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Episode 8 - Elections Have Consequences: The Legislative Session From Hell
Coloradans just want to live our lives, do our own thing… but the overwhelming overreach added in just this one session will move us even further from freedom.
Listen to the full episode here with State Representative Brandi Bradley and Deputy Chief of Staff for the House GOP Roger Hudson.
Elections have consequences, boy did we get a lesson in that over the last few months.
Colorado’s General Assembly, which is the state Senate and state House combined, meets annually, beginning in January and continuing for 120 days. That limit was set in 1988 after years of arguing over how long and frequent these sessions should be.
There were over 600 bills introduced at the Capitol this year, 220 of them making it through the General Assembly to Jared Polis now waiting on his desk for sign-off. The government takeover by the Democrat party in Colorado is on overdrive.
Polis had already grown the government by 25% in his first term. Coloradans just want to live our lives, do our own thing… but the overwhelming overreach added in just this one session will move us even further from freedom.
But let’s take a moment to celebrate some WINS from the session. I want to start on a positive note and congratulate my dear friend Maralee McLean for a HUGE win at the Capitol this year. She has been leading Moms Fight Back, the charity I founded back in 2013, and her tremendous efforts have led to the passing of two critical bills in recent years that are keeping children safe and addressing a corrupt family court system here. First Julie’s Law, named after her daughter, who was abused by the court system for years here, and second Kayden’s Law, passed this session. Both bills focus on domestic violence training and oversight of the courts when it comes to children being abused and victimized by the courts.
Another GOOD BILL that was passed, but not before some drama on the floor, was House Bill 1135 which states that - if signed by the Governor - indecent exposure will be classified as a felony. As it is at the moment, child sex crime in Colorado is classified as a misdemeanor. In the past four years, 90 cases of indecent exposure in front of children have been filed statewide; the average age of the victim is 11.
The bill — sponsored by three Democrats and one Republican — received bipartisan support but was only opposed by Democrats. In the House, 27 Democrats voted against the bill and only 18 voted in favor of it.
As it stands today, indecent exposure is a Class 1 misdemeanor; except that it is a Class 6 felony for a third or subsequent offense. The new bill makes indecent exposure a Class 6 felony when the person who commits indecent exposure knows there is a child under 15 years of age in view of the act, as long as the perpetrator is more than 18 years of age and more than 4 years older than the child.
Democrats voting against this bill should be ashamed.
Bills like the ones I just mentioned are the ones we as Coloradans should be focused on… The one’s I’m about to mention, not so much.
I’ve nicknamed the 2023 legislative session the Session from HELL – at least it was for those of us that appreciate a small, effective government that respects our freedom and our individual rights.
I’m proud of our Republican representatives, senators, and citizen activists. I’m proud of everyone who testified and reached out to legislators… because of this collective effort, they held off several very bad pieces of legislation, including Governor Polis’ landmark housing bill that would have turned our neighborhoods into a hot mess across the state.
With so so many missteps by the party in charge, it was incredibly hard to pick 10 bills to tell you about today. I’ll go through the highlights but I’ll also link the full bill language on my Substack channel if you want to do a deeper dive… but proceed with caution because reading these bills at length is certain to make your blood boil!
So here is my list of the most TERRIBLE bills that passed in the Session from Hell. Remember, some of these have not been signed by the Governor himself, but I haven’t heard of any bills he plans on vetoing.
Let’s start with HOUSING bills.
House Bill 1255 would ban local growth caps and repeal the existing growth limit policies in places like Boulder and Golden. Local control is always best, and this is a power move by the Governor and his bureaucrats to override that. Not cool… and most mayors, even Democratic ones, are opposed.
Next, under House Bill 1233, homebuilders would be required to include electric vehicle charging infrastructure in newly built single-family and multi-family homes. Not interested? Too bad… THEY DON’T CARE. This drives up the cost of a new house for everyone – especially folks that don’t drive electric vehicles. Let the free market do its thing. If someone is buying a new home and wants this feature… Great, they can pay for it! But stop forcing your Green New Deal on every day Coloradans.
House Bill 1190 would make it possible for local governments to purchase multi-family properties — defined as five units or more in rural areas and 15 units or more in urban and suburban areas — that were built more than 30 years ago. The local governments would have to pay fair market value for the properties, BUT WHY ON EARTH are local governments getting into the real estate investment game? That’s nonsense! They can’t teach our kids to read or write or make our roads drivable, but they are going to make big housing investments? Not sure who they think this will benefit, but I promise you… it’s not the consumer.
Now, let’s talk skyrocketing PROPERTY TAXES, and our precious TABOR refunds.
Starting with House Bill 1311 – Colorado taxpayers will now receive a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refund check for one year only, just in time for you to lose your TABOR refunds FOREVER. The change ONLY goes into effect if Coloradans approve Proposition HH on the ballot this November, so it’s trickery to get voters to do away with their own TABOR refunds. It’s basically taking a dollar from your bank account, putting it in your own wallet, and calling it a good deal… smoke and mirrors!
As if that doesn’t attempt to bribe Coloradans to vote for the ballot measure — they’re also pushing through House Bill 1290, which would sneakily ask Colorado voters in November to let the state keep about $24 million in tax revenue collected through tobacco and nicotine taxes for Colorado’s new universal preschool program. If voters reject the proposal, the money will be refunded directly to the tobacco industry. Here we go with the drama – Polis is saying FUND my precious preschool program, or the money goes to cigarettes! But what about giving the money back to taxpayers and letting them decide what to do with it? Did that ever occur to them? Of course not.
Now, let’s talk about our KIDS. There’s A LOT to unpack here…
House Bill 1003 is one of the most protested this session – parents across Colorado are furious that schools are asking private, invasive questions of our children and deciding for themselves if our children need “treatment” aka indoctrination sessions… This bill would create a mental health screening process for students in all public schools beginning in the sixth grade, asking very detailed questions about the children, their parents, their sexuality, their personal preferences. If they find that a student's assessment shows the school determines they “need” treatment, their parents would be notified and given information about therapy resources but could not deny it if the school convinces the child they need it.. forget about parents finding the right option for their children or being in charge of their child’s precious well being. You and I both know that the student will get the desired “treatment” aka indoctrination – the bureaucrats will make sure of that… parents' opinions be damned. It’s just our kids’ mental health, no big deal.
Then there’s House Bill 1249. This VERY controversial bill will grant immunity to 12-year-olds who rape other children, attempt to murder their classmates, and/or commit other violent crimes, as well as reduce consequences for crimes committed by 13- to 17-year-olds. Pretty much everyone in the juvenile justice system disagrees with this bill…except the criminals, of course.
Senate Bill 188, already signed into law by Polis, protects people in Colorado who receive, facilitate, or provide abortion or gender-affirming care from criminal prosecution or lawsuits initiated in other states. Someone can bring a 10-year-old to Colorado to have a sex change operation or abortion without ANY consequences. Didn’t we use to call that kidnapping? The law prevents state courts, law enforcement, and regulators from recognizing or participating in out-of-state criminal or civil investigations into abortions or gender-affirming care. Lovely.
This leads me to the new ABORTION laws.
Here in Colorado, we already have the most liberal abortion laws in the country – abortion until a baby’s birth date, no questions asked. And yes, it’s true that women are having abortions here in the late weeks of pregnancy at RECORD numbers. In the Governor's race, I hoped we could come to a compromise as Coloradans, that the majority of us could agree that aborting a baby in the final weeks of pregnancy was intolerable. If a mother’s health is at risk, deliver the baby – but there is no reason to kill a baby that can survive outside of the mom, especially with the rising infertility rates. Polis went all in on this – and now he’s pushed the legislature even further. We are now an abortion tourism state, and he is proud we have the most aggressive laws supporting abortion in the world. But there was more to do, more extreme measures to pass here. Let’s take a look.
Senate Bill 189 requires large employer plans to cover the cost of abortions without policy deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance starting January 1st, 2025. The only ones exempt are government employers as the state is not allowed to spend taxpayer dollars on abortions, and employers who claim abortion is against their “sincerely held religious beliefs” … for now. You know, there is only one bucket of money for business owners… The more programs and requirements the government forces them to take from that bucket, the less money there is to pay employees more and give them perks. That’s not even considering the moral dilemma this poses for businesses.
This next measure is quite hypocritical in my opinion. Senate Bill 190 outlaws abortion pill reversal treatment until the state’s three medical boards determine whether the treatment is a “generally accepted standard of practice.” The boards have until October 1st to make a decision. So… an abortion is considered safe for a baby in the womb, but a pill to reverse an abortion is concerning? Yet, killing a baby in the final weeks of pregnancy not concerning at all…? The world has gone mad.
Let’s look at some stats. Abortions completed by taking a pill account for over half of abortions in the U.S. – over 60% in Colorado. There has also been a growing number of women who change their minds after taking the first pill of two that terminates the pregnancy. If a woman no longer wants to continue the abortion, they can use the abortion pill reversal process to stop it. But Polis and the Democrats can’t stand the thought of a woman changing her mind! It’s about CHOICE, until that choice goes against their agenda. What hypocrites… What are they so afraid of? It’s sick.
Speaking of sick, let’s talk about how the legislature just made our CRIME and DRUG problem worse here in Colorado.
House Bill 1167 gives immunity from prosecution to those who have aided in someone’s drug or alcohol overdose. Also, rather than it being a Level 3 or Level 4 drug felony, it would be a Level 1 drug misdemeanor for someone to unlawfully distribute, dispense, transfer, or sell certain controlled substances, but ONLY IF the person reports the overdose, remains at the scene, and provides their identification to emergency responders.
So don’t worry about selling drugs to kids or the homeless, Mr. Drug Dealer… if you just stick around while they die, we’ll let you off the hook. What ON EARTH are these people thinking? These are DRUG DEALERS. They are fully aware that their actions could kill someone BEFORE they distribute anything. But there is NO accountability, no consequences. How many children have to die before we start taking this seriously? These lawmakers have lost their freaking minds if they think this is a tangible way to address our skyrocketing crime and drug problem. I’m sorry but voters have also lost their minds to elect them! I met so many families that lost their loved ones to fentanyl poisoning and drug overdose. If only the politicians passing these insane laws would meet them and hear their pain, they sure as hell wouldn’t pass a bill like this.
Next up, House Bill 1100 would stop jails and law enforcement in the state from entering into or renewing certain contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement related to immigrant detention.
Have any of the people at our Capitol in Denver watched what is happening at the southern border of our country? Just turn on the TV! Have they taken the time to talk to an ICE agent working on the southern border of Colorado? We are experiencing a HUGE influx of illegal immigrants, not to mention the influx of drugs and human trafficking here… and they want to tie the hands of those on the front lines trying to keep us safe? The only logical conclusion is that Polis and the Dems are TRYING to make Colorado a haven for drugs and criminals. Yet, people keep voting for more of this. It boggles my mind.
Frederick Douglass said, "A man’s rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box. And the cartridge box.” Law-abiding citizens that want to protect their rights, their property, and their families are having their rights stripped away in the name of keeping society “more safe.” The PROBLEM is law-abiding citizens aren’t the ones we need to worry about. And criminals certainly don’t give a hoot about more laws, more restrictions, and more big talk.
Now for a big topic of this year’s General Assembly: GUNS.
We already had some of the strictest firearm laws in the country in Colorado, yet crime and gun violence continue to skyrocket here. Why? Well, these feel-good laws that bloviating politicians point to make NO difference in keeping us safe. Look at the data right here in Colorado… it obviously has not worked, violent crime is out of control. Let’s take a look…
First, House Bill 1219 says that Coloradans will have to wait three days after purchasing a gun to take possession of the weapon. This is meant to prevent heat-of-the-moment suicides and homicides. But it has not been shown to be effective in other states. There are no credible studies that show waiting periods reduce suicides, homicides, or mass shootings.
Already signed into law by Polis in late April, Senate Bill 169 makes it so that you must now be at least 21 years old to purchase a firearm in Colorado.
Senate Bill 170 expands the state’s red flag law, which allows judges to order the temporary seizure of firearms from people declared a significant risk to themselves or others. The bill added health care providers, mental health providers, district attorneys, and teachers to the list of people who can petition a judge to order a firearm seizure. There is a big concern here about due process and false allegations, as well as the violation of a Colorado citizen’s constitutional rights.
I recognize that these bills were passed with good intentions, but you know what they say about good intentions and the path to somewhere being paved with them… We have very strict firearm laws in Colorado and they have NOT worked so far. Crime and gun violence are getting dramatically worse, and I just don’t see how any of these laws will drastically flip that in a positive direction. All they do is put our constitutional 2nd Amendment rights in question and give the government the ability to decide if we are deserving of those rights or not.
We’ve covered most of the major categories – housing, property taxes, TABOR, kids, abortion, crime, drugs, and guns… but this last one doesn’t quite fit any of those. Honestly, it’s generally just a dumb idea and not a good use of the legislator’s time.
Senate Bill 259 says that Colorado casinos can now offer lines of credit to their customers. Critics of the bill worry it will make it easier for gamblers to go into debt, but supporters say it will prevent people from having to travel to casinos with large amounts of cash. Interesting.
Between our laissez-faire relationship to drugs in Colorado, and now us cozying up to legal gambling, we can expect to get some of the fruits of that labor added to the mess we are already in. It’s just shocking that our legislature focused on THIS bill, especially when there are so many more critical things happening in our state.
My message to voters now? When politicians tell you who they are, believe them.
Jared Polis told us how he would govern back in 2018, then he showed us how he governed for 4 years before voters gave him a second term. He grew the size of government and our bureaucracies here by 25% in his first term. Crime and drug problems have skyrocketed while he has been in charge of our state. Our kid's ability to read, write, and do math at grade level has dropped in his term. Teen suicide and drug addiction rates are some of the highest in the nation. Our roads are a mess, it’s become unaffordable to live here, and forget about the ability to raise a family or run a business without the government constantly intervening.
The legislature has a supermajority, and with a Governor that drives their agenda, there is nothing stopping them from passing common sense laws that solve these terrible problems here. Instead, we have this hot mess of a legislative session that will only drive Colorado more into the ground.
So what do we do now? Where do we go from here? Well, I’m hoping that today’s guests can shed some light on that. They’re joining me today, despite being bruised, beat up, and exhausted from the fight they’ve put up the past 120 days, because they CARE about you and this state. They want you to know the TRUTH about what happened there on the assembly floor, and the LIES they fought so hard to expose.
Part 1 (0:00-20:27): Heidi exposes her list of the most terrible bills that passed during, what she is calling, “the Session from Hell”. She talks about:
The WINS from this year’s General Assembly — including Kayden’s Law, an effort through her charity Mom’s Fight Back focused on family court reform, indecent exposure going from a misdemeanor to a felony, and Polis’ landmark housing bill being shut down.
18 of the WORST bills passed through this session, broken down into housing, property tax and the elimination of TABOR, kids, abortion, crime and drugs, and lastly, guns.
Why elections MATTER and how the legislature’s supermajority combined with a governor who drives their agenda is putting government takeover by the Democrat party in Colorado in overdrive.
Part 2 (20:27-31:44): State Representative (House District 39) Brandi Bradley shares her unique experience being one of 19 Republicans in the House of Representatives during her first-ever Colorado General Assembly. She discusses:
The frustration she felt representing 46% of the population yet still feeling silenced, and the unfortunate reality that most Dems are told how to vote, rather than listening to their constituents.
How bills presented this session did not represent the reality of issues everyday Coloradans face today.
The surprising attacks on landlords and employers, as well as the most controversial bills for constituents — Polis’ land use bill and wolves.
She built relationships across the aisle while standing firm in her principles.
Part 3 (31:44-52:19): House GOP Deputy Chief of Staff and Castle Pines City Councilman Roger Hudson shares the roller coaster he experienced over the past 120 days. He discusses:
How hard it was to find middle ground on tough topics like abortion, housing, kids, and guns.
The dark reality of how bills today will affect Coloradans in 10, 20, and 30 years, and the historic consequences to taxes passed this session.
The shocking lack of focus on issues related to our kids, especially with the record number of women and moms in the House of Representatives.
The importance of paying attention to local issues, electing the right local officials, and doing a better job at anticipating what bills will be brought to the table during legislative sessions.
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