I hope you all enjoyed Presidents Day weekend. Oftentimes we forget that Presidents Day was originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington. It is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on Feb. 22 (Washington’s actual day of birth), the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. Unfortunately, we tend to get excited about the three-day weekend and neglect to reflect on the historical contributions of the leaders of our nation. A study of history can be enlightening.
Speaking of history, a type of history is being made under the Golden Dome as the two chambers continue to struggle with the sexual harassment allegations. No one disagrees that sexual harassment is a serious issue and needs to be dealt with accordingly. As a result of the recent rash of allegations, all legislators and staff members have undergone additional training. However, what should be resolved as a work place issue has degenerated into a political hot potato. It is an election year, and it appears both parties are engaged in a tug-of-war over how to best deal with the fallout while preparing for the 2018 elections. There is a lot of finger pointing; meanwhile, accusers are caught in the crossfire, the accused, rights to due process are often overlooked and the workplace becomes more hostile. It might be a good time to institute the Golden Rule under the Golden Dome; just sayin’.
It was a busy week for me in the House Education Committee. I presented two bills on Monday and two bills on Wednesday. All four bills passed out of committee. HB 18-1193: Extend Advanced Placement Programs passed 13-0; HB 18-1088: Funding for Full-Day Kindergarten passed 10-3; HB 18-1134: Use of Colorado Preschool Program Positions passed 10-2; and HB 18-1186: Sunset Review of the Colorado Youth Advisory Council passed 10-2. The bills have a long way to go, but it is always good to clear the first committee hearings on a strong vote.
Wednesday is the Colorado High School Activities Association’s day at the Capitol. In order to help educate legislators about CHSAA’s involvement with young people, CHSAA is coming to Capitol Hill. They will host a breakfast in the second floor foyer and hold their regular February Board of Director’s meeting in the State Services Building. CSHAA governs all academic, athletic and activity participation for all school classifications throughout Colorado. Nearly 60% of all High School students participate in some type of CHSAA activity. I am fortunate to serve as the legislative representative on the CHSAA Board of Directors.
Wednesday will also be “Gun Day 2018” at the Capitol. HB 18-1037: Concealed Handguns On School Grounds, HB 18-1074: Deadly force Against Intruder At A Business, and HB 18-1015: Repeal Ammo Magazine Prohibition will all be heard in the House State Affairs Committee (also known as the House “kill” committee).
Next week will mark the beginning of a series of bills attempting to address the opioid crisis in the state. The first three bills on the agenda for the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee will be: HB18-1003: Opioid Misuse Prevention, HB18-1136: Substance Use Disorder Treatment and HB 18-1007: Substance Use Disorder Payment & Coverage. Opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportions in Colorado and the nation. It strikes all families and all walks of life. Hopefully, an intervention can be found that will curtail this disastrous downward spiral.
As always, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Yours for HD 60,
Representative Jim Wilson