Jerry Kopel

KOPEL: IT'S THE LAW, BUT THE LAW IS UNCLEAR

Uh-oh! Flashing red lights in the rear-view

Spouse Dolores was driving our car west to Vail the afternoon of July 15. We were to attend a concert of George Gershwin music. Our car was in the right lane, getting close to the second exit to Vail, where we normally make our exit. We passed a semi-truck with two Vail police cars parked behind it off the road on the right shoulder. The red and blue lights on the roofs of the police cars were flashing.

KOPEL: DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING TELL LEGISLATORS WHAT TO DO

Sign language interpreters seek regulation

Almost all of us use sign language. Even if you are not deaf or hard of hearing, you probably sometimes use sign language instead of swearing in anger. Nearly everyone realizes that pointing upward with the middle finger is a curse. And it’s now supposedly “cool” for people to knock knuckles in a “fist bump.”

KOPEL: TOO SMART TO BE RIGHT

October victory didn’t stick in first election

Send me a politician. Let him or her be an attorney. Chances are high you will get a wrong answer to your question.

Unfortunate choices were part of the Colorado 1876 election and are still around to mock those “who know too much.”

KOPEL: COLORADO LOTTERY CURES THE WANG WANG BLUES

New lottery computer system will cost state less than the old one

The sweetest blue sounds came to me during the second week of July by way of Jack Boehm, who was appointed acting director of the Colorado Lottery in April 2008 and became the official director in July 2008. That sound was the news that the lottery’s ancient Wang computer system had been tossed out and replaced by “CLASS,” an acronym for a lottery computer system manufactured by IBM and presently in use in nine other lottery states.

KOPEL: CASINO TAX WOULD HELP HIGHER ED

Community college money there for taking

I seem to be the only one who has dared to suggest that the income raised by the state’s new casino tax be used to replace general revenue money for community colleges.

KOPEL: THE DEVIL, AS ALWAYS, IS IN THE DETAILS

Warranty of Habitability took 50 years to reach the law books, but will it work?

Colorado’s “Implied Warranty of Habitability for Residential Tenancies” is just a 10-month-old baby, born during the 2008 legislative session following a gestation period of 50 years. You could not expect it to be perfect, with 10 fingers and 10 toes. Those who carried House Bill 1356 fought hard to keep what they could keep to provide statutory protection for residential renters. But lots of pro-landlord language became part of the law, perhaps enough to render the new protections unusable. It’s too early to tell.

KOPEL: 'Rustling' can be beneficial

Stealing bills and amendments is a long and honorable legislative tradition

Recent news stories have centered on claims by state Republican legislators that, during the recently adjourned session, Democrats stole their bills or amendments and took credit for them. That usually happens when one political party controls both the House and Senate. In the past, legislators called this practice “rustling.”

KOPEL: CORRUPTION, FINANCIAL BUST WERE FACTORS

Colorado took a bumpy road to statehood

I’ve been reading about the battle in Washington, D.C., between legislators supporting or opposing statehood for Colorado, and the rift was much deeper than I had thought.

The issues will certainly appear very “modern” to current Colorado state legislators.

KOPEL: STANDARDS SET FOR EMBALMERS, FUNERAL DIRECTORS, OTHERS

Mortuary regulation just refuses to die

No bill is ever really dead in the Colorado Legislature. Comatose — perhaps for a long period — but always subject to being awakened.

Last year was finally the right time for passage of a “warranty of habitability” bill, a half-century after the first bill designed to guarantee that rental housing in Colorado is fit for humans was offered by two Republicans.

KOPEL: LEGISLATORS VET NURSING OCCUPATION

DORA suggests new regulation over RNs, LPNs, APNs and CNAs

It doesn’t always happen, but this time the executive branch “suggested” and the legislative branch “agreed.”

The Department of Regulatory Agencies’ review of the nursing occupation pretty well dominated Senate Bill 239 by Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, and Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley.