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Considering bills: Is this too much government?

As I analyze my vote on many bills, there are good and emotional arguments on each side.

Frankly, sometimes it is hard to make the decision. When it comes to the final third reading recorded vote I have two ways to go, yes or no. I can’t vote “present,” and I can’t hide and be “absent.” I have to make the tough call. Such was my decision to vote against Senate Bill 11-040.

This bill requires that all coaches and volunteers of any kind of athletic activity be required to get training in concussion safety. The testimony on the bill in the Health Committee was very emotional, and there was one example of a young man who died because he had not been treated properly.

I voted to send SB 040 to the House floor with a favorable recommendation convinced that it was the right thing to do, especially after remembering that my own son could have been seriously injured when he was knocked out in a junior high football game and put back in the game much too soon. During second and third readings on the floor, there were equally passionate arguments.

Representatives Jerry Sonnenberg, Jon Becker and Don Corum testified that this bill could have a very chilling effect on the recruitment of volunteer coaches and might, in fact, be the end of voluntary activities in rural areas. How many years have we gone without this law? Sometimes bad things happen even when you have laws. Coaches love those kids and would not do anything to hurt them. No one is perfect. What is the added liability to those volunteers because of this law?

It was tough, but I reversed my committee vote. However, the bill passed and will be signed into law. We will see what the results are, and maybe the law can one day be amended to address rural concerns.

One bill that I co-sponsored is House Bill 11-1267, sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth McCann. Current law requires defendants in domestic violence cases to stay away from the victim’s home or other locations where the victim might be found, to not have direct contact or indirect communication with the victim, to not possess firearms or other weapons, to not possess or consume alcohol or controlled substances, and other orders to protect the victim’s safety. This is to restrain a defendant from harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against, or tampering with the defendant.

HB1267 adds defendants of other crimes to the list for protecting victims. Some of those other crimes include sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, sexual assault on a child, sexual assault by one in a position of trust, sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist, child abuse, stalking, and retaliation against a witness or victim, to name a few.

I felt that these victims needed the extra protection. The bill passed third reading in the house on Friday and will go on to the Senate. Is this too much government? In this case I say, “No.”

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