STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
SENATE COMMITTEE ON STATE, VETERANS & MILITARY AFFAIRS
|Bills Addressed: ||Action Taken:|
Amended, Referred to Finance
Senator Williams, Chair, called the meeting to order.
02:38 PM -- SCR 09-001
Senator Lundberg, prime sponsor, presented Senate Concurrent Resolution 09-001, submitting to the registered electors of the State of Colorado an amendment to Article X of the constitution of the State of Colorado, concerning the creation of a state savings and trust fund. He said that the concurrent resolution will allow the amendment of the state constitution and create a "rainy day fund" for the state. He said that he has considered this matter since 2003, and that the state needs a system by which funds are set aside for fiscal emergencies in the future. He said that the state should not spend more than its income, and that the proposal will benefit the state in future economic downturns.
|BILL:||SCR 09-001 |
|TIME: || 02:56:31 PM|
|MOTION:||Moved that Senate Concurrent Resolution 09-001 be postponed indefinitely. The motion passed on a 3-2-0 roll call vote.|
Final YES: 3 NO: 2 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
02:57 PM -- House Bill 09-1094
Senator Bacon, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 09-1094, concerning wireless telephone prohibitions for drivers, and making an appropriation in connection therewith. He noted that it is currently a violation of Colorado law for persons with a learner's permit to use a cell phone while driving. He commented on persons who are exempted from the cell phone prohibition by the bill. He commented on studies relating to the safety of using a cell phone while driving, and noted those states that have some sort of restriction on cell phone use while driving in law. He said that more than 80 percent of the population supports restrictions on cell phone use while driving. He added that studies have found that the use of a cell phone while driving is similar (in terms of the hazard presented) to driving while intoxicated. He said that enactment of this law nationwide would save 2,600 lives annually, including an estimated 40 lives saved annually in Colorado. He said that drivers endanger themselves and others when they use a cell phone while driving. He said that cell phone usage has a much higher prevalence than other types of driver distractions.
The following persons testified in regard to House Bill 09-1094:
03:14 PM -- Bobby Juchem, representing the Colorado State Patrol, supported House Bill 09-1094. He noted that the Colorado State Patrol tracks information relating to driver distractions, and the involvement of driver distractions in traffic accidents. He said that five fatal accidents occurred in Colorado last year due to cell phone usage. He noted that these incidents can be reported at the telephone number *CSP. Senator Schultheis inquired as to why there are any exemptions of certain persons in the bill. Senator Bacon said that it is "a trade-off" that certain public safety officials be exempted from the bill. Mr. Juchem commented on persons who are exempted in the bill, including truckers. Senator Schultheis inquired in regard to the exemption of persons who are transportating freight.
03:32 PM -- Dianne Roth, representing Verizon Wireless, supported House Bill 09-1094, and said that the bill promotes safe driving.
03:35 PM -- Jeff Emmel, representing Bike Fort Collins, supported House Bill 09-1094, and said that traffic safety has degraded in Colorado in recent years. He commented on a fatal traffic accident involving cell phone usage by a driver, and said that inattentive driving is the cause of a large percentage of traffic accidents in Colorado. He commented on a case in which a father crashed his car while answering a cell phone, resulting in the death of his child. He said that cell phones are an addictive technology. He said that the United States is alone among the top 40 developed countries in the world in allowing the use of a cell phone in an automobile. He said that this technology should not be used in an automobile.
03:50 PM -- Shelley Forney, Fort Collins, representing herself, commented on the life of her daughter, Erica Forney. She said that on November 25, 2008, her daughter was riding her bicycle home from school, and was 15 seconds from home, when she was hit and killed by a driver who was using a cell phone. She said that the public should be made aware of the tremendous dangers of using a cell phone while driving. She said that no other lives should be lost as a result of cell phone usage while driving. She noted that the driver who killed her daughter was charged with careless driving resulting in death and will be required to perform community service, make a $1,500 charitable contribution, and participate in an aggressive driving course.
|TIME: || 04:09:31 PM|
|MOTION:||Moved that House Bill 09-1094 be referred to the Committee on Finance, as amended. The motion passed on a 3-2-0 roll call vote.|
Not Final YES: 3 NO: 2 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
The committee meeting recessed.