Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Senate Committee to Hear Bill Authorizing Two-Year Car Registration Thursday

A Senate committee will consider Thursday a bill that would allow Colorado residents to register their motor vehicles for two-year periods.

SB 70 provides that the two-year registration option could not be made available for any vehicle that is due for an emissions test during that two-year period.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs.

Joint Constitution Committee to Hear From DU Panel Thursday

The new Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Reform will hear a presentation from the authors of a University of Denver report calling for changes to the state's initiative process Thursday morning.

The DU report, issued Jan. 3, recommends that the General Assembly enact tougher standards for getting a proposed change to the state constitution on the ballot and protect statutory initiatives from legislative change for ten years.

The report also calls for creation of a "Constitutional Revision Commission" to study ways in which the state's legal charter could be simplified.

Members of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Reform are chair Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, vice-chair Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, and Rep. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood.

The panel held its first meeting Tuesday.

Speaker Romanoff Announces New Committee Assignments

In the aftermath of the resignation of former Rep. Michael Garcia and the appointment of Rep. Karen Middleton, D-Aurora, to replace him, speaker Andrew Romanoff shuffled Democratic committee assignments Wednesday.

Middleton was assigned to the Education and State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committees. She replaces Rep. Edward Casso, D-Commerce City, on the education panel and Rep. Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, on the State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.

Casso moves over to the Business Affairs & Labor Committee, where he replaces Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver.

Ferrandino moves to the Finance Committee.

Carroll, having recently been elected assistant majority leader, will remain only on the Judiciary Committee. He will keep his post as chair of that committee.

In addition, Reps. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon, and Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins, switch committee assignments. Scanlan goes from the Transportation & Energy Committee to the Education Committee while Fischer moves from the education panel to Pueblo West Democrat Buffie McFadyen's transportation and energy panel.

House Passes Resolution Calling for all CO Children to Have Health Insurance Coverage by 2010

The House passed Wednesday a resolution establishing a goal of assuring access to health insurance coverage for all children in the state by 2010.

SJR 8, which had previously passed the Senate in slightly different form, is not law. It is simply an expression of the legislature's desire and of a goal.

Debate on the resolution was nevertheless lengthy and, at times, contentious.

Reps. Rosemary Marshall, D-Denver, and Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, eventually proposed an amendment changing the language of the resolution from words requiring the legislature to "pledge" universal coverage of children to the less demanding commitment only to try to do so.

That amendment passed with 51 "yes" votes, though it provoked opposition from a number of Democrats including speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, majority leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder, and Health & Human Services Committee chair Anne McGihon, D-Denver.

Rep. Douglas Bruce of Colorado Springs was the only GOP member of the House to oppose the amendment.

The amendment soothed the controversy, as 61 members of the House voted "yes" on adoption of the resolution after it was approved.

The naysayers were Republican Reps. Douglas Bruce and Kent Lambert of Colorado Springs and Kevin Lundberg of Berthoud.

The Senate had previously amended the resolution to make clear that the goal of universal coverage of children should not create disincentives for people to obtain private health insurance.

After that amendment was adopted unanimously in the Senate the resolution passed in that chamber on a 27-7 vote.

The Senate "no" votes on the resolution were cast by Republican Sens. Greg Brophy of Wray, Bill Cadman of Colorado Springs, Ted Harvey of Highlands Ranch, Mike Kopp of Littleton, Joshua Penry of Grand Junction, Scott Renfroe of Greeley and David Schultheis of Colorado Springs.

Net Metering Bill on Way to Senate

The House gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that would require rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities to grant credit on electric bills to customers that generate renewable energy.

HB 1160 passed with only one "no" vote, which came from Rep. Douglas Bruce, R-Colorado Springs.

The bill requires municipal utilities that serve at least 5,000 customers and all rural electric cooperatives to offset customers' electricity use by the amount of power that customer generates, subject to certain caps.

The bill also sets standards by which rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities must decide whether to allow generators of "home-grown" energy to interconnect to the grid. It also requires residential and business generators to meet certain insurance requirements in order to interconnect.

HB 1160 is sponsored in the House by Rep. Judy Solano, D-Thornton, and in the Senate by Sens. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, and Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus.

First Day for Rep. Karen Middleton (D-Aurora)

Democrat Karen Middleton, a former member of the state Board of Education, was sworn in Wednesday as the new representative from District 42.

Middleton, D-Aurora, becomes the 22nd female member of the House Democratic Caucus. She also becomes the 36th female member of the General Assembly, which means Colorado now leads the nation in percentage of serving state legislators who are women.

Middleton was appointed Sunday, Feb. 10 to a vacancy created when former Rep. Michael Garcia, D-Aurora, resigned after being accused of unwelcome sexual advances to a lobbyist.

Sunday Liquor Sales Bill Clears First Committee Hurdle

A bill that would allow Colorado liquor stores to be open on Sundays was approved by a Senate committee Wednesday afternoon, clearing its first hurdle on the path to law.

SB 82 is similar to bills that have been defeated in the legislature in prior years. This year, however, some previous opponents of Sunday liquor sales are backing the bill because they think it will strengthen independent liquor store owners' profitability if the General Assembly also enacts a separate bill that authorizes grocery stores to sell liquor.

Current law allows supermarkets to sell only 3.2 beer.

34 other states allow Sunday liquor sales.

The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

SB 82 is sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, and Rep. Cheri Jahn, D-Golden.

School Construction Bill on Fast Track; Will Get Valentine's Day Hearing

Proposed legislation aimed at easing the financial burdens of constructing new school facilities in the state, introduced this week by the House speaker and Senate president, is headed for a hearing before a Senate committee tomorrow.

HB 1335, labeled the "Building Excellent Schools Today" Act by its sponsors, calls for a statewide needs assessment, process for the selection of schools to receive construction funding, and the expenditure of up to $1 billion in funds to build new facilities.

The sponsors say that the bill does not contemplate any new taxes or fees to pay for its objectives.

The hearing before the Senate Education Committee will take place Thursday, Feb. 14 at 1 pm in the West Foyer of the Capitol. Among the witnesses expected to testify in support of the bill are Treasurer Cary Kennedy, an eastern Colorado school superintendent, a member of the state Board of Education, and business leaders and parents.

Bill to Cap Municipal Solar Fees Approved in Senate Committee

A bill that would cap the fees charged by local governments for permits needed to install solar energy systems was approved by a Senate committee Wednesday.

SB 117 is aimed at reducing the financial obstacles to the expansion of solar energy use by the state's residents and businesses.

The Senate's Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee unanimously approved the measure, which is sponsored by Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield.

It now heads to the Senate floor.

Ritter Announces Health Care Plan

Gov. Bill Ritter announced his plan to make improvements in Colorado's health care system Wednesday, proposing a "Building Blocks to Better Health Care" program that would allow 55,000 more children to be covered by health insurance within three years.

“Our health-care system is fundamentally broken, and the flaws touch every person and every business in Colorado,” Ritter said. “Costs are skyrocketing. The availability of quality care is limited. Too many people lack insurance, and our public and private health networks are too complicated for most people to navigate."

The governor is asking the General Assembly to spend $25 million in fiscal year 2008-2009 to put the plan in motion. In addition to increasing the number of kids in the state covered by the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) and Medicaid programs, the money would be used to create a new "Center for Improving Value in Health Care," build "greater efficiencies in public and private health care," and improve "transparency" in an effort to help health care consumers.

The expansion of children's health coverage would be achieved mainly by increasing the family income ceiling that limits eligibility for the CHP+ program. Ritter said that Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, and Rep. Anne McGihon, D-Denver, will introduce legislation raising that ceiling from 205% of the federal government's designated poverty level for a family of four, as of March 1, to 225%. That would mean that a family of four earning no more than $48,000 could qualify for CHP+ coverage.

The plan also calls for greater efforts to make the public aware of CHP+ and Medicaid programs, simplifying the enrollment process for CHP+ and Medicaid, and increasing reimbursement rates to physicians and dentists who provide care to children under the Medicaid program.

The proposed Center for Increasing Value in Health Care (CIVHC) would be an inter-agency and private sector joint effort to "develop long-term strategies for ensuring a better value for the $30 billion spent on health care in Colorado every year."

To improve efficiencies in the delivery of health care services, Ritter's proposal calls for the standardization of health insurance carrier ID cards and a requirement that all such cards include a magnetic strip that would facilitate electronic exchange of data.

Ritter said that Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, and Rep. Sara Gagliardi, D-Arvada, had agreed to sponsor a bill implementing this aspect of his plan.

The plan also calls for increased investments in health information technology and disease management programs.

Ritter's program also includes measures aimed at increasing consumer knowledge of insurer choices and insurance broker relationships with insurance companies. The plan would establish a web-based "Report Card on Health Insurance Companies" to include relevant information about health insurers and require insurance brokers to disclose their source and extent of compensation.

In addition, Ritter will ask the legislature to fully fund the Colorado Immunization Information System, increase funding for people with developmental disabilities by more than $8 million, increase funding for community mental health services by $3 million, and provide support to families with children suffering from birth defects by funding a "Colorado Responds to Children With Special Needs" initiative.

The program also includes a request to fund dental care for low-income elderly Coloradans and asks the legislature to support a bill that would grant consumers a legal remedy in the event that a health insurer denies a claim for coverage.

Gagliardi, who is a nurse, praised the governor's proposal.

"I am confident that today, we have embarked on a path towards access to affordable, quality health care for Coloradans," Gagliardi said. "The Building Blocks for Health Care Reform represent meaningful and significant progress. We will be covering 55,000 children over the next 3 years-enough children to fill 1,000 school buses."

Primavera, too, said that she believes Ritter's requests to the General Assembly make sense in terms of improving health care coverage to needy families.

"Starting with kids is a smart investment," Primavera said. "By covering 55,000 children over the next three years, we will make a big dent in reducing the ranks of the uninsured."

Mitchell indicated that GOP legislators would be likely to support at least the efficiency aspects of the proposal.

“Too much of our health care dollar goes to administration and paper work,” Sen. Mitchell said. “Standardizing health plan ID cards should make things faster and easier for patients and doctors and help bring down costs.”

Ritter emphasized that any progress on health care reform in Colorado must take account of fiscal limitations.

“We must find solutions that are uniquely Colorado, solutions that are ambitious and realistic, solutions we can afford,” the governor said.

House Honors Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans; Bruce Dissents

The House passed a resolution honoring the state's armed forces personnel and veterans today, voting to recognize the service and sacrifices of more than 60,000 military men and women and more than 425,000 veterans that live in the state on Military and Veterans Appreciation Day in Colorado.

The resolution conveyed "heartfelt gratitude to our state's veterans, past and present, to all military men and women currently serving in the armed services, and to the family members of active duty personnel and veterans." It also "encourage[d] the citizens of Colorado to join in the celebration of Colorado's Military and Veterans Appreciation Day on February 13, 2008, in recognition and honor of the thousands of fellow citizens in the military who protect and serve their communities, state, and country."

The resolution, HJR 1007, is to be sent to President Bush, the commanding officers of military installations and units in the state, members of Colorado's delegation in Congress, the state Board of Veterans Affairs and the United Veterans Committee of Colorado.

The resolution drew sponsorship from virtually every member of the House today. However, one Republican refused to sign on as a sponsor: Rep. Douglas Bruce, R-Colorado Springs.

Bruce has said that he thinks resolutions are unworthy of the General Assembly's attention. However, he has been a co-sponsor this session of a resolution honoring the late Rev. Martin Luther King, as well as of a resolution honoring 4-H day in the state.

The Military and Veterans Appreciation Day resolution was introduced by Reps. Stella Garza-Hicks, R-Colorado Springs, and Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Building Excellent Schools Today" Act Introduced

House speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, along with Senate president Peter Groff, D-Denver, and Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, introduced Tuesday a bill that would create a new statewide program to assist school districts and the charter school institute in building new facilities.

HB 1335 would divert lottery proceeds, as well as public school lands (state lands) income and mineral royalties, to the new fund.

The bill requires some of the money to be set aside as a reserve. It also creates a new agency within the state Department of Education that would advise the department on new construction priorities and establish criteria for funding. The department would establish funding priorities each year.

All money in the state's existing funds for school capital construction would be transferred to the new fund effective July 1, 2008 if the bill becomes law.

Bill Requiring School Districts to Post Open Enrollment Info Killed

The House Education Committee killed Monday a bill that would have required school districts to post open enrollment information prominently on their websites.

HB 1214, sponsored by Rep. Ken Summers, R-Lakewood, would have made it much easier for parents to learn the dates by which the state's school districts require applications for enrollment in schools available for open enrollment to be submitted, as well as the schools with available slots.

Madden Kills HB 1080

Majority Leader Alice Madden has announced that she's not going to submit her bill to close the exception in state civil rights law allowing religious organizations to hire managers adhering to their faith for a committee hearing.

HB 1080 had provoked a controversy strong enough to prompt the Roman Catholic archbishops of Denver and Colorado Springs to say that they would close the Catholic Charities operations in those cities rather than comply with the bill's ban on religious preference in hiring.

In a statement issued this afternoon by the House Majority Caucus press office, Madden said Gov. Bill Ritter will get involved in trying to find a compromise acceptable to all interested parties.

The statement said:

"After discussions with the Governor's office and proponants of HB 1080, we have mutually agreed to table HB 08-1080 for this legislative session with the understanding that over the interim, the Governor's office will convene a meeting of all interested parties. Hopefully, a bill can be forged for 2009 that protects employees from discrimination based on religion without harming social services programs provided by religious organizations that utilize tax payer's dollars."

Anti-Spam Bill Gets Unanimous Final House Approval

A bill that would make it a misdemeanor to deceptive or unsolicited commercial email got unanimous approval on third and final reading in the House today.

HB 1178, sponsored by Rep. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, passed 64-0. The bill also gives Internet service providers immunity from civil liability for transmitting spam over their email networks if they take certain actions to prevent spam transmissions.

The proposed Spam Reduction Act of 2008 now heads to the Senate, where it is sponsored by Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora.

Stephens Pulls Hotel Movie Fee Bill From Committee Consideration

A bill that would have required hotels and motels to collect a 99-cent fee on in-room movies to provide funding for the state's children's advocacy centers was pulled from committee consideration by its sponsor today.

Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument, said she wants to wait to have HB 1086 considered until she can build a greater base of support for her idea.

Lundberg Says Ritter Climate Change Plan Based on "Junk Science," Human Effect on Atmosphere Unproven

Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said Monday that Gov. Bill Ritter's plan to combat global climate change is based on "junk science" and that scientists have not established that humans are impacting the atmosphere.

The remarks, delivered at a gathering of Republican lawmakers sponsored by the Independence Institute, provoked Department of Public Health & Environment Director Jim Martin to point out that there is scientific consensus on the question whether human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change.

In a comment published by the Denver Post, Martin said that "You could have a convention of all the scientists who dispute climate change in a relatively small phone booth."

A 2001 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes clear that the scientific community generally believes that humanity is causing the Earth's climate to change.

"Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations," the report says.

The IPCC's fourth report concludes concludes that it is at least 90% likely that humanity is causing global climate change. According to a summary of that report issued by IPCC in February 2007, such human impact on the atmosphere is "very likely."

The National Academy of Sciences agrees. In a 2001 report prepared by its Committee on the Science of Climate Change, the panel of scientists wrote that "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise."

The NAS report also said that "[t]he IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue."

Middleton Membership in House Will Give Colorado National Lead in Percentage of Female Legislators

With the appointment of Colorado Board of Education member Karen Middleton to replace former Rep. Michael Garcia (D-Aurora), the House will have 26 women members. With a total of 60 districts, that means 40 percent of state representatives are female.

There are 10 women among the 35 state senators.

Thus, Colorado will have 36 women among 95 legislators after Middleton is sworn in Wednesday. That's 37.9%.

That's enough to make the Centennial State the nation's leader in percentage of legislators who are women. Colorado edges Vermont, which has 37.8% female legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures Women's Legislative Network.

According to the NCSL, women hold 23.6% of state legislative seats nationwide this year.

A comparison of the number of female legislators in the Colorado General Assembly with other states is not useful since there is no uniform number of total legislators in states across the nation.

However, according to NCSL Connecticut (53 women/187 seats in legislature), Florida (37/160), Georgia (46/236), Illinois (48/177), Kansas (48/165), Maine (59/186), Maryland (59/188), Massachusetts (49/200), Minnesota (70/201), Missouri (38/197), Montana (37/150), New Hampshire(152/424), New York (51/212), North Carolina (44/170), Pennsylvania (37/253), Vermont (68/180) and Washington (52/147) have a higher number of women legislators than does Colorado.

Youth Smoking Ban Heads to Senate Floor

A Senate committee approved Monday a bill that would ban minors from possessing cigarettes and other tobacco products throughout the state.

SB 88 would make Colorado the 36th state to forbid minors from possessing tobacco. The bill would not subject youth to criminal penalties; it merely authorizes law enforcement officers to take the contraband.

Supporters of the bill, including several high school students, told the Senate's State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee that creating a stigma around cigarette and chewing tobacco use could reduce the temptation for teenagers to use tobacco.

Four counties and 47 cities and towns in the state currently ban minors from possessing tobacco products.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Truth in Music Bill Gets Committee Nod

A bill that would ban public performances that impersonate musicians or their bands unless a member of the original group is included passed a House committee Monday.

HB 1196, sponsored by Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Fort Collins, got a boost from Sha-Na-Na singer Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, 60. Bauman, who was the lead singer of the famous group that paid tribute to the rock legends of the 50s and early 60s between 1969-1983, told the committee that impostor bands are stealing the identity and livelihood of music legends.

"This is a sophisticated form of identity theft that dupes consumers," Bauman told committee members.

The bill was endorsed unanimously and now heads to the House floor.

Bauman published an editorial column in the Los Angeles Times outlining his views as to why bands that pretend to be others should be outlawed. He has testified before the legislatures of several states on this issue and at least 18 states have passed some version of the "truth in music" proposal.

Ritter Signs Voting Machine Recertification Bill

Gov. Bill Ritter signed into law Monday a bill that will allow Secretary of State Mike Coffman to re-test electronic voting machines used around the state.

Coffman had ruled the machines unreliable, and therefore unavailable for use in elections in the state this year, in mid-December.

HB 1155 had broad bipartisan support in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Changes to Juvenile Felony Murder Sentencing Rules Pass Senate Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Monday a bill that would make it possible for juveniles that participate in a crime that leads to someone's death, but who don't plan to kill someone or participate in the actual killing, to be convicted of a class 2 felony and serve a juvenile sentence even if convicted as an adult.

Under current law, a juvenile convicted as an adult of felony murder, which could happen if her or she participates in any way in a crime that leads to the death of another even if he or she does not plan to kill anyone and does not kill anyone, can be sentenced to 40 years in adult prison.

Until a 2006 change in the law, anyone convicted of felony murder as an adult could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

SB 66 would change that sentencing outcome, if the juvenile is sentenced as an adult, to a term of eight to forty-eight years. The bill also opens the possibility that the juvenile could be sentenced to a youthful offender program involving commitment to a youth correctional facility for a maximum of eight years.

The committee voted along party lines, 4-3, to send the bill to the Senate floor.

Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, is the sponsor of the bill in the Senate. The House sponsor is Rep. Rosemary Marshall, D-Denver.

Middleton New Rep for District 42

A vacancy committee appointed Sunday a member of the state Board of Education to replace former Rep. Michael Garcia, D-Aurora, in District 42.

Karen Middleton, a Democrat, was appointed by the vacancy committee of Democratic leaders in her district.

According to a report in the Aurora Sentinel, Middleton resigned from the Board of Education effective Wednesday, Feb. 13 and is expected to be sworn in as a member of the House that day.

Bill Banning Possession of Tobacco by Minors To Get Committee Hearing

A bill that would ban minors from possessing tobacco in Colorado will get a hearing before a Senate committee Monday.

SB 88, sponsored by Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder, and Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, would also forbid the distribution of free tobacco products at public events.

The proposed "Teen Tobacco Use Prevention Act" also has two Republican co-sponsors in the Senate - Sens. Greg Brophy, R-Wray and Steve Johnson, R-Fort Collins - as well as the backing of the Senate president and president pro-tempore.

Senate Bill to Lower Penalties for Juveniles Who Commit Felony Murder to Get Hearing Monday

A Senate bill that would make juveniles who are convicted of felony murder eligible for juvenile sentencing even if convicted as adults will get a hearing Monday, Feb. 11.

Under current Colorado law, a juvenile convicted as an adult for participating in a crime that leads to a person's death can be convicted of a class 1 felony and sentenced to life in adult prison. That principle holds even if conviction of the juvenile is based solely on his or her presence at the crime scene or involvement in the crime that leads to someone's death and not on any actual participation in the killing of another person.

SB 66 would change that. The proposal would not affect juveniles who are convicted of actually killing someone. It would say only that juveniles, charged and convicted in adult court with participating in a crime in which someone dies as a result of someone else's actions, would be eligible for conviction of a class 2 felony in that situation and be able to be sentenced to the juvenile corrections system.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, and Rep. Rosemary Marshall, D-Denver.

Bill to Mandate Fees on Motel Porn Flicks To Get Committee Hearing Tuesday

A bill that would require hotels and motels in Colorado to collect a 99-cent fee whenever a customer views a pornographic movie will get a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday.

HB 1086 says that the money raised would go to child advocacy centers around the state, which counsel youthful sexual abuse victims and assist police and prosecutors in pursuing such cases.

According to a report in the Denver Post, child advocates around the state are supportive of the bill while the lodging industry is not.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument, and Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora.

Bill Requiring School Districts to Make Websites More User-Friendly To Get Hearing

A bill that would require Colorado school districts to post open enrollment information on their websites is due for a hearing before the House Education Committee Monday, Feb. 11.

HB 1214 would require school districts to create a separate page with information about open enrollment on their websites. The bill also specifies that the school districts would have to put tabs for those pages on their websites' home pages.

The sponsor is Rep. Ken Summers, R-Lakewood.

"Truth in Music Advertising" Bill to Get House Hearing Mon.

A bill that would outlaw deceptive impersonation of bands and musicians in public performances is to be heard in a House committee Monday.

HB 1196 aims to prevent bands and musicians from impersonating other performers without telling their audience who they really are. It is aimed at situations where a performance artist or group plays another group's or artist's music and pretends to be the original creator or performer of the music.

The bill, if enacted, would result in Colorado joining 18 other states with similar laws. It would impose a $5,000 to $15,000 civil penalty on impostors that use deceptive tactics.

According to a report posted at Colorado Confidential, Riesberg got the idea from a constituent who went to what he thought was a performance of a famous band at the Greeley Civic Center. It turned out the band that played was pretending to be the famous band.

"Spam Reduction Act" Bill To Receive Second Reading Vote in House Mon.

A bill that would criminalize the sending of spam in Colorado will get its first floor vote in the House Monday, Feb. 11.

HB 1178 would specify that unsolicited commercial e-mail messages, or commercial email messages that conceal the sender, are deceptive trade practices under state law. It would allow Internet service providers to sue spam senders if their networks are used to send unlawful email traffic and recover actual damages and, in some cases, attorney fees and costs.

The bill also grants immunity from civil liability to ISPs who take actions to prevent the sending of spam over their networks. It also explicitly grants the state Attorney General authority to enforce the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003, 15 U.S.C. section 7701 et seq.

Finally, the bill declares that violations of the CAN-SPAM Act are "inherently false and deceptive" and specifies that "electronic mail fraud" is a class 2 misdemeanor on first offense and a class 1 misdemeanor on a second or subsequent offense within two years.

If enacted, the bill would supersede Colorado's Junk E-mail law and grant the state all of the authority to regulate spam granted by the CAN-SPAM Act.

The sponsors of the bill are Rep. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, and Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora.

Campaign Finance Bill Gets House Vote Monday

A bill that would provide a statutory mechanism for the filing of complaints that campaign finance laws have been violated will be considered on second reading in the House Monday, Feb. 11.

HB 1041 sets up a procedure by which a person or persons who believe a violation of the campaign finance laws can file a complaint with the Secretary of State's office.

Colorado's campaign finance system is largely constitutional in nature. The relevant provisions of the state constitution are in Article 27, which was enacted by the voters in 2002. Under section 9 of that article citizens are authorized to file complaints, the merits of which are determined by an administrative law judge.

The bill also clean up the state's campaign finance statutes to make clear that enforcement of the constitutional campaign finance requirements is subject to the criteria and standards included in Article 27.

The bill is sponsored in the House by Reps. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, and Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder. Senate sponsors are Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver, and Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder.