Columns » Public Eye

Out with the old


The big issues of the year for Colorado are shaping up to be immigration, Referendum C and the evolution of Jake Plummer's beard.

On second thought, no one cares about Plummer's beard anymore.

But in the coming months, expect Republican Rep. Dave Schultheis, reminiscing fondly about hunting for illegals in the hot Arizona sun, to swagger about and utter platitudes about the downfall of the nation.

Surely, expect that at least some of the money from Ref C, which voters were promised would be used for education and health care -- that's education and health care -- will melt into asphalt before lawmakers are through.

And while the big dogs are duking it out in the headlines, plenty of other proposals are being yapped about under the golden dome in Denver.

This legislative session, for example, Republican Rep. Richard Decker of Fountain is pushing a law that would require anyone in the business of scrapping cars to contact law enforcement before crushing a vehicle into oblivion, to make sure it wasn't stolen.

Rep. Lauri Clapp, a Republican from Arapahoe County, wants to eliminate the mandatory 90-day waiting period before a court can enter a decree of dissolution of marriage.

Boulder Democratic Sen. Ron Tupa and Arvada Rep. Debbie Benefield are pushing a plan that would ban school districts from employing physical education teachers who do not have actual PE endorsements on their teachers' licenses, or who are not highly qualified "as determined by the school district."

El Paso County Republican Sen. Doug Lamborn is introducing a bill to create a special bronze-star Colorado license plate.

Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Boulder, wants to require homesellers to disclose whether their property ever has been used as a methamphetamine laboratory.

And Republican Rep. Keith King of Colorado Springs has a plan to let people who complete teacher-in-residence programs immediately qualify for professional teachers' licenses. In addition, King wants to legally change the term "resident teacher" to "teacher in residence."

Every year, Colorado's 100 senators and members of the House of Representatives get to introduce five -- and sometimes more -- bills that they want made law. That's the makings of a lot of new rules coming our way.

Of all these bills, our favorite, by far, is the bipartisan bill being brought forth by Sen. Dave Owen and Rep. Fran Coleman, who want to get rid of obsolete language from 28 outdated statutes.

Colorado, for example, used to be a sugar-beet mecca, and some years ago, the Legislature created a rigid set of rules for "farmers chemists" in sugar factories.

"In addition to observing "the weighing, docking, taking of samples, and analyzing of all beets delivered to the factory to determine the quantity, quality, and value of the beets," a chemist "shall make and keep such records as he deems necessary for the purpose of comparing his readings and observations with the records of the sugar factory and for such other purposes as he may be directed by the farmers."

If Owen and Coleman want to get rid of that old statute, steady on, we say. They also want to repeal the bounty on coyotes and wolves. This is how the law currently reads:

"Any person who kills any wolf, coyote, or any number of such animals within this state, shall receive a premium of one dollar for each coyote killed, and for each wolf killed two dollars

"Any person claiming any premium shall produce the scalps, including the entire ears, to the county treasurer of the county in which the wolf or coyote was killed, within three months after the killing, and shall take or subscribe the following oath before the treasurer: 'I do solemnly swear that the scalp here produced by me this day is of a wolf, or coyote and that the said animal was killed within the boundaries of the state of Colorado.' "

Yes, there's nothing like wiping the slate clean. It's hard to imagine what future generations will find archaic, even unseemly. Dave Schultheis, perhaps?


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