DENVER – A resolution targeting President Donald Trump’s immigration ban was killed in the Colorado Senate’s State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee Tuesday on a 3-2 party-line vote that saw Republicans voting to not allow the piece of legislation to be read before the Senate as a whole.
House Joint Resolution 1013, which would have requested the rescission of an Executive Order on immigration issued by President Trump last month, was placed on the Senate schedule last night, which left little time for members of the public to sign up and testify on it.
Peter Severson, director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Colorado and the only member of the public to testify on HJR 1013, said the lack of forewarning on this hearing led to the lack of support for the resolution.
“If people knew this was happening, you’d have a full house,” Severson said.
Severson said he became aware of the hearing only because a senator he was visiting at the Capitol mentioned it to him, he said.
Sen. Rhoda Fields, D-Aurora, said the placement of the resolution on the schedule with such short notice was a deliberate tactic by the Senate GOP to “chill and silence” HJR 1013.
The expediency of the placement of the resolution and its hearing represents a missed opportunity for Democracy, said Sen. Lois Court, D-Denver.
“The Republican leadership in the Senate did a disservice to the people of Colorado by not scheduling this at a time far enough ahead that enough people could have come here to express their views on both sides,” Court said.
A request was made by Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, to lay over the vote on moving the resolution to the Senate for a full reading so that more public testimony could be scheduled, but Sen. Vicki Marble declined to put forward a motion to do so.
When the resolution was presented in the House of Representatives last week, it led to spirited debate and a flaring of partisan tension in the chamber.
In addition to the hearing for HJR 1013, there were 12 bills scheduled for third reading, three bills for second reading and 21 bills going before committees between the two chambers of the Legislature on Tuesday.
The majority of floor work was scheduled in the Senate and was laid over until Wednesday, but five bills passed final reading in the House.
Included in committee work were the following bills:
House Bill 1120, which would expand the ability of higher education campuses to serve alcohol by allowing them to apply for a Campus Liquor Complex license, was heard in the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee and passed on an 11-1 vote and moved to the House Appropriation Committee.
The new license created by the bill would allow campuses to function similar to resorts by obtaining permits for multiple facilities on campus as locations where alcoholic beverages could be served to students of age rather than having to receive separate licenses for each facility.
Rep. Yeulin Willett, R-Grand Junction, said the bill was brought about as a way to simplify the process colleges go through to hold events where alcohol is sold on campus and reduce the costs, both in licensing for additional venues and in man hours for putting together requests.
“It really does streamline the process,” Willett said.
SB 39 would create a tax credit for families who choose to have their children enrolled in nonpublic schools or home-based educational programs, was passed on a 3-2 party-line vote by the Senate Finance Committee, with Republicans favoring the legislation.
The tax credit created by the bill would differ between private schools based on tuition rates but would be a flat $1,000 for full-time home-schooled students.
The sponsor of SB 39, Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said the bill acknowledges that a one-size-fits-all approach to education does not fit Colorado, and this legislation will encourage parents to find the right fit for their children.
The bill came under fire from Democrats because of its placement in the Senate Finance Committee instead of the Education Committee. They also pointed out the impact it would have on public education, which is already underfunded, so incentivizing parents to withdraw from it would make things worse.
“We know the financial benefits of these types of tax credits are primarily enjoyed by wealthy families already sending their kids to private schools,” said Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora.