Morgan Liddick: There are more important things than tanning beds …
Looked down the hill lately? I wouldn’t. It’s ugly. “Both Ways Bill” has just succeeded in annoying both business and labor over the Union Shop bill, and the antics of the Legislature remind one of the old joke about a bad restaurant: “Waiter, the food here is poisonous. And the servings are tiny …”Let’s begin with the evisceration of the 60-year-old Labor Peace Bill. The Democrats’ HB1072 is a neat piece of legalized extortion, rammed through the Legislature in near-record time. Fortunately for common sense, your wallet and business development in Colorado, it fell victim to Governor Ritter’s veto pen. But before you heave that sigh of relief … It wasn’t that he disagreed with the bill’s contents. No. His veto statement indicated that he thought the bill good, and that he supported it. The Governor was simply nonplussed at the unseemly speed and glee with which the Democrat majority paid their debt to organized labor for its support in the last election. Such obvious truckling flies in the face of all those campaign promises of comity and moderation made to a Colorado business community too credulous to live.
Instead, best to go a little slower in unfolding the New Order. After all, measured and silent strangulation is just as effective a way to deal with the unruly opposition as cudgels and pistols in full public view. And it allows you to smile to the gallery while you do it. Expect, therefore, a son-of-1072 after a “decent interval” passes. Say, two weeks. Expect some show of permitting the Republicans to have their say, except when they propose real changes. Expect the bill to pass again, and for it to be signed. After all, the Democrats have debts, so damn the consequences.And don’t fret, HB 1072 isn’t the only gag in the show. Despite the slowest start ever, the Legislature will produce some other howlers in the 80-odd days left to it. You will probably witness an attempt to mandate “prevailing wages” for state-funded construction work, to divert more of your taxes to road-and-bridge repair and other projects. Expect some fancy footwork with Ref C money to cover that cost. But even that might not be enough. A proliferation of public employee unions may be spawned by proposed legislation calling for collective bargaining, and if that occurs count on increased salaries for state and municipal workers. You can guess the rest.The legislature may also propose a nearly $1 billion bond issue, to pay for the “deficit” in spending for higher education (Note: Isn’t this one of the things Ref C was supposed to take care of, forever?).
Indications are that these bonds will be paid off through raising and otherwise tinkering with the state’s oil and gas severance tax; good as long as energy companies continue to drill Colorado like a psychotic dentist, but when the mantra becomes “Stop drilling in environmentally sensitive areas,” well, someone’s going to have to pay for those bonds. Guess who? And let’s not forget the Legislature’s nod to the tinfoil hat brigade, otherwise known as Senate Bill 46. This bizarre offering pledges Colorado to agree with other states to adopt “An Agreement Among the States to Elect the President of the United States by Popular Vote.” In other words, Colorado’s Presidential Electors are going to be selected not by the citizens of Longmont or Salida, but by people in Los Angeles and New York. This bill also raises the question of whether anyone in the Capitol has actually read the Constitution. I would guess no, since it directly violates Article one, Section 10, Paragraph 3. Brilliant work, folks.At least these bills have to do with significant issues, rather than regulating a minor’s use of tanning beds, setting criteria for athletic trainers (30 pages on that), or finding that representing a school district in truancy hearings doesn’t constitute the practice of law. Thanks for clearing that last bit up, by the way. I know I was losing sleep over it. Then there’s my absolute favorite, HB 1006, which doubles the penalty for any moving violation if it occurs while the driver is “distracted.” Since the definition of “distracted” includes drinking coffee, you better take the cupholders out of the car right now. They could be evidence of criminal behavior, you scofflaw.
And let’s not forget HB 1050, governing whose flags can and cannot be flown when, where and how in public buildings, including schools. I suppose one should be happy the Legislature is concerning itself with flags, trainers and truancy. It limits the time they have to meddle in important issues, like dismantling a labor law which has served Colorado well for 60 years. It’s just that I’m concerned about bad behavior by the Tanning Bed Police.Summit County resident Morgan Liddick pens a Tuesday column. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, comment on this column at http://www.summitdaily.com.
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