Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Democrat-controlled Senate Committee Unwilling to Assure Adequate Public Testimony

The "circus" that took place during this past year in the Congress in order to pass Obamacare angered citizens across the country. The public's strong rejection of government health-care, was also caused by Congress ignoring of public opinion and ignorance as to what the bill contained.

In 1988, Colorado voters passed a Constitutional Amendment, now referred to as the Gavel Amendment, to ensure that all bills would receive a public hearing. Following its passage, the House and Senate adopted rules providing for at least a one-day public notification of hearings for each and every bill. However, both Houses also adopted a rules that allowed for a waiving of all rules during the last three days of the Colorado legislature, allowing bills to be heard in a matter of hours. So much for keeping the public informed! During the last thee days, under current rules, no notice of public hearings can be as short as the Senate President deems necessary. In most instances, there is no-one from the public present...only lobbyists.

After experiencing this last-minute rush near the close of session, for the past nine years, I drafted Senate Resolution SR10-008, to make sure the current one-day notice of bill hearings would remain, except for bills deemed to be an emergency by a two-thirds majority. The Senate State, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee heard the Resolution on Monday, April 19th. As expected, the Resolution was summarily killed by the Democrat majority on the committee on a party-line vote.

This Resolution needs to be passed next session, should the Republicans be in charge. Both political parties have used this lack of public notice to rush bills though without adequate time for review and contemplation. This procedure must be stopped.