Senator Steve Fenberg | Mindy
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Author: Mindy

13 Oct Steve’s 2020 Voter Guide

This is the moment we’ve been waiting (and bracing) for. Chances are good that you’ve made up your mind on the Presidential and US Senate races, but what about all those ballot measures? These can be especially confusing and not totally obvious at first, so I wanted to send along my thoughts. Take them or leave them. If you take them, consider forwarding this email to some folks to help them as well.

If you haven’t already received your ballot in the mail, it should arrive over the next few days. If you think you may need to update the address on your registration, go to GoVoteColorado.com to get that sorted out. As always in Colorado, you can mail your ballot back in, drop it off at a drop-box, or vote early at any polling site in your county.

Okay. Good. Now let’s go put out that dumpster fire.

-Steve

Cutting to the Chase

 

✅ I SUPPORT…                       ❌ I OPPOSE…
Amendment B                        Amendment 76
Amendment C                        Proposition 115
Amendment 77                       Proposition 116
Proposition EE                       Proposition 117
Proposition 113                                                 .
Proposition 114                                                 .
Proposition 118                                                 .

The Full Story

Amendment B: Repeal Gallagher Amendment
SUPPORT
The Gallagher Amendment started out as a good idea: to help restrain skyrocketing property taxes back in 1982. That was a long time ago and things have changed a bit. Now that this amendment has run its course (Colorado has very low home property taxes compared to other states), it has sort of become a Frankenstein that is wreaking havoc on our local tax systems. The result now is that commercial property tax rates have skyrocketed, causing mom-and-pop businesses to close down in droves. So what would Amendment B do? It would FREEZE property tax rates where they are right now. The only way the property tax rate will go up is if a vote of the people approves it. The benefit of doing this is that it will prevent an almost $500 million loss to schools, hospitals, fire protection and other local services that have suffered under Gallagher.
Who else supports: Gov Jared Polis, Denver Post, Boulder Weekly, Colorado AFL-CIO, Colorado Education Association, ProgressNow Colorado, Former Gov Bill Ritter, League of Women Voters
Amendment C: Conduct of Charitable Gaming
SUPPORT
Amendment C would amend the state Constitution to reduce the length of time required for non-profits to apply for a bingo-raffle license from 5 years to 3 years. It would also allow them to hire and pay workers to run the games. Currently, they are only allowed to use unpaid volunteers. Why is this in our constitution? Hard to say; I’d ask the people who put it there, but they’ve all been dead for a few decades.
Who else supports: New Era Colorado, ProgressNow Colorado, people who like Bingo?
Amendment 76: Citizenship Qualification of Voters
OPPOSE
Amendment 76 would amend the state Constitution to state that “only a citizen” can vote in Colorado instead of the existing language which says that “every citizen” can vote in Colorado. To be clear, there is already a requirement of citizenship to vote in Colorado elections, making this measure’s goals redundant under Colorado law. Amendment 76 was initiated by an out of state group from Florida, hoping to draw out anti-immigrant voters and intimidate immigrant communities. If it were to pass, it would overturn parts of the Colorado Votes Act, which allows 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the general election to vote in the primary. It would no doubt have a dampening effect on primary turnout, as well as overall turnout in young people and immigrant communities. Not cool.
Who else opposes: Colorado Education Association, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Colorado Working Families Party, Boulder Weekly, Conservation Colorado, New Era Colorado
Amendment 77: Local Voter Approval of Casino Bet Limits and Games in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek
SUPPORT
Amendment 77 would allow voters in the above cities to remove current bet limits and approve new casino games and would expand the current use of casino tax revenue for community colleges. Not the best way to fund education, but we really need to give more money to education, so….
Who else supports: Community Colleges
Proposition EE: Taxes on Nicotine Products
SUPPORT
Prop EE would increase taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products and also create a new tax on vaping products. The tax revenue will be distributed to preschool programs, K-12 education, rural schools, affordable housing, tobacco education and health care. Colorado has one of the highest rates of youth vaping in the country, and yet we do not tax vaping products. We also tax tobacco products at an extremely low rate. Increased taxes would likely result in decreased usage and lower negative health impacts, and the revenue would be directed towards much-needed education funding.
Who else supports: Gov Jared Polis, Colorado Education Association, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Healthier Colorado, One Colorado
Proposition 113: Elect the  President By National Popular Vote
SUPPORT
Prop 113 would ensure that everyone’s vote matters and is counted in presidential elections and that the winner of the popular vote is the person who ends up in the White House. The current electoral system means that only swing states get the attention of the candidates, instead of all states. By passing Prop 113, we would join a growing list of states that commit to awarding all of their state’s electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote nationwide once the agreement becomes binding. It only becomes binding when participating states represent more than half of all electoral votes, which is 270. If Prop 113 passes, that will bring the number of committed electoral votes to 196.
Who else supports: Denver Post, Colorado Education Association, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), Colorado Working Families Party, Conservation Colorado, One Colorado, New Era Colorado
Proposition 114: Reintroduction of Gray Wolves
SUPPORT
Prop 114 would direct the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to reintroduce and manage grey wolves in Colorado west of the Continental Divide by the end of 2023. Reintroduction would help ensure that a permanent gray wolf population is restored to western Colorado. Their reintroduction will help support a healthy ecosystem. Plus, wolves are so cool.
Who else supports: Denver Post, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club
Proposition 115: Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks
OPPOSE
Prop 115 would ban abortions after 22 weeks, even in cases of incest and rape, a lethal fetal diagnosis, or risk to a woman’s health. This is yet another attempt at banning abortion in Colorado. The decision a woman makes regarding her pregnancy belongs between her and her physician. The government has no business inserting itself into these very unique and personal decisions. For the tenth time, NO!
Who else opposes: Denver Post, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Cobalt, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Colorado Working Families Party, Conservation Colorado, One Colorado
Proposition 116: State Income Tax Rate Reduction
OPPOSE
Perhaps an income tax cut is appealing to you, but if Prop 116 passes, it would result in very little extra money in your pocket (literally like $30) while taking $150 million annually from things like public schools. Colorado already has one of the lowest income tax rates in the county. Our schools, hospitals and roads can not afford this tax cut, which will result in tremendous cost to the state and little benefit to the individual tax payer.
Who else opposes: Great Education Colorado, Boulder Weekly, Colorado Education Association, Colorado Fiscal Institute, Conservation Colorado
Proposition 117: Voter Approval for New State Enterprises
OPPOSE
If Prop 117 were to pass, it would require a vote of the people for any new state government enterprises that are expected to collect fee revenue over $100 million during the first five years. Created under TABOR, state enterprises
fund critical needs including our roads, higher education, environmental regulations and health care. The revenue we get from enterprise fees reduces pressure on our state budget and results in increasing funding. Along with Prop 116, these two initiatives are supported by a Koch Brothers organization (literally) and are reckless political stunts that threaten our economic recovery.
Who else opposes: Colorado AFL-CIO, Boulder Weekly, Colorado Education Association, Colorado Working Families Party, Conservation Colorado
Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program
SUPPORT
At some point, nearly everyone will need to take time off from work to care for themselves, a new child, or a seriously ill family member. Prop 118 would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave to all of Colorado’s workers. Employers and employees would each pay 0.45% of an employees wage. That would mean that the average Colorado worker would pay $3.83 per week.  No one should have to choose between paying the rent and caring for a sick parent. Let’s join, you know, the rest of the developed world and get this done.
Who else supports: ACLU of Colorado, Colorado AFL-CIO, Boulder Weekly, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Colorado Working Families Party, Conservation Colorado, One Colorado, New Era Colorado

Still wanting more??

Please join me, Speaker KC Becker and Rep. Edie Hooton on Thursday, Oct. 15th at 6pm to discuss all these initiatives.
Join via Zoom of Facebook Live
Onward,
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17 Jan First Week of 2020 Session

9 days down. 111 to go!

Time is already flying here at the Capitol with over 100 bills introduced in the State Senate. Over the next few weeks these bills will be headed to committees to get vetted. Be sure to keep an eye out for my weekly newsletter and social media to stay updated. We’ll also be announcing town halls shortly.

Here’s a brief look at the bills I introduced during our first week of session:

 

My First Four Bills

Eliminating Student Debt
My first bill, Senate Bill 4, would provide up to two years of loan payments for graduates of Colorado public universities who are enrolled in an income-based repayment plan. Titled “Get on Your Feet,” this legislation seeks to ease the burden of student loans that many Coloradans face as they’re entering the workforce and beginning their careers.

Read the Bill


Requiring Biodiesel in CO

Senate Bill 38 creates a statewide requirement for all diesel sold in Colorado to be blended with biodiesel. This will reduce the carbon and particulate output of diesel vehicles, which will help reduce ozone in the metro-area and improve air quality. This is just the first of several bills this session related to improving air quality.

Read the Bill


Reducing Wildfire Risks

My next bill, Senate Bill 18, creates a grant program for local governments and organizations doing outreach to homeless communities who are living on or near public lands. The outreach to this hard-to-reach community will include information about accessing basic homeless services, but also about reducing the potential for creating dangerous wildfires.

Read the Bill


Reforming Forced Arbitration

Senate Bill 93 aims to provide basic fairness and transparency in the use of forced arbitration. These arbitration requirements are ubiquitous in employment contracts and in many user agreements for basic things like software downloads, ticket purchases, real estate, etc. This legislation doesn’t outlaw arbitration, but simply gives Coloradans the same basic assurances of ethics and transparency that they would expect in a court.

Read the Bill
 

As always, please feel free to reach out with any comments, questions or ideas you may have. You can always call me at 303-866-4872 or email at steve@stevefenberg.org.

Onward,

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08 Jan Opening Week 2020

 

As the last decade rounded the corner, I knew my life was going to forever change. I was about to meet one of the most important people in my entire life. After months of waiting, my wife and I welcomed our baby girl, Isadora Yael Fenberg, into the world at 1:40pm on December 30th.

As I embark on another legislative session, which begins today, it’s clear to me that my world has changed a bit. I’ve changed. Now I’m a father.

 Now it’s personal. 

I’m more motivated than ever to fight for Colorado’s–and Isa’s–future. And, although this might be the sleep deprivation talking, I’m increasingly optimistic (and impatient!) when it comes to creating that future.

For example, I want Isa and other kids in Colorado to be able to play outside all summer long, not just on days when there isn’t a high ozone alert. That’s why I’ll be introducing legislation and fighting to aggressively clean up Colorado’s air quality. This includes funding for increased inspections of emitters, better engagement with the scientific community in policymaking, deeper and more continuous air monitoring for methane and cancer-causing emissions, and cleaning up dirty diesel emissions that cause ozone.

It also means giving local communities more control over the chemicals that are released into our air, land, and water. Currently, it’s illegal for a local government to have any oversight over where and when dangerous chemicals from pesticides are used. This session, I hope to change that. We all breathe the same air, drink the same water, and recreate in the same streams, so we should be more responsible about how each of our actions impact the health and safety of the larger community.

And, of course, there is still much work to be done on the existential threat of climate change. There will be several pieces of legislation this year to continue to take action on climate, but one that I’m very excited about is a bill that will provide incentives for homeowners, builders, and commercial property owners to phase out their use of natural gas for home heating. The technology for heat pumps and on-demand water heaters are here and we need to rapidly deploy them to replace outdated technologies that rely on fossil fuels for our daily living.

Of course, these are just a few issues. Over the coming days and weeks, I’ll be sharing more about the Senate Dems’ bold agenda. There are so many important issues that I and the Democratic caucus will be working on over the next 120 days–bringing down the cost of health care, providing student debt relief, and addressing our growing mental health crisis, just to name a few.

Time to get to work. Who needs to sleep??

 

Onward,

 

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