A look at congressional non-action

To the editor,

It’s important from time to time to pay attention to just what our state elected officials are doing. Of course, a bill must pass both Colorado’s House of Representatives and Senate before being signed into state law by our Governor. Colorado’s House has a Democratic majority, while our Senate has a Republican majority.

The paralysis of our state Congress on crucial issues makes a lot of folks want to flip the Senate Democratic. Hundreds of voters want to elect active, effective candidates like Guinn Unger – willing to actually listen and develop policy based on voters’ real problems instead of party line bull. Politics shouldn’t be about parties – it’s about people’s actual lives and getting something done. If Republicans were taking the lead, they’d have my vote. But they’re actually blocking progress.

Check out below a small sample of the roughly 160 Democratic bills that were killed in committee by Senate Republicans since January 2017:

• HB 17-1328 Require Candidates to Disclose Income Tax Returns

• HB 18-1318 Require Presidential Candidate to Disclose Tax Return

• SB 17-150 Restrict Employment of Relatives by Public Officials

• HB 18-1378 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

• SB 18-004 Funding for Full-day Kindergarten

Are you concerned about drought protection? For whatever reason, our climate is shifting, so fire and water-supply risks are high. We need concrete action to ensure protection of our lands, livestock and crops. Most outdoor folks can see these changes and risks, so they recognize value in some version the following bills, which Democrats originated and Republicans killed:

• HB 17-1366 Measurable Goals Deadlines Colorado Climate Action Plan

• HB 18-1274 Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050

• SB 18-064 Require 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2035

But even office workers (who are perhaps less in tune with local ecosystems) can agree on these bills:

• HB 18-1297 Climate Change Preparedness and Resiliency

• HB 18-1301 Protect Water Quality Adverse Mining Impacts

• SB 18-117 Collect Long-term Climate Change Data

Why were these killed? I am very disturbed that our elected officials are not protecting our ranching and agricultural communities – and the rest of us – against drought and rising heat levels from carbon overuse.

How is your health care coverage and accessibility? I’ve got to hand it to Colorado House and Senate Democrats – they’ve been working hard to improve our health care. We apparently need to flip the Senate to Democratic majority, in order to pass great bills like these:

• HB 18-1205 Defray Individual Health Plan Costs

• HB 18-1260 Prescription Drug Price Transparency

• HB 18-1207 Hospital Financial Transparency Measures • HB 18-1009 Diabetes Drug Pricing Transparency Act • HB 18-1001 Family Medical Leave Insurance Program • HB 18-1384 Study Health Care Coverage Options

• HB 17-1121 Patient Safety Act

• SB 18-080 Wholesale Canadian Drug Import Program • SB 18-152 Prohibit Price Gouging on

Prescriptions Why do Republican senators vote against defraying health-plan costs? And against cost transparency of hospital charges and drugs? Who benefits from not importing less costly Canadian drugs? Why do our Republican senators protect the profits of Big Pharma, insurance and hospital conglomerates, while ignoring the rest of us who must choose between rent and treating our child’s illness?

I’m 62 years old, and I can remember Republicans doing great work on health care – why is that no longer true? Health care costs are either the largest expense in the monthly budget or downright unaffordable for most folks.

Let’s get some work done in this next term. Let’s elect a team of dedicated grassroots leaders who have been working on these issues consistently, like Guinn Unger for Colorado Senate.

– Kirby MacLaurin, Durango