By Legislative Liaison Carolyn Martin
All Glory to God! He Has Shed His Grace on Us!
Walking into the Capitol the first day after the over 10-week recess, the atmosphere was dark and somber. Honestly, it felt like walking into a tomb. All the shades were down and the building was essentially empty. The fear of the virus was tenable.
Within days, the protests broke out in Denver, and the building was a target for vandalism. Profanities and graffiti against the police and the government in general were plastered on the building. The statues enshrining our freedom that surrounded the building also bore the anger of the protestors. In response, the legislature shut down for several days hoping the violence would cease, but there was no end in sight.
Despite the Speaker of the House, KC Becker, saying she desired to work only on legislation that was “fast, friendly, and free,” one of the most contentious bills, SB20-163 School Entry Immunization, was scheduled for a committee hearing on a Sunday at noon. With only two days for the medical freedom groups to muster up their troops, a rally was scheduled and over a thousand people showed up to hear Robert F Kennedy, Jr and Michelle Malkin encourage them.
The committee hearing was tightly controlled by the chair and the testimony severely limited. The crowd never stopped chanting and their voices could be heard resonating in the committee room! Unsurprisingly, the bill passed on a party line vote and headed to the House floor for debate. During the debate many amendments were voted on but only the addition of a petition clause passed. SB20-163 passed the House with one Democrat (Representative Kraft-Tharp) voting against the bill.
Meanwhile, HB20-1297 Immunization Status & Child Abuse Neglect was brought back from the dead and moved quickly over to the Senate. Our hope was to get this bill amended to exclude homeschoolers from the new immunization record requirements. (When the Senate amended the bill before the recess, it didn’t really exclude any homeschoolers so it needed to be fixed.) The end of session was coming quickly and the bill was not being brought forward in the Senate, so we encouraged homeschoolers to make calls asking the bill to be scheduled for a hearing and an amendment considered. Our phone calls made a difference and the bill was scheduled for committee the next day. The homeschool exemption amendment did not make it on to the bill, but it is still a good bill and will protect families from being targeted for abuse or neglect charges based on immunization status or whether their data was put into the immunization tracking system. At the end of it all, only two Democrats voted against this bill (Representatives Bri Buentello and Alex Valdez).
Our attention then shifted back to SB20-163. It sat on the calendar in the Senate for several days, waiting for their approval of the amendment from the House and giving the needed time for legislators to consider the unfinished homeschool issue. Senator Lundeen led the way to make sure the bill was amended to truly exclude homeschoolers from the new requirements. Because of the support and engagement from the homeschoolers, the work of several legislators who support homeschool liberty, and the favor of the Lord, the bill was successfully amended to provide some protection from government overreach into our homeschools. The bill remains a bad bill and sets a horrible precedent for more government control over families.
Please, thank the legislators who worked on our behalf! Find information here.
Look for more information on the full impacts of SB20-163 as they become known here.
We will continue to see more encroachment on our liberties. These wins should be looked upon as a respite from the Lord. I hope that you will take some time to educate yourself on the origins and design of our liberties so we can stand to fight another day!
Trusting in the mighty power and grace of Jesus,
Carolyn Martin, CHEC Legislative Liaison