Colorado Confederation Of Clubs Keeping Eye On Legislators
By Tim Anderson
Once again, the Colorado Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs is taking the lead in the political arena as it affects Colorado motorcyclists.
The COC has hired lobbyist John Singer to represent the interests of the COC membership, and Colorado motorcyclists in general, during the upcoming legislative session.
The COC hired the former legislator-turned-lobbyist last year to help navigate the 2008 legislative session, and the group believes Singer will be of value again during the upcoming session.
While there is currently no proposed legislation of particular alarm for Colorado motorcyclists, that can change quickly. It was the last minute passage of Colorado’s under 18-helmet law on the last day of the 2007 session by what has been termed questionable or underhanded methods that prompted the COC to begin taking a more visible role in motorcycle politics statewide.
“We want to be prepared for whatever might happen during the dealings of the upcoming legislative session that may affect the rights of motorcyclists in this state,” explained the Liaison Officer for the Confederation of Clubs. “Hiring Mr. Singer to help us do that again is an important step. This will help put the interests of motorcyclists in front of legislators on issues that affect us directly, if things go that direction. At the very least, doing this will keep us more in tune with what’s happening at the capitol.”
As of the December 1, 2008, deadline for members of the legislature to request bills, it appeared no bills specifically targeting motorcyclists or motorcyclist rights had been pre filed. New members have until December 15, 2008, to file their requests, so there is still time for dangerous legislation to be introduced. The 2007 under 18-helmet law was introduced by then first-term Representative Diane Primavera, proving that the new legislators must be watched as carefully as the more experienced veterans of the capitol wars.
All bills, whether originating in the House or the Senate, must be filed by January 28, 2009.
In the past, motorcycle rights organizations have attempted to work in the legislative branch on their own, with mixed results.
Events of the past few years in Colorado, and around the country, convinced the COC membership it needed a different approach to the legislative process.
“It has become pretty clear over the last few years that we all need to be far more proactive than we’ve been in the past,” the COC Liaison Officer said. “Not just us in the COC, but all motorcyclists. The decisions made at the capitol affect all of us. We all need to be a part of this process.”
The COC and Mr. Singer will be keeping an eye out for any potential legislation that may affect motorcyclists, from helmet laws and federal government influence, to noise ordinances and discrimination issues. Special attention will also be given to the amendment process. Oftentimes, legislators try to sneak through an amendment tacked on to a bill as a way to advance controversial or weak legislation.
The COC does not expect that working with a lobbyist will make it a legislative bully.
“That’s not what this is about,” said the COC officer. “This is about keeping abreast of what our elected representatives are doing to us, and hopefully being in a position to make a difference when it comes to preserving our rights and having our voice heard at the capitol. Let’s face it, it’s tough for any group to be heard at the capitol, hopefully this approach will make sure our perspective is heard and considered.”
Just as important, according to the COC officer, bringing together the motorcycle community.
“We have to be united in being vigilant,” he said. As we’ve been putting this together some of the input and funds to hire Mr. Singer came from people who are not members of the COC. We see that as a good thing. The fact that there are people concerned enough about the issues we’re all facing to come be a part of tackling them is a positive step. It is a cornerstone of a new foundation of cooperation within the community. We’d like to continue that, and encourage people to find out what we’re about.”
The Colorado confederation of clubs is an organization of more than 40 Colorado motorcycle clubs fighting for the rights of all motorcyclists. To learn more, visit www.colorado-coc.com.