Tipton’s Statement About Today’s Vote On Health Care
Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton issued this statement following the vote in the House today to pass legislation (H.R. 3350) to allow insurance companies to continue to offer health care plans currently available for another year and give Americans the option to enroll in those plans.
“With millions of people feeling the pain of the President’s health care law, legislation to allow insurance companies to continue to offer Americans existing plans that would otherwise be canceled—which the House passed today—is a start, but it doesn’t address the inherent problems with the law. With premiums and deductibles sky-rocketing under the President’s health care law, rural Americans being penalized with higher premium costs than those in urban areas, providers forced to turn away patients because of the colossal expansion of Medicaid, and dismal enrollment numbers falling far short of the Administration’s goals, it’s clear that the President’s health care law is neither accessible nor affordable. With new issues arising almost daily from the disastrous rollout of the law, the President and Congressional Democrats can’t escape the fact that it is broken.
“Over the last month, there have been lots of changed attitudes in Washington about the President’s health care law—including the President’s own. The conversation is beginning to shift toward finding alternative solutions to the President’s health care law that would truly bring about accessible and affordable health care for all Americans. This is an opportunity to get health care right in this country by replacing what’s broken.
“We have an opportunity to work together to pass an alternative solution that truly expands affordability and accessibility—a patient-centered approach that allows for portability and pooling of coverage and ensures coverage of pre-existing conditions. This can be achieved through a market-driven solution that incentivizes enrollment with affordable access to quality care without forcing people to buy insurance they may not want through a mandate, enacts comprehensive tort reform to protect patients while preventing frivolous lawsuits, and rewards innovation in the health care delivery system.
“There are plans that have been introduced in the House of Representatives that are a good start to achieving these ends, including the Empowering Patients First Act (H.R. 2300), of which I am a co-sponsor.
“These ideas deserve a closer look, and I’m hopeful they will be included in the national conversation as to how we can truly bring about affordable and accessible health care in this country.”
OBAMA’S HEALTH INSURANCE “FIX” CREATES MORE QUESTIONS
It’s unclear how Colorado will be affected by President Barack Obama’s decision to allow the continued sale of insurance plans that would have been cancelled by year’s end because they don’t comply with the Affordable Health Care Act. The state’s Insurance Division is still looking into the implications of Obama’s announcement. Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar said in a statement that some carriers may choose to allow “early renewal,” or keeping a current plan through 2014. Nearly 250,000 Coloradans have received health insurance cancellation notices. Salazar said that the decision whether to keep existing plans is up to insurance companies. She said that keeping an existing plan “may be a reasonable choice” for some, but she warned that those extended plans won’t comply with new federal insurance mandates.
Anthony Tate Found Guilty
On November 14, 2013, after approximately four hours of deliberation, a Routt County jury found Anthony P. Tate III guilty of Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance for attempting to send more than 120 grams of powdered cocaine to Pennsylvania through FedEx. The jury also found Mr. Tate guilty of Possession of a Controlled Substance for the approximately 150 grams of additional cocaine found in his Steamboat Springs condominium.
Routt County District Judge Shelley Hill presided over the three-day trial. Assistant District Attorney Han Ng represented the prosecution. Larry D. Combs represented Mr. Tate.
District Attorney Brett Barkey stated, “This is an appropriate outcome for Mr. Tate, and we are grateful to the jury for their service and for their careful consideration of this case.”
District Attorney Barkey also stated, “I want to express my appreciation to the All Crimes Enforcement Team, Steamboat Springs Police Department and Routt County Sheriff’s Office for their work on this case.”
Mr. Tate will be sentenced on January 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm. Because of the amount of cocaine involved and because this is a second conviction related to the distribution of controlled substances, Mr. Tate faces a mandatory prison sentence of eight to 24 years.
Seth Cross-Pearson Sentenced
Today Seth Cross-Pearson was sentenced in Routt County District Court to four years of supervised probation for his sale of one pound of marijuana across state lines, a class five felony. As a condition of his probation he will serve 15 days in the Routt County Jail. His sentence follows his plea of guilty pursuant to a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Brett Barkey stated, “The voters have approved medical and personal use of marijuana in this state. However, voters made clear that to protect legal producers and users in this state, any distribution of marijuana grown in Colorado across state lines would be strictly prohibited. Mr. Cross-Pearson exceeded what the voters approved by selling his excess marijuana to a dealer in Pennsylvania.”
District Attorney Barkey stated further, “While law enforcement agencies in this district fully respect the right of Coloradoans to use and produce marijuana as set out in Colorado’s Constitution and Statutes, we will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who want to profit from out-of-state sales, particularly in the quantities involved here.”
District Attorney Barkey expressed appreciation to the agencies investigating this case, “I want to thank the All Crimes Enforcement Team (ACET), Routt County Sheriff’s Office, Steamboat Springs Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their work on this case.”
LAWMAKERS PREP WILDFIRE BILLS FOR NEXT SESSION
Tax credits for homeowners that conduct wildfire mitigation and a death benefit to wildland firefighters are among bills that Colorado lawmakers will introduce next year. The tax credit would cover half of the costs of mitigation done by homeowners. Another bill would give families of seasonal wildfires $10,000 to help pay for funeral costs if their loved one dies in the line of duty. A committee yesterday voted to introduce the bills during the session that begins in January. The committee also gave the go-ahead to introduce legislation that strengthens counties’ authority to prohibit agriculture producers from conducting burns on their property during high fire danger. Lawmakers also want to budget $3.25 million annually for five years for grants to help firefighters buy better equipment.
Mink On The Loose
About 600 mink have been let loose near the Western Knolls subdivision. The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office says it appears someone went into a mink farm’s shed and opened all of the cages, releasing the critters. The sheriff’s office is investigating. The mink farm was a hot topic of conversation at Tuesday morning’s Moffat County Commissioners’ meeting. Neighbors of the farm were upset bout the smell, and were concerned about soil and water int eh area being contaminated. The operators of the farm have not vacated the property as ordered, and are trying to get a conditional use permit to move it to a location near Moffat County Road 22 and Highway 13 north of Craig. The commissioners are hesitant in issuing that permit, and will revisit the request at next week’s meeting. Colorado Parks and Wildlife have been notified of the release, but the operators are responsible for recovering the mink.
TIPTON’S WATER RIGHTS BILL PASSES COMMITTEE
Yesterday, the House Natural Resources Committee passed Representative Scott Tipton’s Water Rights Protection Act with bipartisan support, clearing the effort to protect privately-held water rights from federal takings for a vote in the House of Representatives. Over the years, the Forest Service has engaged in numerous attempts to require the transfer of privately-held water rights as a permit condition, amounting to an outright federal taking. During an October 29th House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation hearing water users testified about their experiences with federal land management agencies interfering with their privately held water rights. The National Ski Areas Association reiterated support for the bill in light of the Forest Service announcement. Tipton introduced the measure in September with bipartisan support from Representative Jared Polis. It has received strong support from a broad coalition of local, state and national stakeholders, and a companion bill is being carried in the Senate by John Barrasso of Wyoming.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GUN LAW TOUGH TO COMPLY WITH
People trying to comply with Colorado’s new domestic violence gun law are finding it difficult to find places to turn in their guns. The new Colorado law requires suspects and restrained parties in domestic violence cases to store their guns and ammunition with authorities or authorized dealers, but many agencies will not accept them because they don’t have policies on how to deal with them. Suspects who are cleared of the offenses can get their guns back. The law says law enforcement agencies and others approved by lawmakers are not required to accept the guns and ammunition, even though violators face contempt of court charges.
MARIJUANA REGULATORS TRYING TO DETERMINE PRICE OF DRUG
Colorado regulators are trying to determine the price of marijuana in an effort to set new excise taxes that voters passed earlier this month. The tax places a 15 percent levy on the wholesale price of recreational marijuana when it moves between the grower and the seller. Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry won’t have a true wholesale market for at least nine months after sales begin. The tax rules are expected to be in place by Jan. 1, when the first retail marijuana stores open.
SMOKERS HAVE QUIT OPTIONS FOR GREAT AMERICAN SMOKEOUT
Smokers are being encouraged to quit during The Great American Smokeout November 21st. Quitting tobacco usually takes multiple attempts, but studies show support can significantly improve a person’s chance for success. The Colorado QuitLine gives free personalized cessation phone support, and they have a mobile service providing encouragement and tips to help young smokers quit. To sign up, text QUIT to IQUIT or go to smokefree.gov. The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association offers counseling with a tobacco cessation specialist in Steamboat Springs or Craig by calling 871-7634. There is no fee for the service.
SWEETWATER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE CLEANS UP ILLEGAL DUMP
The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an illegal garbage dump site near Rock Springs. Sheriff Rich Haskell said the dumped garbage was reported to his office through the agency’s Facebook page. Investigating deputies contacted the reporting party and located the dump site around eight miles south of Rock Springs off the Little Bitter Creek Road. The household garbage – 26 bags of it – was cleaned up and hauled away yesterday by a crew of sheriff’s deputies, inmates of the Inmate Community Service Program, and Sweetwater County Road & Bridge workers. Illegal garbage dumping continues to be a problem in Sweetwater County. Sheriff Haskell says it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, considering that garbage is often dumped at spots farther away and more difficult to reach than official landfills.