More Partisan Politics: Republicans Kill Fee Reduction for Veterans and Economic Development Bills

February 17, 2012

(Denver) –In a stark display of partisanship, House Republicans today killed two Democratic-sponsored bills that received bipartisan support earlier in session.

HB12-1035, sponsored by Rep. Dave Young (D-Greeley), would have eliminated the $15 fee to add a military identifier on an applicant’s driver’s license. The bill was recommended by the bipartisan Transportation Legislation Review Committee and passed the State Affairs Committee on a bipartisan 6 to 3 vote. It failed today in the Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote of 6 to 7. Two Republican members, Rep. Marsha Looper (R-Calhan) and Rep. Glenn Vaad (R-Mead), who voted against the bill in Appropriations, were actually co-sponsors of the bill.

“The bill eliminates a fee for the brave men and women who serve in our military,” Rep. Young said. “That’s the least they deserve from us.”

HB12-1056, sponsored by Rep. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood), would have strengthened the previously passed bipartisan Colorado Regional Tourism Act of 2009 to clarify roles and expectations of those involved in the Regional Tourism Authority process.  The bill would have encouraged more out-of-state tourism and would require the Colorado Tourism Director to provide input on tourism projects in the state.

This bill would provide certainty to economic developers and create jobs across Colorado by giving cities and counties the ability to be creative and launch projects. The bill was strongly supported by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade and only days ago, passed with a bipartisan vote of 9 to 2 in the Local Government Committee. Rep. Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) voted for the measure in Local Government and flip-flopped his vote when it reached the Appropriations Committee. Despite a Democratic amendment to alleviate the fiscal note, Republicans still voted against the common-sense measure.

Rep. A. Kerr said he was disappointed that a measure that would assist applicants, help local communities attract tourism, and ultimately create jobs was killed in a party-line 7 to 6 vote in the Appropriations Committee.

“This bill is about creating jobs,” Rep. A. Kerr said. “It’s puzzling that they would reverse course so suddenly. They are hurting Coloradans and potentially killing Colorado jobs by doing so.”

Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) said he is extremely disappointed that two good bills were killed for partisan games.

“At the start of session, both parties vocalized their dedication to bipartisanship and job creation in Colorado,” Rep. Ferrandino said. “So tell me, when a good, job-creating piece of legislation is presented, why do the Republicans vote against it? Why when a bill to alleviate a fee for our veterans is presented, do the Republicans vote against it? It’s voting partisan politics over Coloradans.”

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