April 12, 2007

Thursday Link Sweep

Gov. Bill Ritter "un-vetoes" legislation previously opposed by Gov. Bill Owens. Owens wielded the veto pen unhesitatingly, while his successor has only rejected two bills, one of which could be the most damaging to his party--HB 1072, that eased union voting procedures:
"What a difference an election makes," said Carrie Doyle, executive director of Colorado Conservation Voters. "Bill Ritter said he would be a 'stubborn steward' for the environment, and he is keeping his campaign promises."

For three years, Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, pushed for a bill that allows communities to increase their taxing capability to buy and maintain open space. It was vetoed twice but was signed into law this year.

"There are just different perspectives between the governors," White said.

"That's why people elect a governor in a different party. They expect change," said Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, D-Coal Creek Canyon.
Once again, politicians have a gift for pointing out the obvious.

One would expect that if the Colorado GOP regains a majority in either house, that Ritter would also yield his veto pen more often, just as Owens did with Democrats in the legislature. Democrats hold the power, and as expected, have pushed their party's agenda. Aside from Ritter's perceived misstep on the union bill, it is no surprise that Democrats are getting their way. The liberal blog Colorado Confidential lists the 64 bills that Ritter has signed so far.

A nannyist bill authorizing police to pull over drivers suspected of not wearing a seat belt has been defeated.

The recently enacted state-wide smoking ban has been ruled unconstitutional because of its exemptions. It is a horrible piece of nannyist regulation, designed to tell businesses that lawmakers know more about how they should run their ventures than allowing businesses to choose what services they offer or allow.

That a Republican--House Minority Leader Mike May, the sponsor of the Colorado Indoor Clean Air Act--brought forth this ridiculous legislation is disappointing. Business owners and employees should make the decision on whether or not to allow smoking at their facilities, not legislators. The exemptions (casinos, cigar bars, and the smoking lounges at DIA) only made the law even more ridiculous and open to the type of ruling made here. Perhaps we could truly enjoy the freedom we are promised when legislators on both sides of the aisle quit playing "government knows best" with our rights.

David Harsanyi nails it:
If all you need is a Jesus Complex and a seat in the legislature to ban unhealthy activity, what stops Boyd, Johnson et al. from banning hazardous activities like eating at fast-food restaurants, rock climbing or getting married?

"It bothers me that we are becoming a nanny state," explains the Harvard-educated Martin. "I don't smoke. I'm married to a Mormon, who hates it when I come home smelling like smoke. But shouldn't it be the individual's personal choice to smoke or not? In bars and nightclubs, a person should be able to enjoy smoking as a social activity - a legal activity between consenting adults - if the owner allows it on his property?"

No. No. No.

According to legislators, you must be healthy and safe, not happy or free.

Though there is little precedent, Martin believes there are various legal avenues to use, and he will appeal if Adams County court is overturned.

"If smoking is legal and a legal substance, then we should have the fundamental freedom of association and action. We should be able to partake in the activity within reasonable bounds," explained Martin. "It should be up to owners to decide what happens on their private property. Not allowing a business to choose erodes their basic freedoms. Even if those freedoms entail making unhealthy choices."