Wright’s first effort 
not a high priority

State Rep. Jared Wright, R-Fruita, won election to his House seat last year in part by promising voters he would attack issues related to jobs and the economy. His first legislative effort didn’t exactly meet that standard.

House Bill 1045, which died in the House on Thursday, would have prohibited state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal authorities in the arrest and detention of American terrorism suspects.

An amendment would have exempted the Colorado National Guard from the provisions of the bill, but that amendment was a reason one version of the bill was killed. A second version, without the National Guard amendment, also died on the House floor.

It’s not that Wright’s bill was entirely without merit. There have been questions raised by both liberals and conservatives about how the federal government deals with terrorism suspects under laws passed in the wake of 9/11. But we think there are better ways to address those issues in Washington, D.C.

Our main gripe with Wright is that the first legislation he introduced didn’t address any of the issues so immediately important to Colorado and Mesa County.

After all, it’s not as if there was a clamor from law enforcement agencies across the state to free them from the oppressive obligation of having to work with federal authorities to protect Coloradans from terrorists.

Wright has attempted to address issues of greater importance to his constituents and the people of this state with other bills he has introduced or cosponsored.

He has, for instance, been involved with the effort to eliminate the business personal property tax. He’s introduced bills to expand disclosure requirements for state and local public administrators, even if they are in their posts temporarily.

In addition, Wright has introduced bills to streamline the appellate court process and to set new penalties for the crime of human trafficking, especially as it applies to children.

Also, he has been a co-sponsor of legislation to allow concealed weapons in schools, to offer a two-year severance-tax holiday for new oil and gas wells and to adopt Jessica’s Law for people who sexually prey on children.

Few of those measures have gone far, to date.

It’s difficult for a freshman lawmaker in the minority party to get bills grinding through the legislative machinery, especially if they involve topics not shared by the majority.

Furthermore, Wright’s first bill was less frivolous than some. Do we really need a state law to prohibit the docking of dairy cow’s tails, as one lawmaker proposed?

But now that HB 1045 has been deep-sixed, we hope that Wright will devote his time and energy to matters of more importance to the Western Slope and his constituents.


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