If there’s one New Year’s resolution every adult in Colorado should make, it’s to pay more attention to what state and local governments are doing this year.
It takes some work to focus on these topics because you get so little information about them, while at the same time you get more information than you probably need on national issues — repeated every 20 minutes.
In the meantime, sneaky local politicians, overexcited do-gooders and social justice warriors are tearing through your pocketbook and personal liberties like a moth into a wool suit.
Today, as you may be aware, is the first day of the 2020 Colorado legislative session where new laws will be introduced. The majority of them range from pointless wastes of time to shockingly expensive and devastating blows to freedom. Some states have the good sense to not let their legislatures meet every year, spacing the sessions out to give everyone time to recover.
I suppose there are many pressing issues that have to be addressed and can’t wait for two years; for instance, what about the pressing necessity to be able to turn your departed relatives into mulch? Sure, it’s an issue everybody thinks about but Democrat Rep. Brianna Titone and Sen. Robert Rodriguez are going to do something about it this year by introducing a measure that would allow human remains to be turned into compost.
Conventional burial it seems is polluting of the Earth and takes up valuable space needed for wind farms, while cremation wastes petrochemicals necessary to manufacture keyboards to pound out angry letters to the editor about the environment.
Turning the deceased into nutrient rich material would allow people to plant vegetation in them consistent with their personality — roses for some, bramble bushes for others and loco weed for the rest.
I periodically reference the 1970s movie “Soylent Green” because it involves a bleak future where food is scarce and human remains are processed into little green sandwiches. Nevertheless, if this doesn’t seem like a step in that direction…
If this was the only type of thing that popped up it would be bad enough, but there are more unnerving things waiting in the wings, such as addressing firearms rights. By addressing, I mean eliminating some of them — imposing directives on how they are to be stored in private residences and requirements to report missing or stolen firearms under penalty of law.
There’s also the certain introduction of legislation to require mandatory paid family leave — to be funded by “fees” imposed on employees and employers that some hypersensitive TABOR enthusiasts are calling a tax and which should require a vote of the people. The proposed “fee” reportedly would be assessed as part of a person’s paycheck and would be partially based upon their income. At least that was the last iteration. It’s expected to cost employees and employers, according to one state sponsored study, an estimated $1.1 billion to $2.1 billion.
There is also a bill expected that would repeal the death penalty and another anticipated that would repeal the ability of courts to require a cash bail to be posted before accused criminals are released from jail pending their trial or other resolution of their case. The cash bail proposal would give us some of the results that New York has been experiencing with their similar experiment — which can’t be described as positive. It would probably cut down on the jail population, although probably not in a way most would like to see.
Finally, for anyone still thinking they get the full story on the operation of state government, remember the recently defeated Proposition CC which would have allowed state governmental entities to keep revenue collected over their TABOR limit? It was billed as sort of a no big deal to individuals.
It now seems that might have been an understatement, as we now discover the state owes taxpayers around $428 million in TABOR refunds and to accomplish that, for the first time since TABOR’S passage in 1992, the state is forced to lower the income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.5% as a method of allowing Colorado taxpayers to keep more of their income and have that act as a refund.
I probably belabor the notion of keeping one’s eye on state and local issues but I don’t think we can be reminded enough not to be too distracted by events we hear too much about at the expense of attention to those about which we don’t hear enough.
Rick Wagner is a Grand Junction attorney. Email him at email@example.com. His weekly political talk show airs on KNZZ 1100 AM/92.7 FM on Saturdays at noon.