The Matt Soper Luncheon - what you missed.
by Delta County GOP Chairman Dave Bradford
The Delta County Republican Central Committee held it’s first luncheon, since the Covid-19 lockdowns were initiated last year. State Representative Matt Soper met with a group of 30-some people at CB’s Tavern in Delta on Thursday, June 10, 2021. Representative Soper reviewed what were mostly lowlights of the 2021 Colorado Legislative session, while attendees enjoyed sandwiches and cold soft drinks. I say lowlights because there weren’t many positives that came out of that session. Rep. Soper said this was the most extreme session of the three years he has served in the Legislature.
The imbalance in the Colorado Legislature is having a huge effect on the number of bills that are being introduced and passed. There were 623 bills introduced in this session and 502 were passed by the Legislature. There are 65 House seats and 35 Senate seats in the Colorado Legislature. Currently in the House there are 41 Democrats (63%) and 24 Republicans (37%); in the Senate there are 20 Democrats (57%) and 15 Republicans (43%). This large Democrat majority is making it extremely hard for Republican legislators to influence all the Democrat bills. At best, the Republicans can “chip away at the edges” to reduce the worst aspects of these bills and if they are lucky they can stop the worst of them. The only solution to this is to regain control of the Senate and reduce the Democrat majority in the House.
Matt noted that after the Legislature was suspended on March 14, 2020, due to Covid, this seemed to give the Democrats more time to work on pet projects and when the legislature reconvened the legislation got longer and much more partisan. Matt spoke for nearly an hour and a half, including taking numerous questions from the audience. The following is a summary of Matt’s presentation:
The “Bad” bills:
1) Senate Bill 260 Transportation Bill (a 200-page bill) adds numerous fees and taxes.
2) Senate Bill 271 Overhauls Misdemeanors in Colorado (a 350-page bill).
3) Energy and Environment Bill 200 (a 25 page bill). The first version was killed. The Senate added another 25 pages to amend it, renamed Bill 266 and it passed on a party line vote. Matt called it the "Turducken" bill. "Smoke & Mirrors" bill. Not sure Polis will sign it. He was not going to sign the first version.
4) HB-1232 - Mandated Public Health Bill. It was amended to a General Health State Mandated Medicaid & Medicare bill. Republicans were able to get one part out where Doctors would have to take a Standardized Insurance over Medicare or Medicaid.
5) Pharmaceutical Bill -new pharmaceutical meds coming out, price could be set by a "price setting board". Costs could be too high for patients.
6) HB-1162 Plastic Bags Bill, which will ban plastic bags & Styrofoam. This will start in a year. Some amendments were added. There are 2 pages of exemptions, which include Agriculture use and medical use. Change to charging $.10 for a paper bag.
7) Gun Bills that passed: (Matt said there were 4).
a) SB-078 Lost or Stolen guns, must be reported within a certain time period by the owner.
b) HB-1106 Gun safe Bill. Must be stored in a locked storage unit.
c) SB-256 Allows counties and cities to ban concealed carry rights.
d) HB-1299 Creates Office of Gun Violence Prevention.
8) SB21-87 Farm labor bill. Agricultural workers can unionize, receive minimum wage, overtime and strike. Can collectively demand wage change.
“Good” Bills that did pass:
1) HB21-1289 Broad Band Bill did pass. Will get Broad Band to more remote areas
2) SB21-73 Extends the statute of limitations for civil actions for sexual assault.
3) SB21-88 creates a new law that an institution is liable if they cover up sexual abuse. Helps fight more for victims instead of protecting criminals.
4) New Suicide #988 number passed by Cory Gardner is passed in the state. Backed by President Trump.
5) HB21-1317 (Major bill in Colorado.) Is about regulating prescription, studying potency of Marijuana. (1 out of every 2 lobbyists were being paid by promoters of Marijuana.
HB21-1037 - Matt introduced a bill that required the wolf introduction to be limited to Counties that voted for them. The Sierra Club flew people in to stop it. Did create some publicity. Ultimately, it did not pass.
Matt also spoke about redistricting which an Independent Commission is determining now. Matt wanting Delta to still be part of Mesa County. (The draft map of the new Congressional Districts came out this past week; the Legislative District Map is scheduled to follow soon). There are opportunities to comment on these Draft Maps.
As I have noted before, former legislator Kevin Lundberg of Larimer County, writes a website called the Lundberg Report, http://kevinlundberg.com, that keeps track of legislation that is being considered by the Colorado Legislature. This is a great site to use when the legislature is in session. Mr. Lundberg also writes the report in the “off-season” and it is worth reading for his insights on what was good, bad and UGLY in the last session.
As you can see, there was a lot discussed at the Representative Matt Soper’s Luncheon. For those of you who read the June 16, 2021 edition of the Delta County Independent (DCI) you might wonder if the reporter was at the same luncheon as the one I described above. And you would be partially right. The DCI reporter came in over ½ hour after Matt started speaking, stayed less than ½ hour, and jumped up and left after an audience member made a very poor joke about the wolf introduction and gays and lesbians. The reporter spent over half the article discussing homosexual issues. The headline for this edition blared, “Rep. Matt Soper apologizes for inappropriate comment.” The article went on to discuss at great length an event that took up a less than 2 minutes of Matt’s presentation, while ignoring the majority of what Matt spoke about. The reporting seems to reflect an issue that the reporter is concerned about more than what actually happened at the luncheon. But as the article notes, Representative Soper took responsibility for his response and apologized. However, I cannot let Matt take all the responsibility. We should have used a more structured format for the presentation. In the future we will be using a moderator. In addition, let us remember that the media attends many of our events and they often are more interested in promoting a narrative or a personal agenda than in reporting what actually happened. We are also planning to add more structure to our events to manage late arrivals and provide recognition of any media to give them a proper location to do their work.
The DCRCC felt the Matt Soper luncheon got our activities off to a good start, after the long Covid lockdowns, and we are looking forward to our next luncheon, which is scheduled for gubernatorial candidate Danielle Neuschwanger on July 15th. Stay tuned to the website and click on the EVENTS tab for details!
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June 28, Monday
THE SECRET IS OUT! There will be a Delta County townhall MONDAY, JUNE 28 with State Representatives Matt Soper (District 54) and Julie McCluskie (District 61) at the Delta County Fairgrounds at high noon! Do you have something to say? Rare opportunity to let your voice be heard.
July 3, Saturday
Cherry Days Parade - Paonia We will have a booth and a float. Click on EVENTS tab for more information.
Call to Action! 15 VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
Colorado Ranch Rodeo, Saturday, July 3rd. Delta County Fairgrounds 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM Join us for this fun one time opportunity to volunteer! Help us sell admission tickets for the event and rifle raffle tickets at the entrances of fairgrounds! CONTACT DONNA DELEFF TODAY!! 970-209-1539
July 6, Tuesday
Delta County Republican Central Committee monthly meeting. Begins at 6:00PM Click on EVENTS tab for more details