Colorado State Representative
Created on Monday, 24 April 2017 20:40
April 20, 2017 - It is finally here, the 100th day of the 1st Session of the 71st Colorado General Assembly. I would like to thank all of my constituents in House District 47 for allowing me to represent them in the State Legislature, many accomplishments have been made this Session, and I look forward to discussing them.
Folk’s, majorities matter, as I have said time and time again. That one seat that is held in the Senate has been critical for preserving the freedoms and liberties of the people of Colorado, and I hope that we can keep that majority and gain a Republican majority in the next election cycle in the House. In the meantime, that one seat majority is what we have, that one seat is what has stopped unchecked, reckless spending. With regard to this year’s budget, I am highly disappointed in what has been placed in front of us. This is the largest budget that the taxpayers of Colorado have seen. We DO NOT have a revenue problem, we have a prioritization and spending problem. We have a Governor and Democrat members of the State Legislature who think a raise in their own salaries is a higher priority than the education of our children. We have a Governor and Democrat members of the State Legislature who believe in giving the Judicial Department 3.2 million dollars for furnishings, rather than prioritizing that money to go to rural hospitals. Coloradan’s, it is time to hold your legislatures accountable!
The following are a list of the bills, resolutions, and amendments that I sponsored and cosponsored in these first 100 days. They directly resolve problems and concerns from constituents within House District 47, as well as all Coloradans statewide. While there is a brief description of each bill listed, more information can always be found on the Colorado General Assembly website.
Bills, Amendments and Joint Resolutions
SB17-200 – “The bill creates the 'Rewarding Excellence With Annual Redirected Dollars Act' or 'REWARD Act' (program) to award excellence funding to school districts that achieve a level of success in student performance above that of their peer districts. The bill defines 'school district' to include school districts and the state charter school institute (institute).” Competition is a key aspect of making each and every school district the very best it can be for our children.
HJR17-1006 – “The U.S.S. Pueblo, named after the city of Pueblo, Colorado, was attacked and captured by the North Korean military on January 23, 1968. Although it is still commissioned by the U.S. Navy, currently it is being held captive in a museum in North Korea. HJR15-1008 calls for the return of the U.S.S. Pueblo and designates January 23 as “U.S.S. Pueblo Day” in honor of its brave crew.” The U.S.S. Pueblo should come home.
HB17-1172 – “The bill requires a court to sentence a person convicted of a class 2 felony for human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude to the department of corrections for a term of at least the minimum of the presumptive range for a class 2 felony, which is 8 years.” Sex trafficking will not be tolerated in Colorado, and it is one of the most heinous crimes occurring.
HB17-1166 – “The bill adds public convenience and the provision of reasonable access to and from public highways and adjoining businesses to the existing purposes for which the department of transportation (CDOT) and local governments are authorized to regulate access to public highways and specifically requires the provision of reasonable access to and from public highways and adjoining businesses to be considered in the development by CDOT of a state highway access code (code). The bill also specifies that if failure to grant a variance from the code would deny reasonable access to or from a business adjoining a divided state highway and the far side of the divided state highway, the denial may amount to a taking that requires just compensation under constitutional and statutory provisions pertaining to eminent domain.” This has been an issue since I took office in 2013, and while it did not pass, it certainly got the attention of CDOT ‘brass’ who took a tongue lashing for their complete lack of action.
HB17-1150 – “Current law allows a court to grant bail after a person is convicted, pending sentencing or appeal; except that no bail is allowed for persons convicted of certain specific crimes. To this list of crimes the bill adds a second or subsequent conviction for stalking that occurs within 7 years after the date of a prior offense for which the person was convicted; stalking when there was a protection order, injunction, or condition of bond, probation, or parole or any other court order in effect that protected the victim from the person; and any offense that includes an act of domestic violence if the defendant at the time of sentencing has been previously convicted of three or more prior offenses that included an act of domestic violence and that were separately brought and tried and arising out of separate criminal episodes.” Quite simply, this bill will save lives.
HB17-1104 – “For the purpose of determining the state income tax liability of an individual, income earned as a direct result of winning a medal while competing for the United States of America at the olympic games is excluded from state taxable income; except that such income is not excluded:
For a taxpayer whose federal adjusted gross income exceeds $1,000,000 or if the taxpayer's filing status is married filing separately, $500,000; or
If the income is already excluded from federal taxable income; except that the monetary value of a medal itself is excluded from state taxable income even if it has already been excluded from federal taxable income.
'Income earned as a direct result of winning a medal' is defined to include both the monetary value of the medal itself and any monetary award given for winning the medal from the United States Olympic committee or any sport-specific national governing body or paralympic sports organization and to exclude endorsement income and nonmonetary benefits. 'Olympic games' is defined to include the summer and winter Olympic Games and the summer and winter Paralympic games.” We should not be taxing American heroes on ‘trophies’ for proudly representing us as premier athletes.
HB17-1043 – “The secretary of state currently charges uniform commercial code (UCC) filing fees. Of this fee, $3 is transferred for deposit in the Colorado identity theft and financial fraud cash fund to support activities of the Colorado fraud investigators unit. Legislation enacted in 2014 increased the portion of the UCC filing fee that is transferred to the Colorado identity theft and financial fraud cash fund from $3 to $4, which increase is scheduled to repeal in 2017. The bill extends the scheduled repeal date for the increased fee, and for an associated report to the general assembly, until 2018.” This bill has proven to be a great deterrent to criminals seeking to steal identities and commit fraud.
SB17-254 Amendment J.129 – I strongly opposed this amendment to the budget, an amendment that would have hindered the ability for the Colorado State Fair to remain in Pueblo. I am proud to say that this amendment failed and that the State Fair will stay in Pueblo.
SB17-254 Amendment J.049 – I wholeheartedly supported this amendment to the Colorado State Budget. This amendment will increase funding, taken from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund to be used by the Department of Human Services for Increasing Access to Effective Substance Use Disorder Services.
SB17-254 Amendment J.096 – I was honored to support this amendment that was presented by Representative Kimmi Lewis. This amendment would have reduced cash funds in the Department of Regulatory Agencies and would have removed spending authority in the Division of Real Estate from the Conservation Easement Tax Credit Certificate Review Fund and the Conservation Easement Holder Certification Fund by $346,905. This amendment to the budget failed by one vote.
Unfortunately, not much has changed out of my Democratic colleagues in the House, they continue to treat the budget as a political pawn, and they are holding it hostage, all at the expense of Colorado tax payers. Coloradan’s do not need more regulation and taxes placed on their shoulders, they need relief. Colorado’s business community needs relief so that our state will be seen as a business friendly environment. Thankfully, we were able to hold on to our one seat majority in the State Senate. This one seat has brought some balance to our state legislature and has led to more moderation and compromise. I’ll continue to fight the good fight on behalf of the good people I represent and this great State of Colorado. Majorities do matter. Stay tuned for various bills I sponsored or cosponsored that are headed to the Governor’s desk for signing.
Created on Friday, 14 April 2017 15:04
There is an opioid crisis in Colorado and across the Nation. Colorado, and especially Southern Colorado, has seen an increase in use and abuse of opioids. Traditionally, when we hear the word opioid we think of the “junkie”, but that’s not where it ends or begins.
With the rise in use and abuse, we see a rise in crime and opioid-related deaths. The use and abuse can be attributed to many things including cost, over prescribing, and especially mental illness. As with other drugs that are abused, there are all of the negatives that follow, and our communities are seeing it firsthand. Our law enforcement agencies are overwhelmed, our hospitals must cope, and we see a rise in crime rates. All of which beg the question, ‘what is being done’?
I am so pleased that the conversations on this issue are finally being had, it’s an issue that impacts us all, and that conversation is finally being had in a bipartisan fashion at the Colorado State Capitol this Session. It’s meaningful and good work that is being done on behalf of the people of Colorado in a way that will make a difference.
I’m thankful to Representative Deneya Esgar and Senator Leroy Garcia for SB17-074. This bill creates the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) expansion pilot program, administered by the University Of Colorado College of Nursing. The pilot program will provide grants to community and office based practices, behavioral health organizations, and substance abuse treatment organizations. So when you hear of partisan bickering at the Capitol, rest assured, your Pueblo Delegation can and will come together when and where we can have a positive impact on issues like opioid abuse in Southern Colorado, and especially Pueblo County.
Of course, there is a cost associated with this type of program, and it’s not cheap, but what price do we place on the health and safety of our communities? The financing for this pilot program will come from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund, and while there is no data that I’ve seen that definitively states the legalization of marijuana in Colorado has caused the rise in opioid abuse, this seems like the perfect place to take monies to fund this pilot program. Treatment beats incarceration where costs are concerned, and the taxpayer of Colorado can and will benefit from this legislation. I’m especially pleased, that this strategy will address mental illness, an issue dear to my heart.
So while we may battle about the budget or the size of government, we come together when it matters, and I for one will be signing on as a cosponsor of this legislation, and I thank my colleagues for their thorough and thoughtful presentation of this bill. There are a few other bills that seek to curve opioid abuse, but this bill really hits at the heart of the matter. Treatment works, and when it works well, we see a stronger and healthier community, and that is what we are all looking for. Thank you Representative Esgar and Senator Garcia – I stand with you on this legislation, and I look forward to its passage and signing by our Governor. This, quite simply, is good work that offers a solution that we can agree upon.
Created on Friday, 07 April 2017 20:07
"This is the most egregious budget I've seen in five years of service to the people of Colorado. There is no possible way I'd vote yes on what has been presented, and every taxpayer who voted and sent a legislator to do their jobs should be equally infuriated, and the idea of presenting a tax hike to the voters under the veil of improvements to infrastructure is equally appalling. I'll be a "No" on the budget, as it is an abysmal attempt to distract voters from what needs to happen, and that is budget prioritization. That hasn't happened, and Democrats in House Leadership should be ashamed of what they have offered."
Created on Friday, 07 April 2017 20:05
"Despite the disastrous budget that has been put forth I fought for Amendment 49, this amendment addresses a serious problem that affects my district and Southern Colorado, specifically, that is opioid addiction.
With the passage of this Amendment, it will offer to help treat those who are struggling with addiction. This Amendment not only helps save the lives of individuals, but it will save communities as a whole."
Created on Wednesday, 08 March 2017 06:40
State Representative Navarro and State Representative Carver passed HB1172 out of the House Judiciary Committee today. The bill requires a court to sentence a person convicted of a class 2 felony for human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude to the department of corrections for a term of at least the minimum of the presumptive range for a class 2 felony, which is 8 years.
Human trafficking is an issue that impacts all of our communities, specifically our most vulnerable victims, and that is our children. There has been a 35% jump in reported cases of human trafficking collected through a hotline that has been established. 120 hotline contacts were made in 2016, and that is one nearly every three days. Firmer, and more stringent punishments can most certainly bring the number of victims down.
State Representative Navarro stated, “None of us want to see our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, or anyone for that matter used as sexual slaves, and this bill takes Colorado one step in the right direction. According to various sources, human trafficking is happening right under our noses, and the criminals involved in this type of activity deserve to be sentenced and punished for, what I consider, a sickening epidemic.”
Created on Thursday, 02 March 2017 20:11
House Bill 1150 — titled “No Bail for Stalking and Domestic Violence Offenders” — is being spearheaded by Rep. Clarice Navarro, a Republican from southeast Colorado. It is scheduled to go before the House Judiciary Committee, and Navarro says she doesn’t see any opposition to the legislation.