Lawmakers want to lower age for serving in Legislature
DENVER – Rep. Michael Garcia believes if 21-year-olds can serve in the military and pay taxes, they should be allowed to serve in the Legislature and vote on those issues.Garcia, a Democrat from Aurora, has introduced a measure (House Concurrent Resolution 1002) that would ask voters to lower the age to be a state lawmaker from 25 to 21. The House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee will take up that proposal on Monday.”All adults pay taxes equally, yet we say to one group of adults they can serve in the General Assembly and to another group they can’t serve and make public policy. I think that’s unfair because they can join the National Guard, but they can’t come down and vote on the National Guard,” Garcia said.Garcia said it’s a debate that has been simmering since the Vietnam War, when lawmakers questioned inequities for people who can fight and die for their country, but not enjoy some of the benefits, men who are now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.”This should have been resolved 30 years ago, but it’s never too late to do the right thing,” he said.Garcia said age is not a measure of maturity and voters are smart enough to decide who deserves to represent them in the Legislature.He also is getting a lot of support.House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, said he agrees with Garcia and said he has even signed on as a co-sponsor.”I think if you’re old enough to vote and serve in the military, you should at least have the opportunity to serve in the Legislature,” said May.Other issues coming up this week:- The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to consider a proposal (House Bill 1302) to increase the state’s “rainy day” fund on Tuesday. The sponsor, Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, has rejected attempts by Republicans to amend his bill to require a supermajority to take money out of the fund, saying it was meaningless because lawmakers could simply change state statutes and take the money anyway. He said the Legislature has not raided the current fund and there was no reason to believe future legislatures would be different.- The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday will take up a proposal (House Bill 1272) that would create a cold case team in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation after the House killed a similar that would have paid for it by slashing the number of prosecutors in the state’s death-penalty unit. Supporters said the money could be better used for a cold-case unit to pursue the 1,200 unsolved murders in Colorado, but opponents saw it as an attempt to reduce options for death penalty cases.
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