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Polis Is Listening To Us

Polis Is Listening To Us

Editor’s Note: Given recent action’s by Governor Polis, this article is somewhat out-of-date.


In the long term, I am more concerned about the growth of governmental control than the growth of COVID. I remember well the great advance towards socialism during the downturn of 2008 because of big government’s mantra of “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

Fool me once…

Now in the crisis of 2020, we at Independence believe we all must come together to find policy answers to ease the pain of those wrecked by the forced economic shutdown and the virus itself. But those solutions shouldn’t leave larger problems after the crisis ends. And this crisis will surely end.

On Monday I wrote you complimenting Governor Polis for some of the good de-regulation orders he approved during this COVID-19 crisis, and suggesting some more. Our suggestion about single-use plastics bags being much more sanitary than the reusable bags cities in Colorado are forcing on us was quoted in this Forbes article.

To the governor’s credit, after he read our note, he reached out to me to ask for more Independence Institute policy suggestions to help. We are happy to oblige. We wish Governor Polis all the luck in the world at this time. Coronavirus isn’t a partisan issue.

We understand many of our ideas cannot be implemented solely by the governor. Some will take legislative or municipal changes to happen, but Jared Polis can use his considerable pulpit to lobby for the ideas.

Here is our growing list of possible reforms and emergency actions in no particular order:

What Governor Polis should consider via emergency order or via the legislature if required by law:

  • Waive requirements for out-of-state telemedicine providers
  • Request a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver to eliminate burdensome rules with Medicaid
  • Grant nurse practitioners full practice authority
  • Licensing reciprocity for medical personnel from other states
  • Reinstate the Medicaid Consumer Directed Assistance program developed under Governor Bill Owens (Medicaid recipients get cash to hire their own Home Health Care aides, including family and neighbors, instead of going through government-run providers)
  • Lowering the minimum wage for home health care workers, so neighbors can be hired by neighbors, including the elderly
  • Lower minimum wage for all industries to help small businesses, especially the hospitality business.
  • Relaxing occupational licensing rules and regs so people can work. Giving haircuts in your home for money shouldn’t be a crime.
  • Grant pharmacists the ability to test and prescribe medication for non-chronic conditions
  • Suspend business licensing rules that interfere with solo or very small startups
  • Making non-narcotic meds available to people in a limited emergency basis, via pharmacies without prescriptions
  • Sales tax holiday
  • Suspend the “Amazon tax” as people order more online
  • Relaxing drone testing/delivery guidelines
  • Waive teacher regulations so that small groups can get together in neighborhoods and call it school
  • Lift Obamacare burdens for reporting so that doctors have more time to spend with patients
  • Repurpose money from electric cars and filming subsidies to health related initiatives
  • Contact the federal government to stop OSHA from preventing agencies, small businesses, etc. from making homemade hand sanitizer
  • Match the IRS deadline for filing taxes
  • Allow legislators to hold committee meetings and vote via teleconferencing so they can stay in their districts and let citizens testimony online.
  • Allow limited market activity in public parks. If you’re going to close the gyms, let them workout together with an instructor in the park
  • Suspend laws that prohibit people selling excess food to neighbors.
  • State tax break for businesses that are able to continue to pay employees through shutdowns.
  • State contract to manufacture sanitizer locally in bulk for EMS and hospitals until commercial supply chains recover
  • Legalize short term health coverage in the state. In 2019 the Dept. of Insurance allowed short term policies, but the amended regulations require covering all the benefits required by Obama Care. Also, they are guaranteed issue, have same medical loss ratio, and price-controlled rate bands making it unworkable. Out-of-work people might just need a one or two month policy until their employer opens the doors again.
  • Delay the implementation of any greening of state government goals and energy mandates if it has any additional expense attached to it or if it could aid in spreading the virus
  • Suspend ZEV and LEV goals on car and truck sales.
  • Recognize the need for hydrocarbon-based products (plastics) to fight the pandemic and suspend the new restrictive regulations on oil and gas development (also as a job stimulator).
  • Waive state testing requirements for the 2019-20 school year
  • Temporarily nullify all taxes on single use plastics
  • Relax calendar and instructional hours for K-12 education to allow for extended online learning
  • Parents should get some of the per pupil funding since they are home teaching the kids.
  • Allow legislators to hold committee meetings and vote via teleconferencing so they can stay in their districts and let citizens testimony online.
  • Lift the ban on alcohol leaving restaurants. When ordering food to-go, let them get alcohol too.

What can local governments might do:

  • Publicly ask for a waiver for outdoor production for hand sanitizer
  • Utilize electric cars and grids for energy backup
  • Transit district should close down wide parts of their service and provide vouchers for taxi or uber vouchers to those in need.
  • Nullify all taxes on single use plastics
  • Allow limited market activity in public parks. If you’re going to close the gyms, let them workout together with an instructor in the park

I will be keeping you updated about what Independence Institute is doing through this crisis. Be sure we are on the frontlines of defending our freedoms in Colorado and ensuring that those calling for more government during and after COVID-19 will not go unchallenged.

Our work is important, but our thoughts are with you and your family in this trying time. We know that as individuals, you form the bedrock of our society and only because of you are we able to undertake our mission.

I want to thank you again for your support and encouragement. Together we will create a future Colorado where we can truly keep government out of our lives and off our backs.

Think Freedom,

Jon Caldara
President, Independence Institute