Author: Renee Andersen

Douglas County Republican Officer Candidates

On February 5th the DCGOP Central Committee will vote for officers to lead the DCGOP, District Captains for each of the 23 district, and bonus members to represent Douglas County at the state party meeting in March. The bonus members will represent the State, the 18th Judicial District, the 4th Congressional District , and the 6th Congressional District.


*Information for each officer candidate

Stephen Allen for Chair
Fellow Douglas County Republicans:

My name is Stephen Allen and over the last four years I have had the honor of serving as your Secretary. Today, I ask for your support to be your next Douglas County Republicans (DCR) Party Chairman.

For two terms I have served you in the Office of Secretary. In 2015, within a few short months after my first election, I faced an unprecedented situation with the resignation of three officers. As Secretary, to keep the party going during that difficult time, I organized and presided over the DCR Central Committee meeting which elected entirely new officers.

I have also maintained the neutrality required of officers for contested races prior to party primaries and I continue to have positive and productive working relationships with all elected officials and party leaders who serve on the DCR Central Committee.

As your Secretary for the last four years, I have also organized caucuses and county assemblies, and directly assisted with the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts both in 2016 and again in 2018. I will bring this working knowledge and organizational experience to the Office of Chairman.

As your Chairman, I will be committed to meeting the challenges and bringing about needed results. I will continue to work to develop programs and strategies to further increase our GOTV effectiveness, including: (1) recruit and train more volunteers to successfully implement our GOTV plan; (2) expand our communications and social media to engage and inform voters; and (3) review and analyze available technology resources to better enhance our strategic efforts.

If elected to serve as your Chairman, I will continue to work along side you to promote our conservative values here in Douglas County and elect Republican leaders that will advance our Republican principles throughout our state and nation. By working together we will continue to advance the cause of freedom and liberty in our generation.

I ask for your vote for Chairman at the Douglas County Republicans Central Committee organizational meeting on February 5, 2019, at 7:00p.m. at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Event Center.

Kindest Regards,
Stephen Allen, Secretary
Douglas County Republicans
Candidate for Chairman of the Douglas County Republicans

Alexandra harden for 2nd Vice Chair
Dear Douglas County Central Committee;

My name is Alexandra Harden, and I would like to serve as the 2nd Vice Chair of Events for the Douglas County Republican Party.  

I have been a resident of Douglas County, and a member of the DCGOP for over 10 years.   I have served as a Precinct Person, Assistant District Captain, and Current District Captain over that time. 

I have planned and organized the 2016 and 2017 Lincoln Day Dinner and Auction, and organized the Auction for several years prior.    I have also assisted in Organizing Events and Auctions for several other organizations in Douglas County as well.    

I would like to put this experience and knowledge to work organizing the event calendar for the Party, and to work with the Executive and Central Committee’s to improve our current events and bring new ideas and events to the County Party to help bring in and excite new Republican Volunteers.

I would humbly ask for your vote for 2nd Vice Chair of Events at the Douglas County Republican Central Committee Organizational Meeting on February 5, 2019, at 7:00p.m. at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Event Center.  

Thank You,
Alexandra Harden

Francine Thompson for Secretary
Good evening, Douglas County Central Committee!

My name is Franceen Thompson and I ask you for the honor of serving as your Secretary of the Douglas County Republican Party. 

Over the years I have served the party both as a precinct person and as a district captain.  I have also assisted each of our three previous secretaries–Craig Steiner, Andy Barnett, and Stephen Allen–by taking minutes and helping to organize Central Committee Meetings and Assemblies. 

By assisting our past secretaries, I gained practical experience in each stage of caucus from packet preparation to entering vote totals into the State Party System after caucus. 

Through these volunteer opportunities I have developed the knowledge and understanding necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of Secretary.

I ask for your vote for Secretary at the Douglas County Republican Central Committee Organizational Meeting on February 5, 2019, at 7:00p.m. at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Event Center.

Sincerely,
Franceen Thompson


Meghann Silverthorn for Treasurer
Good evening, Douglas County Republican Central Committee!

My name is Meghann Silverthorn, and I hope to earn your support to be your next Douglas County Republican Party Treasurer. 

I’ve been a Douglas County resident since 2006, and have been attending Douglas County Republican meetings and events since 2008. From 2009-2017 I served on your Douglas County School District Board of Education, the last two years as board president. I have served as both precinct person and district captain. I’ve worked on various campaigns, issues, and events in Colorado for 20 years. On a personal level, my engineering and analytical background, as well as extensive experience with management, budgeting, and finance, give me confidence that I can serve you efficiently so that the Party can concentrate on what is important: electing Republicans and promoting the Party platform.

In addition to regular volunteerism, I have expertise with numbers and data analysis that would serve the Party well as we expand our reach with events, outreach, and efforts to grow the Party leading into the critical 2019 and 2020 elections. As we all know, effective elections begin with voter contact. I have the skills to manage the Party’s resources as we work to maximize this contact, and to keep the Executive Committee well informed with reports.

It would be a true pleasure to work with the other officers, the Executive Committee, the Central Committee, and all Douglas County Republicans to keep Douglas County RED. Please reach out to me anytime with questions, comments, or ideas. It would be my honor to earn your vote at the Douglas County Republican Central Committee Organizational Meeting on February 5, 7:00p.m. at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Event Center. 

Thank you!
Meghann Silverthorn
(720) 839-4494
meghann@meghannsilverthorn.com

  DCGOP Information Regarding Bonus Members

Douglas County Republicans:

This is a reminder that at the DCGOP Organizational Meeting on February 5, in addition to party officers and district captains, we will be electing bonus members to the State, 4th and 6th Congressional, and 18th Judicial Central Committees.

An individual may be elected as a bonus member to more than one of these committees. State bonus members will have a vote in the elections for state party chairman, vice-chair, and secretary.

If you’d like to run for bonus member, email bonusmember@dcgop.org with your name, address, and whether you’d like to run for state bonus member, 18th Judicial bonus member, 4th Congressional bonus member, and/or 6th Congressional bonus member. The deadline to email us your intent to run is Sunday, January 27th.

At the DCGOP Organizational meeting, candidates for bonus member will have an opportunity to briefly address the Central Committee before ballots are cast, and you are encouraged to arrive at the meeting early if you wish to mingle and do some face-to-face campaigning.

Bonus Member Candidates will also have an opportunity to briefly address the Executive Committee at the next Executive Committee meeting this Saturday, January 12th. Time and location information for the meeting is available on our website at DCGOP.ORG under the Calendar.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at stephen.allen@dcgop.org.

Regards, Stephen Allen, Secretary Douglas County Republicans


The 2019 Colorado General Assembly –

Something New to Know Everyday

Explained by Senator Chris Holbert – Colorado Senate District 30

Day 1 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session.

Members-elect have been sworn in. The Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, and Senate President Pro-Tem have been elected by the members of their respective chambers.

In the House, the Speaker Pro-Tempore is appointed by the Speaker rather than elected by the members.

The two “pro-tem” positions serve as sort of backup quarterbacks. The positions actually have no authority… unless the Speaker or President aren’t able to be in that position “for a time.” At that point, the “pro-tem” steps in for the presiding officer. And, when the presiding officer returns, their backup steps aside and the “starter” goes back into the game.

2019 opening day speech by Colorado Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert

2019 opening day speech by Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville

Day 2 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 118 days remain… and no more.

In 1988, the People of Colorado voted to amend our state constitution to limit the amount of time that the General Assembly can meet in general session each year to no more than 120 days.

While it is common for states to limit general session length, many states allow their Governor, legislature, or some combination of the two, to extend session time. Not so here in Colorado.

One thing that is certain is that this general session will end at or before midnight, Friday, May 3, the one hundred and twentieth day.

There cannot be a one hundred and twenty-first day of this session. Even via a special session, there can be no additional time added to a Colorado general session.

At or before midnight of the one hundred and twentieth day, our crystal carriage of law-making authority will turn back into a pumpkin and the 100 citizen state legislators will be citizens again, just like everyone else.

Why? Because, the People of Colorado wanted it that way.

Day 3 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 117 days remain.

The Rule of 33, 18, and 1.

In Colorado, our state constitution specifies that a simple majority of members elected to a chamber is required to pass a bill. There are 65 members of the state House of Representatives and there are 35 state Senators.

There is also one Governor.

33 is a simple majority of the House.
18 is a simple majority of the Senate.

A bill cannot become law without the support of at least 33 Representatives, 18 Senators, and 1 Governor.

One legislator cannot make a law. One committee in the legislature cannot make a law. One chamber, the House or Senate, cannot make a law. One Governor cannot make a law.

Nope, in Colorado, in order for a bill to pass into law, 33 or more Representatives, plus 18 or more Senators must agree on that bill and, if the Governor doesn’t veto that bill, then it becomes law.

In Colorado, our state constitution also specifies that quorum requirements are also based on those simple majority numbers.

Day 4 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 116 days remain.

First, Second, and Third Reading: the Evolution of Bill to Law

In the Colorado General Assembly, bills are drafted in the Office of Legislative Legal Services (“OLLS”), which is located on the basement level of the Capitol. When a bill is ready for introduction, it is sent upstairs to the second floor to either the House or Senate chamber based on whether a Representative or Senator requested the bill to be drafted.

In our bi-cameral state legislature, a bill must pass through both chambers and not receive a veto from the Governor in order to become law. The process in each chamber, House and Senate, involves three “Readings” on the floor of that chamber.

First Reading – the bill is introduced into that chamber. The title, sponsor name(s), and a brief description of the bill is read across the desk for the First time. The bill is assigned a bill number, and to at least one Committee of Reference. In the House, the Speaker decides to which Committee(s) of Reference the bill is assigned and when each bill is read across the desk (First Reading, Introduced). In the Senate, the President makes those decisions.

Second Reading – the bill has passed through at least one Committee of Reference and has been referred to the Committee of the Whole (“COW”) of that chamber. The title, sponsor name(s), and a brief description of the bill is read across the desk for the Second time.

Note that, if a bill fails to receive at least a simple majority of members present of a Committee of Reference, then that bill would “die” (Postponed Indefinitely) in that committee. If a bill passes through each Committee of Reference, then it is routed back to the floor of that chamber for Second Reading. All members of that chamber (Committee of the Whole) have opportunity to debate and amend the bill during Second Reading.

Third Reading – the bill has passed Second Reading, generally on a voice vote, and is now eligible to receive the final recorded vote by the members of that chamber. The title, sponsor name(s), and a brief description of the bill is read across the desk for the Third time.

If a bill passes Third Reading in the first chamber, then it moves to the second chamber where this process repeats from the beginning, while maintaining the same Bill Number.
If, at any point in the process, a bill fails to receive at least a simple majority of support, then that bill fails and is “dead” (Postponed indefinitely).

Third Reading is the final, recorded, vote on each bill that makes it that far. All Third Reading votes are permanently recorded and available online via the General Assembly web site. Those votes are also recorded in the Journal of that chamber and permanently recorded for public record.

Note on each bill introduced here in Colorado, in the upper right hand corner of the bill, for the word “Introduced” to identify the version of that bill as it existed at the very beginning of the process. If a bill is amended on Second Reading in the first chamber, then a new “Engrossed” version of that bill will be posted at the General Assembly web site. If the second chamber amends that bill on Second Reading, then the third version will be labeled as the “Re-engrossed” version of that bill.

And, finally, if a bill is approved by both chambers, that label transitions to “An Act” for consideration by the Governor.

Day 5 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 115 days remain.

Quorum Requirements: Why the Minority cannot “shut down the process” in Colorado.

Article V, Section 11, of the Colorado Constitution defines the quorum requirements for our state House and Senate as:

“A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members.”

Those words are why it is NOT POSSIBLE for a minority of legislators in either chamber to “shut down the process” in Colorado.

Yes, it is possible that the constitution of some other state might define quorum requirements differently, maybe as two-thirds (66%) of members elected. If so, then it could be possible for a minority, less than half, of the legislators to “shut down the process” by refusing to vote or not showing up.

Not only does the Colorado Constitution define quorum as a majority, one more than half, it also specifies that a smaller number than half can “compel the attendance of absent members.” The process of compelling other members to come to a chamber is referred to as a “call” of that chamber.

In Colorado, any member of either chamber can move a call of that chamber. Generally, a call is moved by the Majority Leader of that chamber. And, generally, a call is used to notify members who are scattered around the Capitol complex to come back to the chamber, that we’re ready to take up business on the floor of that chamber after standing in some recess waiting for something else to happen.

However, under our state Constitution, statutes, and legislative rules, answering a call is not optional. If necessary, the sergeants of that chamber and even the Colorado State Patrol can be dispatched to physically bring one or more members to that chamber. No joke, that can happen. And, if expenses are incurred in bringing a member back to that chamber, then that member gets to pay those costs. No joke.

So, when well-intentioned advocates point to a minority of members in some other state “shutting down the process” by refusing to vote and/or leaving that state and refusing to return, then what do we know? We know that, if such stories are true, then the state Constitution, statutes, and/or legislative rules of that state are different than those here in Colorado.

Yes, such action *might* have actually occurred in Texas, Wisconsin, or some other state. However, it ISN’T POSSIBLE here in Colorado. It WON’T work here because it CAN’T work here. Why? Because our state Constitution, statutes, and/or legislative rules don’t allow it to happen here.

Day 6 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 114 days remain.

Tomorrow, Thursday, the state House and Senate, along with members of the Executive and Judicial Branches of our state government, will meet in a joint session of the legislature to hear the “State of the State” from the governor. It is an opportunity for us to respect the Constitution and hear what his priorities are for the coming year.

Our constitutional republic relies on a separation of powers. The Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches of government each have specified powers, which are withheld from the other two Branches.

That’s what makes the “State of the State” address a special occasion. The three Branches are gathered together in one room, the People’s House, to hear from the person who was elected by the People to lead the Executive Branch of our state government.

Respecting the process of elections and the Separation of Powers doesn’t mean that we must or do agree. Rather, our structure of government, defined by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Colorado, honors the fact that we can and often do disagree.

Day 7 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 113 days remain.

State of the Judiciary

Tomorrow, Friday, members of the state House and Senate will meet in Joint Session to hear from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Colorado.

That speech is referred to as the “State of the Judiciary” and serves as a report, an update, to the Legislative Branch from the Judicial Branch of our state government.

It’s a helpful reminder and demonstration of the Separation of Powers that exists in the US and Colorado Constitutions. Our government isn’t one, monolithic entity. This nation and this state were founded on the concept of keeping the power to make law, administer the law, and adjudicate possible violations of the law separated.

Day 8 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 112 days remain.

Don’t live in the highs and the lows.

Serving in our state legislature can be stressful. In addition to the one hundred elected members, there are hundreds of lobbyists who represent thousands of clients, and millions of people who live in our state. To find disagreement among all those people is more a constant reality than rare exception.

One bit of advice that was shared with me years ago and which I now share regularly with others is that being mad or ecstatic about something in that flurry of activity is rarely helpful. And, specifically, just because you’re mad doesn’t mean you’re right.

The General Assembly is a place where most people learn to not live in the highs and lows of that experience. Rather, to find ways to be consistent and to let go of the temporary euphoria of a win and/or the temporary pain of a loss. As in life generally, it’s healthy to focus on what you can control and ignore or let go of the rest. Otherwise, the emotional rollercoaster of living from one high to the next low can become debilitating.

For everyone involved, my layperson citizen legislator advice is to know the constitutions, statutes, and legislative rules. Understand the process. Learn from your mistakes and avoid gloating over a victory. Be quick to forgive, especially with yourself. It will be a long journey to Friday, May 3. And, it’ll be here before you know it. 😉

As Lincoln once advised a general, “Make haste, slowly.” 🤔

Day 9 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 111 days remain.

Committees of Reference

Here in Colorado, our state Constitution REQUIRES that EVERY bill that is introduced in the state House or Senate MUST have a public hearing. Such hearings occur before a Committee of Reference, which are the committees of that chamber to which bills can be referred (Referred = Reference).

Each of those Committees of Reference is comprised of members of the Majority and Minority caucuses who have been assigned to those committees by their caucus leadership. Generally, those members become subject matter experts of the types of bill topics that are assigned to a given committee.

If you support or oppose a given bill in the Colorado legislative process, then keep in mind that you are not restricted to talking only to your state Representative and/or you state Senator. You’re also free to communicate with those legislators who will vote on that bill at the next step of the legislative process. Thus, it can be helpful to know who those legislators are.

The membership roster for each House and Senate Committee of Reference are listed at the General Assembly web site along with contact information for each of those members. The Calendar of a chamber will list when bills will be heard by a Committee of Reference, which should provide time to communicate your position to those members. Do so politely and concisely. More information is NOT better and you may want to ask “How will you vote?” so that YOU WILL KNOW.

Find Colorado General Assembly COMMITTEE Members HERE

Day 10 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 110 days remain.

The Reader

In Colorado, both chambers of our state legislature (House and Senate) employ a Reader who reads aloud various information at the direction of the Speaker of the House, Senate President, or chairman of the Committee of the Whole.

Our state Constitution authorizes a member to request a bill be read at length, which makes that a non-negotiable request, it must be done.

Parliamentary Procedure under Robert’s and/or Mason’s Rules of Order, embraces public disclosure or announcement of the matter at hand. Rather like a Town Crier, the Reader effectively announces “Hey, listen up, everybody, we’re going to consider this (bill, resolution, amendment, journal, report, etc.). Such out loud pronouncements help establish order and clarity during the legislative process.

Another reason why we have Readers is that, back in the day, there might have been members who couldn’t… um… read. Hopefully, that isn’t the case today.

Day 11 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 109 days remain.

Legislator License Plates

Back in 2014, I ran a bill to repeal the vague statute that authorized legislator license plates. In my opinion, there is no reason to have them. That bill did not pass. Another bill was later introduced and did pass, which improved the numbering of plates and the registration process used for legislator license plates.

While I used the plates for my first two or three years in the General Assembly, I haven’t since. Even with the new registration process with more accountable numbering and a better registration process, I see no reason to have them.

Whether you love them, hate them, or don’t care about Colorado legislator license plates, here are some facts about them so that you’ll know.

• Legislators drive their own vehicles

• Legislators pay their own auto insurance

• Legislators pay their own registration fees and must keep the registration current for their vehicle(s) using the regular license plates for each vehicle

• If a legislator wants to use the legislator plates numbered for the state House or Senate district that he/she represents, then he/she pays an additional ~$6 for the other two pieces of metal (plates)

• The legislator plates are now registered to a specific vehicle under that legislator’s name. The prior process didn’t include that information, which was worse.

• Toll road services need to be contacted to connect the legislator plates to any existing account, usually by noting the legislator plate number as a rental car associated with the account

• Legislator plates do not exempt the driver from receiving tickets… and many do receive parking tickets and/or tickets for moving violations

• The plate numbering system includes an “H” for House District or an “S” for Senate District, which eliminated 35 duplicate sets that existed prior to 2014

The bottom line for me is that anonymity is better than conspicuousness. They really are nothing more than suspicion-inducing, self-identifying decorations.

Day 12 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 108 days remain.

Each Legislator is Responsible for His/Her Own Votes

A fairly common misconception exists that leadership of a caucus or a caucus as a whole can actually tell a legislator how he/she must vote. “Whipping” votes takes place in Congress and probably other state legislatures, but not so much here in Colorado.

Why? Because the Colorado Constitution, in Article V, Section 22(a), prohibits caucus positions:

(1) No member or members of the general assembly shall require or commit themselves or any other member or members, through a vote in a party caucus or any other similar procedure, to vote in favor of or against any bill, appointment, veto, or other measure or issue pending or proposed to be introduced in the general assembly.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, a member or members of the general assembly may vote in party caucus on matters directly relating to the selection of officers of a party caucus and the selection of the leadership of the general assembly.

This simple truth is one reason why I encourage people to ask “How will you vote?” After a vote, it is effective to ask, “Why did you vote that way?” Remember: Here in Colorado, no one other than the individual legislator can be accountable for his/her votes.

Day 13 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 107 days remain.

House, Senate and Joint Rules

The Colorado Constitution stipulates that each chamber of the state legislature may make its own rules. Thus, there are separate rules for each chamber and, when at least a simple majority of both chambers agree, Joint Rules, which apply to both chambers.

It’s very important and empowering for members to learn the rules. Everything that we do in the legislature must be according to the rules. Unlike professional sports, there aren’t referees or umpires to blow a whistle and stop play if/when a violation of the rules occurs. Nope, it’s up to a member to throw a flag, to call attention to the violation. If one doesn’t know the rules, then it would be difficult to know if/when a violation might have occurred.

The Colorado House of Representatives operates under Robert’s Rules of Order unless a simple majority or more of that chamber adopt a rule specifically outside of Robert’s.

The Colorado Senate operates under Mason’s Rules of Order unless a simple majority or more of that chamber adopt a rule specifically outside of Mason’s.

No, Mason’s isn’t associated with the Masons organization. As with the Rules written by Mr. Robert’s, the rules that were written by Mr. Mason are named after him.

For more information about Robert’s Rules: https://robertsrules.org

For more about Mason’s Rules:
http://www.ncsl.org/…/masons-manual-for-legislative-bodies.…

For more information about the House, Senate, and Joint Rules of the Colorado General Assembly:

Day 14 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 106 days remain.

Lobbyists

Years ago, the People of Colorado voted to amend our state constitution in order to change how lobbyists lobby in Colorado. Today, I describe lobbyists in Colorado as First Amendment practitioners. Why? Because, they can’t do what most people assume they do.

The following is my layperson, citizen legislator, perceptive. Since I’m not an attorney, I cannot provide legal advice or advise anyone as to his or her rights or responsibilities under the law. If you have questions of a legal nature or about some specific scenario, then please consult with an attorney.

OK… now, back to my layperson perspective…

In Colorado, legislators are prohibited from accepting ANYTHING OF VALUE from a lobbyist. Why? Because the People of Colorado wanted it that way. Years ago, voters approved Amendment 41, which put that prohibition in our state constitution.

Thus, here in Colorado, legislators can accept no more than $59 in value (anything, not just cash) cumulative per year from non-lobbyists, people. If you’re not a lobbyist, then you can buy a cup of coffee, a meal, a ticket to an event, or other thing of value… and an elected official in Colorado could accept such… so long as the cumulative total value during any one-year rolling period does not exceed $59 (current figure, changes with inflation). A lobbyist can’t spend one cent on such things for a legislator, zero, nada, none.

From my layperson perspective, there are two types of lobbyists here in Colorado. First, registered professional lobbyists are those who are paid, compensated, while communicating with one or more elected officials. Second, registered volunteer lobbyists are those who receive reimbursement of some expense(s) related to communicating with one or more elected officials.

In Colorado, being a lobbyist doesn’t necessarily mean that you represent one or more people or organizations similar to how an attorney might have clients. Nope, it’s really more about whether you get paid to conduct such communications with/to elected officials or… receive reimbursement of expenses related to such work.

In Colorado, lobbyists convey information, explain the positions held by those whom they represent, and they count votes. They ask legislators “how will you vote?” They keep track of those answers. They encourage, persuade, and plead for votes in support of the positions for which they advocate. That’s why I think of lobbyists in Colorado as First Amendment practitioners.

Keep in mind that, if you have a position on a bill that is before the Colorado General Assembly, then one or more lobbyists are probably working in support of your position. One common assumption is that all lobbyists are somehow against We the People. Nope, on any given bill, there will almost always be lobbyists working on your side of the issue.

Here in Colorado, you can see which lobbyists and clients are working to support, oppose, or to monitor each bill. Anyone can see that information by searching the website of the Colorado Secretary of State. Such disclosure is REQUIRED of each lobbyist in Colorado.

So, who is getting paid or reimbursed expenses to support or oppose YOUR position on a given bill? Just go look…. you might discover that you have more friends than you know.

Make it a great day!

Day 15 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 105 days remain.

State Liaisons

Yesterday, we discussed how lobbyists lobby in Colorado. Today, we’ll turn to a group of people who are similar to, but not really the same, as lobbyists.

Here in Colorado, there are at least six groups of people who advocate for or against bills that are before our state legislature:

1) Registered Professional Lobbyists – People who are paid to advocate for or against a bill, as discussed yesterday.

2) State Liaisons – People who work for a department or division of the state government, in either the Executive or Judicial Branch, who advocate for or against a bill.

3) Volunteer Lobbyists – People who receive reimbursement of expenses related to advocating for or against a bill.

4) Members of the General Assembly who talk to each other, debate for or against, offer amendments, and vote on bills.

5) Members of the Press who write news stories and/or editorials about bills.

6) Anyone else, including you, who advocates for or against a bill.

Those who are in the first two categories must register with the Colorado Secretary of State and must report their lobbying (advocacy) activities. Those reports are available to the public via the online system managed by the Secretary of State.

Volunteer lobbyists are required to register with the Chief Clerk of the House.

Those who are in the first three categories are allowed to give/spend zero dollars with/for legislators. We legislators are PROHIBITED by the state Constitution, statute, and rule from receiving anything of value from any of those people. Not one penny.

Those who are in the last three categories are allowed to give/spend up to $59 per year with/for a legislator. However, members of the press don’t do that because of their own professional standards. They are allowed to by law, but they don’t.

Those in all six categories are allowed to contribute up to $400 of their personal funds to a candidate’s campaign committee. However, those who are in the first three categories are prohibited from making any such contribution when the General Assembly is in session. Those who are in the last three categories can contribute during a session, but not lobbyists, state liaisons, political committees, or small donor committees.

A state liaison can’t buy me lunch, a cup of coffee, or anything else. If you fit into the sixth category, then you could wine and dine a Colorado state legislator to the tune of $59 per year cumulatively. But, any of the three categories of “lobbyist” can spend ZERO.

Thus, a state liaison is an employee of a department or division of state government who is registered to advocate for or against bills that pertain to the department or division, who reports all such activity conducted on behalf of his/her employer, who cannot give anything of value to a legislator, and who represents an agency that does not have a PAC or other means of making organized political contributions.

It’s understandable when taxpayers voice frustration that they might be paying for “government lobbyists” to lobby their own government. But, that isn’t really an accurate description a state liaison.

From my experience, state liaisons don’t attempt to persuade legislators to vote “Yes” or “No” on bills. As with actual lobbyists, here in Colorado, state liaisons CANNOT use money to influence legislators. That isn’t just illegal, it’s actually unconstitutional.

What a state liaison does do is to serve as a subject matter expert for his/her employer. State liaisons answer questions for legislators and provide information to us. They work mostly with the House and Senate Committees of Reference that have legislative oversight authority over their employer agency.

Please note that my intention here is to explain what is true, not to persuade you to like or dislike the truth. Make it a great day!

Day 16 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 104 days remain.

Who Drafts All Those Bills?

In Colorado, all bills are drafted by non-partisan attorneys who work in the Office of Legislative Legal Services (“OLLS”). No bill can be introduced in the Colorado General Assembly unless it has been written (drafted) by a member of the OLLS staff.

Every bill includes an “OLLS Number,” which appears in the upper left corner of a bill along with the name of the drafter who wrote the bill. An OLLS Number is assigned to each draft bill as soon as a legislator pulls a bill title. The assigned OLLS number is then associated with the Bill Number if/when that bill is actually introduced (read across the desk) of the chamber of introduction, either the House or Senate.

Pulling a bill title starts the process of drafting a bill under the Single Subject requirement found in our state Constitution. Once I tell the drafter to “pull a title,” everything in that draft bill MUST fit under the title. On THAT point, the drafter WILL offer me his/her advice if he/she believes that I am wandering outside of the single subject requirement. Why? Because he/she is acting as my attorney. His/her fiduciary responsibility is to his/her client, which means the legislator(s) who are the prime sponsor(s) of that draft bill.

OLLS keeps track in their database of how many bill titles for each session are requested (pulled) by each legislator. If a legislator attempts to pull more than five titles for any one session, then the drafter would not begin to write that next draft bill unless and until he/she receives written authorization of a late bill request from leadership. In the Senate, such authorization would come from any two of the following: the Senate President, Senate Majority Leader, or Senate Minority Leader. In the House, such authorization would come from any two of the following: the Speaker of the House, House Majority Leader, or House Minority Leader.

OLLS is organized into teams of drafters who specialize in various areas of law based on the Title structure of state statute. For example, there’s a team of attorney drafters who specialize in Title 18, which is criminal law in Colorado. Take a look at the OLLS page at the General Assembly web site. Under the “About” tab, you’ll find a Staff Directory, which lists those drafting teams based on subject matter.

Any member of the General Assembly can contact OLLS, explain what he/she is working on, and then be connected with a member of the appropriate subject matter team in order to begin the drafting process. Working under attorney-client privilege, the legislator(s) can grant access to anyone during that drafting process OR the legislator(s) can restrict access to that drafting effort to only the legislator and the attorney drafter.

The bill drafter (attorney) is also the person who would draft amendments to that bill if it is introduced. Unless that person is out-of-the-office during a committee hearing or some similar situation, all drafting (writing) involved with the text of that bill would be conducted by that one drafter.

It is important to note that, once a bill is introduced, then any member of a committee of reference that will hear that bill can request an amendment(s) to that bill. Then, if that bill heads to the floor of that chamber, then any member of that chamber can request an amendment(s) to that bill. All such requests are directed to the drafter associated with that bill unless he/she is out-of-the-office. In those situations, another member of the same statutory team would fill-in for the primary drafter.

Legislators can also give permission to non-legislators to work with the bill drafter during the drafting process or to craft amendments to a bill. A legislator can write “please draft one or more amendments to (Bill Number) for (Your Name Here)” on his/her state business card, give that card to someone, and then that person can take it to the bill drafter.

If I were to give you such a card, you could then take it to the drafter to get an amendment(s) drafted under my name and your direction. However, you couldn’t do that without permission being granted by at least one legislator.

Remember, a bill would need to be in a committee or on the floor of the chamber where that legislator serves before he/she could actually move that amendment to that bill. Then, if a simple majority or more of that committee or chamber vote in favor of that amendment, then it would pass and would add, remove, or change the words and numbers in that bill.

Finally, don’t contact bill drafters to lobby for or against a bill or amendment. As non-partisan staff, they CANNOT take positions for or against a bill or amendment. They are attorneys who do what their clients (legislators) ask them to do (write). They can’t take positions so they don’t and won’t.

Day 17 of the annual, 120-day, Colorado general session. 103 days remain.

The Colorado Channel

At the federal level, there is CSPAN. Here in Colorado, there is the Colorado Channel. Yep, you can watch and listen to the Colorado General Assembly live or by recordings that are permanently stored online.

If you subscribe to Comcast cable services in Colorado, then you can also tune to channel 165 and watch live and recorded proceedings from the floor of the state House and Senate chambers.

If you don’t subscribe to Comcast or, if you simply prefer, then you can watch and listen online via the General Assembly web site or directly through the Colorado Channel dot net

Video and audio is available for the two chambers, both for live feed when we’re on the floor and recorded sessions of prior floor work.

Audio is available for the House and Senate Committees of Reference and for year round Committees such as the Joint Budget Committee and the Legislative Audit Committee.

Pro Tip: if you click on a LIVE audio or video link and nothing happens, it’s most likely that chamber or committee is not in session. That could be at a given time during the day and during the 120-day session… or it could be during the eight months each year when the Colorado General Assembly is not convened… when our 100 part-time, citizen legislators are citizens, just like everybody else.

Links to recorded sessions should load and begin playing, but live sessions can only produce audio or video when that chamber or committee have come to order.

A special thank you goes to the folks at Comcast who donate access to one of their channels for the House and Senate video feed.

Civics – The Electoral College

What is the electoral college, and how does it work?

The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors who cast votes to decide the President and Vice-President of the United States. When voters go to the polls election day, they choose which candidate receives their state’s electors.

There are 3,141 counties in the United States.

Trump won 3,084 of them.
Clinton won 57.

There are 62 counties in New York State.

Trump won 46 of them.
Clinton won 16.

Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 1.5 million votes.

In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond & Queens) Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump. (Clinton only won 4 of these counties; Trump won Richmond)

Therefore these 5 counties alone, more than accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country.

These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles.
The United States is comprised of 3, 797,000 square miles.

When you have a country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it would be ludicrous to even suggest that the vote of those who inhabit a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election.

Large, densely populated Democrat cities (NYC, Chicago, LA, etc) don’t and shouldn’t speak for the rest of our country.



Ultimately, Trump received 304 electoral votes and Clinton garnered 227, while Colin Powell won three, and John Kasich, Ron Paul, Bernie Sanders, and Faith Spotted Eagle each received one. Trump is the fifth person in U.S. history to become president while losing the nationwide popular vote.

Learn More:

The Electoral College: Misunderstood, Unappreciated
US electoral College

Civics – Congress and the Colorado General Assembly

 

Words Mean Things:   Congress

It is common for people to refer to members of the Colorado General Assembly as “Congressman” or ‘Congresswoman.” Please note that is incorrect. In American government, the word “Congress” refers to the bi-cameral federal legislature.

There are 435 elected voting members of the lower chamber of Congress, the United States House of Representatives. There are also an assortment of elected, non-voting members of the US House who represent Washington, DC; Guam; the US Virgin Islands; and, a few other US territories.

There are 100 elected voting members of the upper chamber of Congress, the United States Senate. In addition, the Vice-President of the United States serves as President of the Senate and who, upon a tie vote, casts a tie-breaking vote as the 101st member.

The bi-cameral Colorado state legislature is referred to as the “Colorado General Assembly.”

There are 65 elected voting members of the lower chamber of our General Assembly, the Colorado House of Representatives. There are 35 members of the upper chamber of our General Assembly, the Colorado Senate.

The state legislature is never accurately referred to as “state Congress.” Why? Because “Congress” refers to our federal legislature. Calling the General Assembly “Congress” is contradictory. That literally means a state federal legislature, which doesn’t exist.

Using the word “Congress” to refer to a state legislature is like calling the chief executive of the federal government “Mayor of the United States.” Nope. That person is the President of the United States. Or, calling the Governor of Colorado the “President of Colorado.” Nope, that person is the Governor.

President, Governor, and Mayor are all titles assigned to the chief executive of a certain level of government, but those titles are not interchangeable. They actually designate the level of government: federal, state, or municipal. Much the same, the labels Congress, General Assembly, and City/Town Council refer to elected policy making bodies at the federal, state, and municipal levels of government.

In some states, the legislature might be called the “House of Delegates” and members referred to as “delegates.” In other states, the titles of “Assemblyman” and “Assemblywomen” are used. Here in Colorado, we use the titles “Representative” and “Senator” to address the members of our bi-cameral state legislature, the Colorado General Assembly.

At the federal level, all members of the US House and US Senate are members of Congress. The word “Congress” doesn’t mean the lower chamber, it refers to both chambers.

However, members of the US House generally like the titles of “Congressman” or “Congresswoman” as opposed to “Representative.” Why? Because it equalizes them with the members of the US Senate. Meanwhile, members of the US Senate generally prefer the title of “Senator” rather than “Congressman” or “Congresswoman.” Why? Because it sets them apart from the other 435 members of Congress.

It’s common to hear reference to “Congressmen and Senators.” That’s OK… but it technically means all 535 members of Congress and… for some reason… mentioning the 100 members of the upper chamber a second time.

Oh, and you can call me, “Chris” because I work so hard at just being me.

Written by Senator Chris Holbert, a member of the Colorado General Assembly, Senate District 30.

 

 

Civics – Quorum and Passage Requirements

Quorum and Passage Requirements
Explained by State Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert Senate District 30

We’ll likely revisit this topic many times over the next two years, but for now, here’s the text of Colorado General Assembly, Senate Rule 2, Quorum:

(a) A majority of all Senators elected shall constitute a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, or for less than a day, and compel the attendance of absent members.

 

House Rule 5 mirrors Senate Rule 2. A simple majority, one more than half the number of all members of that chamber, satisfies the quorum requirement. A minority of members can COMPEL (call, require, force) the other members to return to their respective chamber.

 

Democrats will hold 41 of the 65 state House seats. Thirty-three seats is a simple majority of our state House. If 33 or more of the pending 41 Democrats are present, then a quorum will have been established.

 

Democrats will hold 19 of the 35 state Senate seats. Eighteen seats is a simple majority of our state Senate. If 18 or more of the pending 19 Democrats are present, then a quorum will have been established.

 

The same numbers (33 or more in the House/18 or more in the Senate) are required to pass a bill.

 

There is no filibuster in our state legislature. Members may speak at length, but they MUST speak to the bill. They/we cannot read the Bible or a phone book… unless the bill happens to be about such publications.

 

These are cold, hard, facts about our state legislature, which could only be changed by a vote of a simple majority or more of the members of a respective chamber… which isn’t going to happen. The majority isn’t going to relinquish such power.

 

Please keep these facts in mind and be prepared to share this information with others. I’m sure that there will be opportunities for folks to demand that something be done to stop certain bills that will be considered during the 2019 and 2020 general sessions.

 

As you advocate for or against legislation over the next two years, keep in mind that one party can establish quorum and pass bills completely on its own. In those cases, the only thing that can stop them is them.

 

Colorado General Assembly Math 101:

If five House members aren’t there on a given day, then the number doesn’t decrease to fifty percent, plus one of those in attendance. The number remains fifty percent, plus one of all members ELECTED.

33 or more in the House.

18 or more in the Senate

It doesn’t matter how many aren’t there in the House, it only matters if 33 or more vote “Yes” on that bill.

It doesn’t matter how many aren’t there in the Senate, it only matters if 18 or more vote “Yes” on that bill.

 

 

Civics – First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion in two clauses:

The “establishment” clause, which prohibits the government from establishing an official church,
The “free exercise” clause that allows people to worship as they please.

FREEDOMS OF SPEECH AND THE PRESS

What is free speech? The definition is not easy, and the courts have identified three types of free speech, each protected at a different level:

  • Pure speech is the verbal expression of thoughts and opinions before a voluntary audience. The courts have generally provided strong protection of pure speech from government regulation.
  • Speech-plus involves actions, such as demonstrating or protesting, as well as words. Speech-plus is not generally protected as strictly as is pure speech, because actions can be physically dangerous. The courts have ruled that demonstrators may not obstruct traffic, endanger public safety, or trespass illegally.
  • Symbolic speech technically involves no speech at all, but it involves symbols that the courts have judged to be forms of free expression. Symbolic actions such as wearing black armbands in school and draft-card burning fit this category. Symbolic speech is highly controversial, and as a rule, the courts have sometimes considered it to be beyond the limits of free speech. However, the Supreme Court did uphold the right of an individual to burn an American flag in the 1989 Texas vs. Johnson decision.

Many of the same principles that apply to freedom of speech apply to the press, but one with special meaning for the press is prior restraint. The courts have ruled that the government may not censor information before it is written and published, except in the most extreme cases of national security.
The “clear and present danger” test is a basic principle for deciding the limits of free speech. It was set by the famous Schenck v. the United States case from World War I. Antiwar activist Charles Schenck was arrested for sending leaflets to prospective army draftees encouraging them to ignore their draft notices. The United States claimed that Schenck threatened national security, and the justices agreed. The principle was established that free speech would not be protected if an individual were a “clear and present danger” to United States security.
US History.org /gov

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND PETITION

Freedom of assembly and petition are closely related to freedom of speech, and have been protected in similar ways. Former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote, “Peaceable assembly for lawful discussion cannot be made a crime.” Generally, that point of view has prevailed. Freedom of assembly has to be balanced with other people’s rights if it disrupts public order, traffic flow, freedom to go about normal business or peace and quiet. Usually, a group must apply for a permit, but a government must grant a permit provided that officials have the means to prevent major disruptions.
US History.org /gov

Learn More:
Newseum Institutes First Amendment Center

The First Amendment Doesn’t Guarantee You the Rights You think It Does

Ducksters US Government for Kids

US Courts

 

CIVICS – The Role of the Three Branches of Government- by Ben Sasse, Senator from Nebraska

This should be played in every classroom, every year. Ben Sasse, Republican Senator from Nebraska, explains. Watch now.

A wonderful lesson on how our 3 branches of government are supposed to work and the failure of our Legislative Branch to do their job, therefore ceding more authority to the Executive and Judicial.

The Origin of Identity Politics –

Speakeasy Ideas Tom Krannawitter explains in this 10 minute YouTube video, the Origin of Identity Politics.


Thomas Krannawitter, Ph.D.

Description: Cutting edge, progressive social scientists a hundred years ago rejected the idea that all human beings possess the same, equal natural rights to their own person, property, and individual freedom. Instead, progressive academics borrowed from 19th Century European philosophy and held that different groups and races of people evolve at different rates, and therefore have different kinds of rights at different points in evolutionary time, depending on the political “capacity” they had demonstrated. This is the basis of what we call “identity politics” today, the view that different groups of people deserve different kinds of rights. It is the opposite of the idea that equal laws should offer equal protection for equal rights. That is why all free people should reject all laws that divide citizens into groups and offer certain perks and benefits to some at the expense of others. ~Thomas Krannawitter, Ph.D.

Socialized Healthcare in CO: Polis has a different plan for himself!!!

Read this article from Colorado Peak Politics. VOTE for WALKER STAPLETON

THIS WON’T HURT A BIT: Polis Owns Private Escape Hatch From Hellish Socialized Medicine Scheme

“While simultaneously trying to force Coloradans into a type of third-world socialized medicine scheme, Polis is investing in a cross-border escape hatch for rich people like him who can’t be bothered by death panels, months-long wait times for treatment, and care providers with the attitude of DMV workers.”

Jared Polis Bringing Universal Healthcare to Colorado, read the Aspen Times Article HERE

Medicaid Expansion

Who pays for all of this? … a question liberals don’t seem to ask.



Truly not what all the Obamacare supporters say its cracked up to be….

Check out these articles also:
Britain’s Inability to Handle Last Year’s Flu Season Shows Perils of Socialized Medicine from the Daily Signal.

UK’s Universal Healthcare is imploding – read more here From Forbes

 

The Declaration of Independence: Tom Krannawitter takes us on a deep dive into understanding this incredible document!

Would you like to learn more about our founding documents?

Dr. Krannawitter is now President of Speakeasy Ideas, combining a deep knowledge of political and economic history, an insatiable appetite for learning, and an extraordinary gift for teaching the great ideas that have fueled human progress.

Watch this 48 minute educational video SIA 101.1: Declaration of Independence Pt I
This is part 1 of 9 in the Speak Easy lecture series on the Political Science of the American Founding.

PRINT this handout to go along with the video for part 1.

You can find the additional 8 videos in the series on the Speak Easy Ideas website

Also-

Watch this 1 hour and 16 minute lesson from the CATO Institute-
CATO University 2016: Why the Declaration of Independence Was Right