Of nine bills I introduced in the House this year, five have become law – all of these five passed with strong bipartisan support. That’s a pretty good record for a first-year legislator in a minority party. I attribute my legislative success to the fact that I tried to keep an open mind and work across the aisle. The Uniform Military and Overseas Voter Act, HB-1219, eases the process of getting ballots to military and overseas voters to protect this precious right. Governor Hickenlooper signed into law on May 13, 2011. Criminal Record Sealing, HB-1203, requires that companies that sell information about criminal records clear their own records when a judge orders the official record sealed. It was signed in March and will take effect in August.The Allen Rose Tow Truck Driver Safety Act, SB-260, gives tow truck drivers tools to protect themselves from life-threatening accidents. The Mechanics Lien Bond Release Act, SB-264, resolves technicalities with managing ownership of improved property. The other bill I passed before is HB-1032 for Restorative Justice.I was disappointed by the loss of three other important bills I introduced that would have helped businesses expand and create good-paying jobs for Coloradans. “Buy Colorado,” HB-1129 would have helped local and veteran-owned businesses by encouraging the state government to hire work from Colorado, from veteran-owned companies and from American companies when it contracts with private industry.
Another good jobs bill I introduced is HB-1266, which would have helped entrepreneurs trying to start new business in Colorado to get seed funds by creating a private securities market connecting local investors to local businesses. I worked with experienced entrepreneurs who were Republicans, independents and Democrats, to come up with ideas for identifying and filling the biggest gap in our struggling jobs market - the lack of credit for small businesses to hire. But the bill was killed 6-7 in committee anyway. I am continuing to work on a plan for to promote these concepts.
HB-1132, “On-Bill Weatherization,” would have allowed utility companies to make low-interest loans to homeowners for them to build energy-saving structural improvements, and then the homeowners could repay the loan on the bill itself from their reduced utility costs. This was a win-win bill designed to save energy, help the environment, lower costs for home owners and put construction workers and contractors to work.
All three of these bills died on party-line votes in committees, even though I said I was willing to hear any suggestion or compromise from colleagues to get their support for the jobs bills. Yes, party politics do exist - yet I am reminded what we share in common when I think of what we did pass, with help from both sides of the aisle. I have many Republican collagues in the legislature I consider to be friends.