2011 OGRE LEGISLATION

2011 Selected Topics:

Expansion of Medicaid
"Clean Energy"
Hospital Tax for Medicaid Funding
Physical Activity Mandates
Agricultural and Local Tax Increase
Green Energy Incentive Program
School Bullies
State Health Care Exchange- "Amycare"

2012 OGRE Legislation
2013 OGRE Legislation


SB11-008 (Expansion of Medicaid)

Sponsors

BY SENATOR(S) Boyd, Aguilar, Bacon, Carroll, Foster, Guzman, Heath, Hudak, Newell, Schwartz, Shaffer B., Steadman, Tochtrop, Williams S.; also REPRESENTATIVE(S) Gerou, Casso, Conti, Fields, Fischer, Hamner, Kagan, Kefalas, Kerr J., Labuda, Massey, Riesberg, Ryden, Schafer S., Solano, Summers, Todd, Vigil, Wilson.

Summary

SB11-008 increases the number of children eligible for Medicaid. Family income can now be up to 133% of the federal poverty level for children to qualify between the ages of 6 and 19. This criterion only used to apply to children up to 5 years old and pregnant women. For a family of 4 that amount would represent approximately $31,322 of annual income (for 2013). The bill allows tobacco tax funds to offset general fund expenditures to help pay for some additional Medicaid enrollees. Without the infusion of tobacco tax money, General Fund expenditures would increase by $3.5 million in FY 2012-13, and $14.1 million in FY 2013-14 according to the fiscal note. Link to Full Text

Comment

The bill is simply an expansion of Medicaid in the State of Colorado, putting more Coloradoans on the public dole. Legislators attempted to cover up the cost of the expansion by using accounting tricks and fund transfers, but the bottom line is the same-increase in the size of government and more people dependent on government for healthcare.

OGRE report

The following are Republicans who voted for this legislation:

Representatives Senators
Balmer, David
Barker, Mark
Baumgardner, Randy
Becker, Jon
Beezley, Don
Bradford, Laura
Brown, J. Paul
Conti, Kathleen
Coram, Don
DelGrosso, Brian
Gardner, Bob
Gerou, Cheri
Holbert, Chris
Kerr, Jim
Massey, Tom
McNulty, Frank
Nikkel, B.J.
Priola, Kevin
Ramirez, Robert
Scott, Ray
Sonnenberg, Jerry
Stephens, Amy
Summers, Ken
Swalm, Spencer
Swerdfeger, Keith
Szabo, Libby
Vaad, Glenn
Waller, Mark
Greg Brophy
Roberts, Ellen
Spence, Nancy
White, Jean

SB11-047 (Subsidizing "clean energy")

Sponsors

BY SENATOR(S) Heath, Aguilar, Bacon, Boyd, Foster, Giron, Guzman, Jahn, Newell, Nicholson, Schwartz, Steadman, Williams S., Johnston; also REPRESENTATIVE(S) Gerou and Riesberg, Fischer, Kefalas, Labuda, Miklosi, Pace, Ryden, Schafer S., Todd, Vigil, Williams A., Wilson.

Summary

According the legislative declaration for SB11-047 "it is in the best interest of the state to build on past successes and provide a long-term funding stream that enables the growth of the bioscience and clean technology industries in the state and to support Colorado's higher education research institutions." The bill creates a special fund of tax money to benefit clean technology businesses. The bill transfers $5.1 million into clean energy funds in fiscal years 2013-14. Link to Text.

Comment

Your government once again spending tax dollars on favored (special) industries. The so-called "clean energy" industry is a favored special interest of many politicians, particularly the environmental left. In a free market, if there was strong enough demand for such technologies, there would be no need for government interference.

OGRE report

The following Republicans voted for this legislation:

Representatives Senators
Conti, Kathleen
Coram, Don
Gardner, Bob
Gerou, Cheri
Kerr, Jim
Liston, Larry
Massey, Tom
Priola, Kevin
Stephens, Amy
Summers, Ken
Swerdfeger, Keith
Vaad, Glenn
Waller, Mark
White, Jean

SB11-212 (Hospital Tax for Medicaid Funding Scheme)

Sponsors

BY SENATOR(S) Hodge, Steadman, Lambert; also REPRESENTATIVE(S) Gerou, Becker, Ferrandino.

Summary

SB11-212 authorizes the charge and collection of hospital provider fees on hospital outpatient and inpatient services for the purpose of funding Medicaid programs. The increased taxes are also used to obtain additional matching federal funding under the Medicaid program.Link to Full Text

Comment

This tax, labeled a fee in the Colorado version of the legislation, has been called by some a massive legal money laundering scheme fleecing federal tax payers (all of us). Essentially, the state imposes taxes on hospitals and uses the money to fund its share of Medicaid. Using these increased funds, the state then qualifies for more federal funds for Medicaid. These Medicaid funds are then used to pay for hospital services. The state takes money from the medical provider, qualifies for more federal funds, and then some of the money ultimately goes back to the medical providers in Medicaid payments. The scheme allows the state to expand its Medicaid program at the expense of the federal government. OGREs tend to see these types of schemes as really smart, and a good way to expand government without the state having to pay for it. For more information, see http://www.americancommitment.org/content/end-bed-tax-scam.

OGRE report

The following Republicans voted for this legislation:

Representatives Senators
Acree, Cindy
Barker, Mark
Baumgardner, Randy
Becker, Jon
Bradford, Laura
Brown, J. Paul
Coram, Don
DelGrosso, Brian
Gerou, Cheri
Holbert, Chris
Joshi, Janak
Kerr, Jim
Liston, Larry
Looper, Marsha
Massey, Tom
McNulty, Frank
Murray, Carole
Nikkel, B.J.
Priola, Kevin
Ramirez, Robert
Scott, Ray
Sonnenberg, Jerry
Stephens, Amy
Summers, Ken
Swerdfeger, Keith
Szabo, Libby
Vaad, Glenn
Waller, Mark
Brophy, Greg
Cadman, Bill
Harvey, Ted
King, Steve
Kopp, Mike
Lambert, Kent
Mitchell, Shawn
Renfroe, Scott
Roberts, Ellen
Spence, Nancy
White, Jean

HB11-1069 (Physical Activity Mandates)

Sponsors

BY REPRESENTATIVE(S) Massey and Fields, Casso, Duran, Ferrandino, Fischer, Hullinghorst, Kefalas, Labuda, Lee, Miklosi, Pabon, Pace, Peniston, Priola, Riesberg, Schafer S., Solano, Soper, Todd, Tyler, Vigil, Williams A., Wilson, Kerr A.; also SENATOR(S) Aguilar, Boyd, Foster, Guzman, Heath, Hudak, Johnston, Nicholson.

Summary

HB11-1069 requires each school district board to adopt a physical activity policy. The bill requires that the mandated policy meet a minimum standard of physical activity based on the amount of time a student attends class. For example, a student must engage in a minimum of six hundred minutes of physical activity per month if the classes at the school meet five days per week and the student attends school for a full day. Link to Full Text

Comment

This legislation is an unnecessary intrusion by the state into the management of local school districts. It also smacks of overreaching government "nannyism" dictating how much physical activity a student needs to be engaged in during a school day. The state government should have no role in managing and dictating the health and nutrition of children. These decisions rightfully belong to parents, not the state.

OGRE report

The following Republicans voted in favor of this legislation:

Representatives Senators
Beezley, Don
Kerr, Jim
Massey, Tom
Priola, Kevin
Summers, Ken
Swerdfeger, Keith
Vaad, Glenn
King, Keith
Spence, Nancy

HB11-1146 (Agricultural/local tax increase)

Sponsors

BY REPRESENTATIVE(S) Massey, Casso, Court, Ferrandino, Fields, Fischer, Hamner, Hullinghorst, Jones, Labuda, McCann, Pace, Ryden, Schafer S., Todd, Vigil, Wilson, McNulty, Tyler; also SENATOR(S) Steadman, Aguilar, Bacon, Foster, Guzman, Heath, Nicholson, Tochtrop

Summary

HB11-1146 amends the agricultural tax law to exclude two acres or less of land on which a residential improvement is located unless the improvement is integral to an agricultural operation conducted on such land. Previously, the land underlying a residential improvement was included as "agricultural land" for purposes of property tax assessment.Link to Text

Comment

This bill was a populist response to a perceived "unfair" situation where a residential home located on land that was otherwise deemed to be agricultural land was taxed at the lower agricultural rate, rather than a residential rate. The bill was a response to a perceived mass conspiracy where rich people took advantage of a tax "loophole" and were getting away without paying their "fair share" of taxes. At the end of the day, it was just another way to increase taxes under the guise of "fairness" using the relatively few wealthy residences in Cherry Hills Village as a scapegoat to increase taxes across the entire state. According to the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, this was a backdoor way to raise taxes on the people without a vote of the people, raising local taxes by $21.6 million, and simultaneously reducing the amount the state has to pay for schools.

OGRE report

The following Republicans voted in favor of this legislation:

Representatives Senators
Bradford, Laura
Conti, Kathleen
Gerou, Cheri
Kerr, Jim
Massey, Tom
McNulty, Frank
Sonnenberg, Jerry
Summers, Ken
Swerdfeger, Keith
Grantham, Kevin
White, Jean

HB11-1060 (Green Building Incentive Program)

Sponsors

BY REPRESENTATIVE(S) Gerou, Looper, McNulty; also SENATOR(S) Jahn, Aguilar, Bacon, Boyd, Carroll, Foster, Giron, Guzman, Heath, Hodge, Hudak, Johnston, King S., Morse, Newell, Nicholson, Schwartz, Shaffer B., Steadman, Tochtrop, Williams S.

Summary

HB11-1060 establishes a Green Building Incentive Program that pays homeowners with homes that do not meet certain environmental standards a grant to make "green energy efficiency improvements" in preparation to purchase a "highly efficient" new residential construction. The grant is paid using federal funds.Link to Text

Comment

The state once again intrudes in private residential transactions in effort to solve a "climate change problem" that does not exist. This has been described as a "cash for clunkers" program for houses because only homeowners with low efficient homes are eligible for to receive the free money from the government. Some members of state government love to pick favorites and dole out goodies using federal money, but it is wrong and not consistent with economic freedom and does not benefit the majority of Coloradoans.

OGRE report

The following Republicans voted in favor of this legislation:

Representatives Senators
Barker, Mark
Bradford, Laura
Brown, Paul J.
Conti, Kathleen
Coram, Don
Gardner, Bob
Gerou, Cheri
Joshi, Janak
Kerr, Jim
Liston, Larry
Looper, Marsha
Massey, Tom
McNulty, Frank
Priola, Kevin
Ramirez, Robert
Ray, Scott
Sonnerberg, Jerry
Stephens, Amy
Summers, Ken
Szabo, Libby
Vaad, Glenn
Waller, Mark
Brophy, Greg
King, Steve
Roberts, Ellen
Spence, Nancy
White, Jean

HB11-1254 (School bullying)

Sponsors

BY REPRESENTATIVE(S) Priola and Schafer S., Casso, Court, Ferrandino, Fields, Fischer, Hamner, Kefalas, Kerr J., Labuda, Massey, McCann, Pace, Peniston, Ryden, Solano, Todd, Vigil, Wilson; also SENATOR(S) Steadman, Aguilar, Bacon, Boyd, Carroll, Foster, Giron, Guzman, Heath, Hodge, Hudak, Jahn, King S., Morse, Newell, Nicholson, Roberts, Schwartz, Spence, Tochtrop, White, Williams S.

Summary

HB11-1254 establishes a "school bullying and prevention" grant for public schools. Public schools are permitted to apply to the state board of education for special grants intended to prevent school bullying. The bill sets forth minimum requirements to be eligible for the grant. The state board of education is charged with establishing rules and regulations concerning the administration of the program. The bill refers to the definition of bullying in state statute, which states that bullying "means any written or verbal expression, or physical or electronic act or gesture, or a pattern thereof, that is intended to coerce, intimidate, or cause any physical, mental, or emotional harm to any student." Link to Text

Comment

The nanny state once again intrudes in areas that state government does not belong. At the most, bullying is a local problem that can best be worked out by local principals and teachers working with parents. The state government sets a minimum standard of what must be done and then turns it over to state government bureaucrats at the board of education to "solve" a problem that seemingly has been around since the beginning of time. State funds are diverted from what otherwise could be spent teaching children about math and science to social engineering.

OGRE report

The following Republicans voted in favor of this legislation:

Representatives Senators
Bradford, Laura
Brown, J. Paul
Gardner, Bob
Gerou, Cheri
Kerr, Jim
Liston, Larry
Massey, Tom
McNulty, Frank
Priola, Kevin
Ramirez, Robert
Scott, Ray
Stephens, Amy
Swerdfeger, Keith
Szabo, Libby
Vaad, Glenn
Waller, Mark
King, Steve
Roberts, Ellen
Spence, Nancy
White, Jean

SB11-200 (State Health Care Exchanges-"Amycare")

Sponsors:

BY SENATOR(S) Boyd, Aguilar, Bacon, Carroll, Foster, Giron, Guzman, Heath, Hodge, Hudak, Jahn, Morse, Newell, Nicholson, Schwartz, Shaffer B., Steadman, Tochtrop, Williams S.; also REPRESENTATIVE(S) Stephens, Casso, Duran, Fields, Gardner D., Hamner, Jones, Kagan, Labuda, Levy, Massey, Miklosi, Pabon, Pace, Peniston, Riesberg, Schafer S., Summers, Todd, Tyler, Vigil, Wilson.

Summary:

SB11-200 created the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange. The legislation created the Board of Directors for the health exchange that is empowered to appoint an executive director, create an operational plan, apply for federal money, appoint advisory groups, provide reports the legislature and governor, and is charged with investigating various options for implementing the health care exchange. SB200 creates a legislative health benefit exchange implementation review committee to guide the General Assembly and make recommendations for implementing the healthcare exchange.Link to Text

Comment:

SB11-200 created the state healthcare exchange envisioned by Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable HealthCare Act.) The bill is referred to as "Amycare" by some because one of the sponsors and supporters of the bill was Republican, Amy Stephens. Obamacare allows for states to voluntarily implement healthcare exchanges. A healthcare exchange provides a "marketplace" where consumers of health insurance can purchase health insurance from providers that meet certain coverage requirements and charge certain rates. For many families, these insurance premiums will be subsidized by the federal government. If the state does not implement the exchange, the federal government could set up its own exchange in Colorado. Many states across the nation have decided not to implement the exchanges to avoid promoting and facilitating the implementation of Obamacare, which many Americans and legal scholars consider to be unconstitutional. By implementing the state healthcare exchange, SB11-200 facilitated and aided the implantation of Obamacare in Colorado. In sum, the bill is the first step in a government run take-over of healthcare in the State of Colorado. According to some estimates, as of May 2013, start-up costs to implement the exchange has cost Colorado $61 million.

OGRE Report:

The following Republicans votes in favor of this legislation:

Representatives Senators
Conti, Kathleen
Coram, Don
Gerou, Cheri
Kerr, Jim
Liston, Larry
Massey, Tom
McNulty, Frank
Murray, Carole
Priola, Kevin
Ramirez, Robert
Stephens, Amy
Summers, Ken
Swalm, Spencer
NONE