Jerry Kopel

KOPEL: WHAT CONSTITUTES UNFIT?

Senate Bill 185 pits tenants and landlords

It took the Colorado Legislature 50 years to pass a law stating that in return for rent paid by a residential tenant to a landlord, the tenant is entitled to have a place fit for a human to live in.

KOPEL: IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE?

Patients' rights should extend to the very end

If I had the choice, when my time comes, I would want it to be in my home, in my bed, circled by my family, while I close my eyes in sleep.

KOPEL: MR. SMITH AT THE CAPITOL

A rare look at the state Legislature - back when people actually smiled

A literate author and professional photographer will soon show his readers what the state Legislature was like in the early 1970s and perhaps go beyond those years. Morgan Smith, a Democrat who served as chairman of the Joint Budget Committee was writing his biography before realizing he was writing “Friends of Morgan Smith.”

KOPEL: AND SLOPPY LANGUAGE NEEDS TO BE REPLACED

'Make My Business Day' law needs more work

The “Make My Day” law in Colorado is now a quarter of a century old. Its language at CRS 18-1-704.5 has never been amended. There are two issues that need to be considered. One is an attempt tried in the past and again this year to include businesses, along with, presently, occupancy of dwellings. The offered bill would include businesses where owners or employees could lawfully wound or kill someone reasonably suspected of planning physical harm to a business occupant. The second issue is to replace present sloppy language in the law.

KOPEL: IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK

Colorado's prison costs keep climbing even with minimal rise in number of prisoners

Colorado continues to battle Maryland over which state is 22nd versus 23rd in number of prisoners in jurisdiction under state correct-ions. Nationally, seven out of every eight prisoners are in state jurisdiction prisons.

KOPEL: LEGISLATORS CAN COUNT ON CONTROVERSY

Results of Census will determine future reapportionment, redistricting

Long after the concern about medical marijuana is settled, the 2010 and 2011 legislatures will be dealing with reapportionment of the congressional districts and the state legislative districts. One person will decide which political party will control the state legislative districts. That person will be the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court.

KOPEL: MINIMUM STANDARDS SHOULD BE REQUIRED

Colorado’s deaf and hard of hearing community deserves competent interpreters

It’s time for legislators to treat Colorado’s 42,000 deaf and 350,000 hard of hearing citizens like you would want members of your family treated.

KOPEL: HOSPITAL MERGER DICTATES END-OF-LIFE CARE

Don’t let the Sisters determine my fate

People who have health insurance through Kaiser should know what is contained in “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, Fourth Edition,” a 16-page directive drafted by — and designed to guide — Catholic bishops across the nation regarding treatment of hospital patients. The directive covers the “Catholic moral principles” that patients will have to deal with, whether or not they agree with that standard.

KOPEL: GETTING KING HOLIDAY PASSED TOOK SOME MANEUVERING

King set an example of courage to follow

This coming Monday, Jan. 18, Colorado will celebrate the holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. The measure was successfully carried in the Legislature in 1984 by Rep. Wilma Webb, D, and Sen. Regis Groff, D, both of Denver. That ended 10 years of often bitter debate on the issue.

KOPEL: WILL DORA 'SUNSET REVIEW' MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSERS?

All politics are local — really, really local

This column is for legislators who got into office without wearing out a pair of shoes. Some of you reached the Statehouse through Republican or Democratic vacancy committee votes. Some have never had a convention battle, or a primary, or an opposition party candidate in the November election. It’s also for the candidates who are waiting to take you on.