Capitol Wrap: wildfires, adultery and a McNulty-Bartels Twitter war!
DENVER — It’s been a busy Tuesday morning at the state Capitol.
In the state Senate, lawmakers gave initial approval to a measure that will provide new guidelines and restrictions for prescribed burns.
The bill was recommended by a commission tasked with investigating last year’s Lower North Fork Fire, which was sparked by a prescribed burn that began during high-risk fire conditions.
Senate Bill 83, sponsored by Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, requires the division of fire prevention and control in the department of public safety to implement a prescribed burning program.
It also creates safety standards for conducting controlled burns, such as requiring that a certified burn manager be on site until a prescribed burn is controlled or out. The bill also establishes policies for addressing prescribed burns that escape their designated boundaries.
“It’s my hope that this bill demonstrates that we have learned the lessons of the Lower North Fork Fire,” Roberts said. “There should be set of clear rules and responsibilities for any burn on any public lands.”
The bill will get a final Senate vote before heading to the House for consideration.
House approves adultery ban repeal
In the House, the Democratic majority gave initial approval to a measure that will finally decriminalize an outdated adultery statute.
As FOX31 Denver reported, the law was drawn up in the 1850s, before Colorado was a state, as part of an effort to draw more women to the wild west.
Even though it’s rarely enforced, it’s never been repealed, with lawmakers expressing some squeamishness about possibly signaling their support for adultery by repealing the law.
The bill will head to the state Senate after a final House vote on Wednesday.
McNulty & Bartels go at it on Twitter over Jessica’s Law story
And, on Twitter, former Speaker Frank McNulty couldn’t help himself, firing back at the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels after her article dismantling of the GOP’s recent politicization of “Jessica’s Law,” which Democrats killed earlier this month.
In her article posted Tuesday morning, Bartels notes that the entire law enforcement community and even legal scholars agree that the law, which imposes mandatory minimum sentences on those who sexually assault children, isn’t needed in Colorado.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Libby Szabo, R-Arvada, appeared on Fox News with Bill O’Reilly Friday night and accused House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, who O’Reilly quickly pointed out was gay, of “protecting someone.”
Ferrandino, who has since received hate mail from people who saw the segment, believes that Republicans only introduce the bill when Democrats are in control, forcing them to either pass it or be attacked for being soft on sexual predators.
Republicans, meanwhile, have been steamed that Ferrandino sent the bill to his so-called “kill committee”, the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee where most GOP measures are quickly voted down, instead of the Judiciary Committee.
On Twitter, Bartels noted that “no Coloradans testified for” Jessica’s Law, completing her point-by-point dismantling of the GOP’s hysterical reaction to the whole process.
Enter McNulty, the former Republican House Speaker, who tweeted back: “Tough to get people there when [Speaker] has already determined (sic) fate of bill w [committee] pick.”
Bartels responded that McNulty, when he was Speaker, had a kill committee of his own, tweeting, “Like [you] did w/ civil unions in sp[ecial] sess[ion]?
McNulty, of course, blew up the legislature last May after civil unions reached the House floor, killing the bill and allowing Gov. John Hickenlooper to call a special session, in which McNulty dispatched the reintroduced civil unions measure to a fourth committee certain to vote the bill down.
McNulty, who saw Democrats take back the House majority by winning every competitive seat last November, shot back at Bartels about civil unions: “Waste of time & $ by [Hickenlooper].”