Highlights of the Week
This week at the Capitol the perennial bill to take Colorado off of daylight savings time died in Committee, the building was filled with members of the public on Wednesday to testify on a bill to update Colorado’s comprehensive sex education requirements, and legislation to create a program to import drugs from Canada passed its first committee. On the Senate Floor Monday, there was a lengthy debate about SB19-042, National Popular Vote. The bill would enter Colorado into an interstate agreement about the election of the president of the United States. The bill requires all electors in a presidential election to cast votes for the winner of the national popular vote. Republicans voiced their opposition to the bill, arguing that this moves the United States away from using the electoral college which was set up by the founding fathers. Other arguments were that the current system represents the rural parts of America and small states well and that the electoral college was set up as a compromise.
HB19-1074 sponsored by Representative Buck and Representative Ransom aimed to exempt Colorado from daylight savings time. During the winter months from November through March, clocks would not be set one hour ahead. The bill failed 4-7 in the House Rural Affairs and Agriculture Committee amid concerns from the tourism industry in mountain communities as well as Colorado being the only state in the time zone that would be exempted from daylight savings time.
On Wednesday, hundreds of people came to voice support or concern over HB19-1032, Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education. The bill is sponsored by Representative Lontine, Senator Todd, and Senator Coram. The bill makes clarifications to existing statute about comprehensive sex education requirements to prohibit endorsing religious ideology, using gender stereotypes, or excluding experiences of LGBTQ individuals. It would also add content requirements for all methods of preventing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease and development of healthy relationships. The citizens from around the state who came to watch the hearing filled the largest room in the Capitol plus four overflow rooms. During the committee hearing, advocates for the bill highlighted the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in sex education and including teaching students about safe and healthy relationships. Opponents to the bill, many of whom were parents testifying, shared concerns over content that their children might be exposed to in a comprehensive sex education class. Some shared concern that the bill would take control over curriculum away from local school boards. At times witnesses strayed from the subject of the bill to make comments on LGBTQ issues, beliefs on gender, religious freedoms, and to make attacks on the committee members. Right before midnight, HB 1032 passed House Health and Insurance to the House Appropriations Committee on a 7-4 party line vote with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed.
SB19-005 Import Prescription Drugs From Canada, a high priority policy for Governor Polis, received its first hearing this week in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. SB1 005 is sponsored by Senator Rodriguez, Senator Ginal, and Representative Jaquez Lewis. The bill requires the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) to design a program to import prescription drugs from Canada to Colorado and then submit the proposal to the US Department of Health and Human Services for approval. The idea is to realize cost savings for Colorado consumers from lower prescription drug prices in Canada. Pharmaceutical groups and business chambers testified in opposition to the bill. Some concerns shared in the committee hearing were that this policy does not directly address the high prices of prescription drugs in the United States, the inability of the legislature to halt implementation if there are no cost savings, differences in safety standards and protocols, and interrupting a closed supply chain within the United States. Several clean up amendments were added to the bill. SB 005 passed Senate Health and Human Services on a bipartisan 4-1 vote with Senator Smallwood as the only no vote. The bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Bills of the Week