Printed letters, Feb. 17, 2010

Sentinel wrong

on King’s bills

The Daily Sentinel editorial staff is dead wrong on the bills I am running this year.

They misrepresent House Bill 1334, which changes the public indecency laws in a way that most people would understand. It is unfortunate that the Sentinel editorial staff didn’t take the time to understand the bill, or even to call me to become educated on what it intends to do. This common-sense legislation removes people convicted of crimes such as public urination from the ranks of registered sex offenders. Having people convicted of non-sexually related offenses, such as public urination, simply overburdens the sex-offender system and dilutes the importance of tracking sex offenders. In addition, true sex offenders would now be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor instead of just a petty offense.

As a further clarification to the Sentinel editorial staff, I had already selected my five bills for the year. The Public Defender’s office requested this legislation and the speaker of the House granted an additional bill request, as he also thought it was valuable.

The Sentinel editorial staff also did not do their homework on the two pieces of school safety legislation that I sponsored. I worked diligently with the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Fire Safety to partner on the K-12 School Safety Bill, and together we eliminated any fiscal impact. They were able to absorb all the additional functions within their department. So the charge that this legislation would have added to school budgets that have already been cut is simply inaccurate. In the state that endured the tragedy of Columbine, to say that it is not a priority to provide our children and teachers the skills to keep themselves alive is misguided. The drills can also be tornado drills on the Eastern Plains, avalanche drills in mountain districts, or flash-flood drills in low-lying areas. The legislation was flexible enough to allow the schools to do what was best for them.

The Higher Education Safety bill is equally necessary. When you send your kids to college, you want to know that they are getting the information on how their particular campus handles critical incidents. I’m not sure why the Sentinel finds this unimportant.

The “political crosshairs” are always on the point man, seldom on those timid souls in the shadows. I stand tall and accept that responsibility for the people I serve.

I talk to the constituents of House District 54 every day. I know from their feedback that the legislation I run has broad support in the Grand Valley. Can the Sentinel editorial staff point to any information, other than their own opinions, that this legislation is not serving my constituents’ needs? If so I encourage them to take up the flag and run against me.

REP. STEVE KING

House District 54

Grand Junction

Liquor bill and Bradford assist small businesses

Small-business people like myself own over 70 percent of Colorado’s convenience stores. When the state Legislature repealed the prohibition of liquor sales on Sunday, we suffered a significant revenue loss in beer sales.

Recently, House Bill 1186 won preliminary approval. This bill gives small convenience-store owners the right to sell full-strength beer, thereby allowing us once again to compete for the consumers business.

By limiting the size of the convenience stores affected by the bill to 5,000 square feet or smaller, it prevents big-box grocers and retailers from jumping in and unfairly monopolizing liquor sales all together. A layer of local control is added by requiring convenience store owners to apply for an application and meet a number of criteria.

This bill is free-market oriented and rebalances the playing field inadvertently thrown off by the “Sunday sales bill.” What’s more, it combines the strength of small, independent liquor store and convenience stores owners to defend ourselves against mega-box, out-of-state monopolies. This is why small-business champion Rep. Laura Bradford supports its full passage and should be applauded for her diligent work in establishing balance between liquor store and convenience store owners.

It’s an unfortunate tangent that some liquor store owners opposed to HB 1186 have mounted unjust attacks against Rep. Bradford. What she gets that eludes them is that this bill corrects a mistake that unfairly penalized convenience stores in the first place, and it returns free-market competition to the benefit of Colorado consumers. Moreover, it’s simply ludicrous to label Rep. Bradford as a small-business opponent when her record clearly demonstrates her fierce advocacy for small-business interests.

As an independent, small-business owner I’d like to advance the support of HB 1186, applaud the selfless work of Rep. Laura Bradford, and encourage all Coloradans to read, understand and support this legislation.

C. PAUL BROWN

Monument Oil Co.

Grand Junction



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