee. 

The bill was sponsored by Representative Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) and Representative Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs) in the House. 

To read the full version of HB 1257, click here

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What's Your ObamaCare Story?

Have you had your insurance policy cancelled due to ObamaCare? Are your premiums skyrocketing? Is there anything Senate Republicans can do to help?

More than 337,000 of our fellow Coloradans have had their insurance policies cancelled because of the radical laws passed by Democrats in Denver and Washington, DC. As we reported this week, an additional 1,755 policies in Colorado have been cancelled in just the last few weeks.

When Democrats were passing these laws, they assured Coloradans that if they liked their healthcare plans, they could keep them. Democrats also said that if you like your doctor, you can keep the same doctor. Unfortunately for Coloradans, both of those promises turned out to be not true.

We want to hear from you directly. Comment below and let us know how ObamaCare has impacted your life and the life of your family.

Together, we can shed light on the disaster that is ObamaCare.

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Lambert Makes His Support for the Budget Bill Contingent on the Appropriations Process

Senator Kent Lambert (R-Colorado Springs): “I want to sponsor it this year. My biggest concern is we have a lot of appropriations bills that are hanging out in both appropriations committees. So, unless we do the due diligence in Appropriations to nick some of those down to fit within the budget targets, then we will not be in balance. So in the future, I hope we get assurances that will actually be the case because if this were, at the end of the day not in balance, I would have to withdraw my sponsorship.”

...

Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver): Alright. Representative Gerou?

Representative Cheri Gerou (R-Evergreen): Thank you Madam Chair. So Senator Lambert, just so, and thank you for staying on the bill, I really do appreciate that, I get lonely. When you’re looking for your clarification of the bills that are out there hanging out there are actually beyond balancing, are you thinking that you, is there a time frame or are you just asking that they be eliminated? I just want to be clear on what your request is.

Rep. Duran: Senator Lambert.

Sen. Lambert: Thank you. Well, we have not really processed those bills out of Appropriation. I hope we have due diligence to keep that within the targets that we’ve set here in the long bill. Otherwise we’re going to have serious problems finishing out the fiscal year.

Rep. Duran: Well, and thank you Senator Lambert for staying on the bill too. I think we all put a lot of good work into this and so I want to thank the committee for all of your hard work and hours and hours of conversations and so forth. And it’s great to know that we’re unified in this endeavor. So with that, I think we are pretty much done. And the one thing I will say is that there is no doubt that Appropriations is the new kill committee (laughs).”

Audio begins at 30:56.

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1,755 More Insurance Policies Cancelled in Colorado Due to ObamaCare

(Denver) – On Friday, February 21, the Colorado Department of Insurance (DOI) responded to a request from Senate Republicans asking for a monthly report of the number of insurance policies cancelled in Colorado due to ObamaCare. Senate Republicans also requested that DOI detail this information by county. 

Today, the Department of Insurance issued a letter to Senate Republicans detailing that 1,755 more insurance policies in Colorado have been cancelled due to ObamaCare in addition to the 335,486 cancellations already reported by DOI. 

Upon receiving the new information provided by DOI, Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs) responded, “Thousands of Colorado families who were already struggling in this lagging economy will now also have to deal with having their insurance policy cancelled due to ObamaCare. Democrats promised Coloradans that if they like their healthcare plan they can keep it – clearly this isn’t the case. Colorado’s Senate Republicans will continue to fight for more transparency in government so that our citizens can see the impact laws passed out of Denver and Washington have on their lives.” 

Read the letter to Senate Republicans on policy cancellations from DOI here.

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Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman Issues Statement on Recall Bill

Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman issued the following statement today on the Democrats' recall bill: 

“The changes in elections that Democrats are demanding require a change to the Constitution and therefore need approval from the People of Colorado. It’s understandable that after losing two recall elections and witnessing the defeat of a historic billion dollar tax increase Democrats would prefer not to take any more issues to the people, but the Constitution is clear - the People of Colorado must vote on any changes in this area. This proposal, combined with their lawsuit to eliminate the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights should be of serious concern for everyone.” 

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Bill to Restrain Government Surveillance Passes the Senate

(Denver) – The Colorado Senate today passed legislation to restrain the state government from intruding on the privacy of Coloradans. HB-1152 received unanimous support from the Senate Republican Caucus and all 18 Democrats also followed Republican leadership on this issue and voted for the bill. 

HB-1152 requires government agencies to delete footage from passive surveillance cameras after one year, unless the video can be used in a civil, labor, administrative or felony criminal proceeding, in which case it can be stored for up to three years. 

“Now more than ever, we need to protect the privacy of Coloradans,” said Senator Mark Scheffel (R-Parker). “With the rapid proliferation of surveillance technology and data collection across the country, it’s important that Coloradans feel confident state government isn’t unnecessarily storing their personal information. HB-1152 achieves the goal of protecting personal privacy while still allowing law enforcement to utilize stored footage in appropriate circumstances.” 

Senator Mark Scheffel (R-Parker) is the Senate sponsor of HB-1152. The bill was sponsored by Representative Polly Lawrence (R-Littleton) in the House. The bill will now be sent back to the House for consideration of Senate amendments. 

To read HB-1152 in its entirety, click here.

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Democrats reject bill to allow prisons to revoke inmates' earned time

Democrats have rejected a proposal to give Colorado prisons the power to revoke inmates' earned time, saying the measure raised safety concerns and discouraged good behavior.

A Senate committee rejected the bill on a 3-2 party-line vote Wednesday. The proposal sought to change current law, which says certain earned time cannot be revoked.

Republicans brought the bill as another response to last year's slaying of Department of Corrections Director Tom Clements. The suspect in that case, Evan Ebel, received 115 days of earned time during his nearly eight years in prison despite several citations for violent offenses.

"I saw it as a public safety issue to keep offenders in prison. If they break the rules or commit a crime of violence, they can lose all their earned time," said Sen. Bernie Herpin, R-Colorado Springs, a sponsor of the bill.

The measure easily cleared the House with bipartisan support on a 57-6 vote. But Senate Democrats were concerned the bill could incite gang fights to bait certain inmates to lose their earned time, and take away an incentive for inmates to behave.

The bill sought to let the Corrections Department revoke earned time "as it determines for any reason."

Click here to continue reading in the Denver Post. 

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Legislative Day unforgettable

A sophomore at Swallows Charter Academy shadowed Pueblo’s State Senator, George Rivera, last month as part of the 15th annual Legislative Day at the Colorado State Capitol.

Legislative Day 2014 at the Capitol: Celebrating Excellence, sponsored by the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented, gives participating students a chance to shadow a legislator or legislative aide for a day as the Colorado General Assembly pursues its governmental process.

Walker Perry from Swallows Charter Academy learned about the opportunity from his social studies teacher, Tori Carter, and applied to participate.

Approximately 250 eighth to 12th graders from throughout Colorado took part in the activities for Legislative Day.

“By attending, I had the privilege of shadowing a state legislator for the day to learn the inner workings of how the Capitol runs and to observe the daily tasks, duties and activities of the state legislators,” Perry said.

Click here to continue reading in The Pueblo West View.

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King Praises Passage of Medina Alert Bill

A bill to establish a Medina Alert program in Colorado passed the Senate Judiciary Committee today with a bipartisan and unanimous vote. 

The bill - sponsored by Senator Steve King (R-Grand Junction) in the Senate and Representative Kathleen Conti (R-Littleton) in the House - allows the Department of Public Safety to establish a program that will alert Coloradans when a hit and run accident occurs that involves serious bodily injury or death and law enforcement needs assistance in locating the suspect's vehicle. 

“I consider protecting the safety of Coloradans my most sacred duty as a Senator and I believe this bill will save lives,” said Senator Steve King (R-Grand Junction). “The more information we can make available to the public in the case of hit and run accidents, the better chance we have of apprehending the offender. I urge the Senate to pass this bill and further enhance the safety of all Coloradans.” 

The bill will now be sent to the Senate for a full vote. 

To read HB-1191, click here

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Cadman Responds To TABOR Court Ruling

(Denver) – Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs) issued the following statement today in response to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling on a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

“Thanks to the ‘Taxpayer Bill of Rights,’ Colorado citizens are protected from the Taxaholics in Denver. Unfortunately, the Democrats believe taxation is their right and their duty; they are suing Colorado citizens so they can exercise this power.
“I am extremely disappointed that the lawsuit instigated by Senator Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) aimed at removing TABOR, will advance after Friday's ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals."
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