Following the rapid passing of Nurses’ Compact bill in the opening days of the session, nurses claimed the spotlight again in the House Health Insurance and Environment Committee last Thursday.
My newly acquired third committee appointment baptized me by fire in a nine-hour marathon hearing on just two bills.
The first, a simple bill to allow community colleges to offer a bachelor of science in nursing, took over four hours of the committee’s time.
HB 18-1086 was intended to be a reasonable solution to address the shortage of nurses in the state of Colorado. However, testimony quickly left the rails, resulting in a turf war between the four-year institutions and their two year counterparts.
Listening to the dueling parties, I was reminded of the line from Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun” “Anything you can do, I can do better.”
In the end, every nursing candidate has to take the same final exam, no matter where they receive their training. The bill passed out of committee on a 12-1 vote.
The second bill, HB 18-1071, carried us on into the night toward a 10:30 p.m. adjournment.
For whatever reason, bills carried by Rep. Joe Salazar tend to prompt marathon hearings. HB 18-1071 was no exception. The bill, prompted by the Martinez versus Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission decision being appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court, focused on the battle between population growth and mineral owners’ right to drill.
Over 40 people (the majority from the Boulder and Broomfield area) lined up to testify.
The bill, if passed, would circumvent Supreme Court action and make any oil and gas activity extremely difficult to move forward. Quite possibly, it would require an environmental impact study on every well drilled.
Land owners who held mineral rights on the property long before development encroachment would not be able to utilize their personal property rights. Once I researched the membership of the COGCC, my vote became clear.
The Commission members are appointed by the Governor. Three Republicans (an oil and gas person from Littleton, the Fort Lupton mayor and a farmer/royalty owner) and four Democrats (a western slope geologist, a Denver energy attorney, a Denver petroleum engineer and a second attorney) plus the directors of both the Department. of Natural Resources and the Department of Health make up the Commission.
The COGCC has enough intelligent political diversity plus some of the most stringent regulations in the U.S. to deal with the issue. I voted against the bill we can sort it out after the Supreme Court makes its decision.
Bills are starting to move through the process. My first bill, HB 18-1010 (Concerning Youth Committed to the Department of Human Services), passed the House on a 57-3 vote and is headed to the Senate.
My Duty To Call 9-1-1 bill, HB 18-1059 (“Eric’s Law”), is scheduled to be heard in House Judiciary on Tuesday. I have amended the bill to partially appease the DAs who seem to be suffering heartburn over a bill that would require people to do the right thing.
My next bill, HB 18-1134 (Use of Colorado Preschool Positions), is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee.
If you have questions about bills or committee hearings or would like to schedule a visit to the Golden Dome, please feel free to call my office in the Capitol at 303-866-2747 or send me an e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours for HD 60, Representative Jim Wilson