Friday, March 23, 2012

Hill, Liston differ on immigration-related vote

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Rep. Larry Liston
  • Rep. Larry Liston

Saturday, the El Paso County's Republican delegates will be meeting to "elect candidates to the Primary ballot, vote on resolutions, and energize the proud Republicans of El Paso County!"

Twenty-two hours before this glorious event is set to begin, Owen Hill, candidate for Senate District 10, sent out a press release blasting his opponent over a committee vote.

What happened: a bill (HB12-1309) sponsored by local Reps. Marsha Looper, Mark Barker and Janak Joshi, as well as Sen. Keith King, would have forced employers to run perspective employees through a database to figure out just how "legal" they are:

Under current law, employers are required to examine, and retain records of examining, the legal work status of new employees. The bill enacts the "Colorado Mandatory E-verify Act", which requires all employers in the state, by January 1, 2013, to instead participate in the federal electronic verification program (e-verify program) for purposes of verifying the work eligibility status of all new employees hired by an employer. Employers are subject to fines of up to $5,000 for a first offense and up to $25,000 for a second offense for failing to participate in the e-verify program. For subsequent offenses, an employer is subject to a fine of up to $25,000 and a 6-month suspension of the employer's business licenses.

The bill went to the House Committee on Economic and Business Development, where Rep. Larry Liston is the chairman, and instead of voting the bill out of committee, it was amended and sent off to another committee.

According to Hill, this equates to sending the bill to the "political graveyard."

However, in an email, Liston countered:

I support E-verify and any responsible measure to reduce illegal immigration. That is why I voted FOR House Bill 1309 in Committee yesterday. As is customary in the General Assembly, committee chairmen can request bills be sent to their committee. Out of respect for Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, chairman of the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources committee, I honored that request, and nothing more. This bill has a direct impact on the oil and gas industry, as well as farmers and ranchers throughout Colorado, and deserves to be heard by a legitimate committee of reference.

From Hill's press release:

Dear Chet,

Just yesterday, we were provided with yet another clear example of why I'm running for Senate District 10. My opponent, Rep. Liston again joined the Democrats in playing political games on the important issue of immigration. While other Republicans had the courage to stand up and fight for what was right, Liston chose to duck for cover and send a good bill to the political graveyard. The bill at stake (HB 1309) is a requirement to check immigration status through an online database before anyone is hired, commonly called e-Verify.

According to Eli Stokols of KDVR, "the deciding vote was cast by the committee's chairman, Rep. Larry Liston."

With more than 2/3 of his campaign contributions coming from special interest groups, Rep. Liston has proven once again that he will not stand up for conservative values if he might lose some support from insiders. For more analysis of how Larry is being bankrolled by lobbyists and special interest groups, watch this video (

This is the reason I'm running for Senate. Procedural votes matter. Every vote matters. We simply cannot afford to have Republican legislators, who have been bankrolled by special interests, siding with the Democrats to kill good legislation all while scheming for political cover on the final votes.

We need strong leadership taking a stand on the important issues facing our state, protecting the integrity of our American way of life.



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