Skip to main content
Colorado General AssemblyToggle Main Menu
Agency NameToggle Agency Menu

h_lg_2017a_2017-05-03t13:39:47z1 Hearing Summary

Date: 05/03/2017

Location: Old Supreme Court Chamber

Final

BILL SUMMARY for HB17-1327



HOUSE COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT


Votes: View--> Action Taken:
Adopt amendment L.002 (Attachment F). The motion p

Postpone House Bill 17-1327 indefinitely. The moti

Refer House Bill 17-1327, as amended, to the Commi
PASS

PASS

FAIL







01:41 PM -- HB17-1327



Representative Salazar, bill sponsor, presented HB17-1327 concerning Columbus Day. Currently, Columbus day is one of 10 legal holidays in Colorado. Section 2 of the bill repeals Columbus day as a state legal holiday. Consequently, in order to maintain the number of days off enjoyed by state employees, section 3 grants state employees an annual 'floating' holiday, on a day in October of each employee's choice, in accordance with rules promulgated by the Department of Personnel and subject to approval by each employee's supervisor. Section 1 contains a nonstatutory legislative declaration, and sections 4 and 5 make conforming amendments.



Representative Salazar relayed that this bill has been a long journey and is the result of a culmination of history. He emphasized that the bill is not about attacking the Italian American community or racism. He relayed that there are different versions and interpretations of history, but Christopher Columbus was a renowned slave trader who was stripped of his titles because of crimes against humanity. Further, Representative Salazar explained that Columbus supported colonization and triggered the genocide of Native Americans. He emphasized that the state should not be celebrating this man with a holiday.



Representative Salazar answered questions from the committee about the legislative declaration in the bill, the doctrine that allowed for the taking of land in 1492, the positive aspects of Columbus' journey and arrival in the Americas, and the differences between this bill and the one that was presented last session. He explained that Columbus Day has been a state holiday in Colorado since 1907.



02:12 PM -- Professor Tink Tinker, representing himself, spoke in support of the measure. As a professor at Iliff School of Theology, he provided an historical perspective on Columbus. He answered questions from the committee regarding slave trading, Columbus' origin and nationality, death, famine, disease, and colonization. He distributed an article he authored regarding Columbus (Attachment A).



17HouseLocal0503AttachA.pdf17HouseLocal0503AttachA.pdf



02:33 PM -- James Caffrey , representing the Knights of Columbus, testified in opposition to the bill. He reported that Columbus has been unfairly blamed for atrocities and that he should instead be judged within the context of his times.



02:39 PM --
Dr. Rita DeFrange, representing the Columbus Day Parade, spoke in opposition to the bill. She emphasized that Columbus was a man ahead of his time, and that Columbus Day is an opportunity to celebrate Italian heritage. She brought up the slippery slope of removing holidays and the difficulties payroll will face with a floating holiday. She reported that there are many interpretations of history, and that this bill pits cultures against each other. She provided a handout of her testimony (Attachment B) and answered questions from the committee.



17HouseLocal0503AttachB.pdf17HouseLocal0503AttachB.pdf



02:43 PM --
Gina Franciamore-Knaak, representing the Sons of Italy Lodge in Colorado Springs, spoke in opposition to the bill. She explained that Columbus was probably not a great guy, but the holiday is important to bridge the gap between the old world and the new. She distributed a copy of her testimony (Attachment C) and answered questions from the committee.



17HouseLocal0503AttachC.pdf17HouseLocal0503AttachC.pdf



02:51 PM




Representative Gray stated that the committee is not qualified to vote on a version of history and rather this bill should be viewed as an opportunity to debate the structure of state holidays.





02:54 PM




Representative Salazar explained that the mechanics of a floating holiday are simple and cost-effective.



03:03 PM -- Richard Mancuso, representing himself and the Sons of Italy, spoke in opposition to the bill. He reported that Columbus was not a slave trader and that atheists and communists have been attacking Columbus Day since 1992. He also expressed concern about a perceived trend to decrease the number of holidays.



03:07 PM --
Barbara Pietraeeso, representing herself, testified against the bill. She provided statistics regarding the number of Native Americans and Italians in Colorado and stressed that more Italians would be affected by this bill. She recalled celebrating Columbus Day with friends and family in North Denver and answered questions from the committee.



03:10 PM --
John Panepinto, representing the Sons of Italy lodge in Pueblo, spoke in opposition to the bill. He discussed the Christopher Columbus Memorial Sculpture in Pueblo and disputed history that does not look favorably upon Christopher Columbus.



03:19 PM --
Tony Polisi, representing himself, spoke in opposition to the bill. He discussed the relationship between the Italians and Columbus and the discrimination Italians faced upon immigrating to the United States.



03:23 PM --
James Vecchiarelli, representing himself, testified in opposition to the bill. He expressed his viewpoint that Columbus was not responsible for genocide against indigenous people and offered a brief history of slavery. He answered questions from the committee and provided a handout of his testimony (Attachment D).



17HouseLocal0503AttachD.pdf17HouseLocal0503AttachD.pdf



03:27 PM --
Francis Brehm, representing the Sons of Italy, spoke in opposition to the bill. He expressed his viewpoint that Columbus is being unfairly maligned and that slave trading was part of the regular course of business in 1492. He answered questions from the committee about holidays and slave traders.



03:47 PM --
Gerald Louis Carleo, representing the Sons of Italy, testified against the measure. He stressed that the bill creates conflict and derision and that there are more important issues to worry about in Colorado.



03:50 PM --
David Stauber, representing the Knights of Columbus, testified in opposition to the bill. He encouraged the committee to examine the bravery exhibited by Columbus and expressed concerns about other holidays.



03:53 PM --
Tom Tancredo, representing himself, spoke in opposition to the bill. He spoke of indigenous people, savagery, and emphasized that Columbus Day is about western civilization, not necessarily the man Columbus.



04:01 PM -- Bob Giusto, representing the Sons of Italy, spoke in opposition to the bill. He claimed that he does not celebrate Columbus on Columbus Day but rather the new world. He suggested there is room for compromise on the bill.





04:10 PM



Representative Gray brought up the state holiday aspect of the bill again, and discussion ensued about that and celebrating Italian Americans.



04:12 PM
- Amy Zuckerman, representing herself, testified in support of the bill. She discussed the jurisdictions and institutions that do not celebrate Columbus Day and explained the city of Boulder's resolution on the subject. She distributed Boulder's resolution (Attachment E) and a copy of her testimony (Attachment F).



17HouseLocal0503AttachE.pdf17HouseLocal0503AttachE.pdf 17HouseLocal0503AttachF.pdf17HouseLocal0503AttachF.pdf



04:15 PM --
Walking Sky Yarbrough, representing herself, spoke in favor of the measure. She reported that this is a good start in figuring out ways in which people of different ethnicities can support each other.



04:19 PM --
Rita Martinez, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill. She discussed the Columbus Day parade in Pueblo and how it has become volatile.



04:23 PM --
Chenoa Francis and her younger brother, representing themselves, testified in support of the bill. She relayed that she is a high school student and part of Mile High UNITY youth council. She discussed school curriculum and the chance to stand for change. She answered questions from the committee about conquistadors and other holidays. her younger brother reported that it is painful and hurtful to sing songs and learn poetry about Columbus.



04:28 PM --
Unity Cincent Sferrazza, representing himself and Herbal Gardens Wellness, spoke in support of the bill. He reported that he works for an indigenous-led non-profit organization and has learned over the years that Columbus was wrong. He reported that repealing the holiday would assist in restoring historical accuracy and responded to committee questions





04:32 PM




The committee discussed school curriculum and holidays celebrating other cultures.



04:46 PM -- Carmen Arteaga, representing herself, testified in support of the bill.



04:51 PM -- Eleanor Cabell, representing herself, testified in support of the bill. She discussed her family's personal experience with the removal of indigenous people from their lands.



04:54 PM --
Darlene January, representing herself, testified in support of the bill. She discussed her personal heritage.



04:58 PM --
Shari Stratton, representing herself, spoke in favor of the bill. She provided her viewpoint regarding the colonization of the country and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.



05:04 PM --
Rachel Kills Small, representing herself, testified in support of the bill. She explained through sign language and an interpreter that she is from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and that they do not celebrate Columbus Day there.



05:06 PM --
Rudolfo Balles, representing himself, spoke in favor of the measure. He discussed the Columbus Day parade in Pueblo and how it has turned into a divisive event. He also mentioned school curriculum and being taught nothing about indigenous peoples.



05:12 PM -- Sun Rose Iron Shell, representing herself, testified in support of the bill. She discussed school curriculum and the problems associated with sanctioning Columbus with a holiday. She relayed that Italian Americans can visit Italy and find their roots, but that her roots are buried here in this country.



05:16 PM --
Aniwna, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill. She explained that she is indigenous to this continent and that people should not be forced to celebrate this holiday.



05:19 PM --
Olivia Lorea, representing herself, spoke in favor of the bill. She relayed that she is an Italian American and does not believe that Italian heritage needs to be tied to Columbus.



05:20 PM --
Brighton Dawn Finger, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill.



05:24 PM --
Charlotte Perez, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill. She relayed that Columbus Day celebrates the extinction of a race and that indigenous people are still suffering (i.e. Standing Rock).



05:27 PM --
Tziavi Stevens, representing herself, spoke in favor of the bill. She explained that Native Americans have a history of stress and trauma that has resulted in alcoholism, suicide, and depression.



05:29 PM --
Sky Roosevelt-Morris, representing herself, testified in support of the measure. She pointed out the irony of holding this hearing in the Old Supreme Court Chambers surrounded by portraits of Native American leaders. She reported that Colorado has a rich history of killing Native Americans and encouraged the committee to create a new narrative.



05:33 PM --
Toby Leroux, representing himself, testified in favor of the bill. He provided personal reasons for his support including peace and justice issues.



05:35 PM --
Tessa McLean, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill. She addressed committee questions and provided examples of Native American injustices.



05:39 PM --
Shannon Francis, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill. She discussed school curriculum and responsibility to her children.



05:44 PM --
Glenn Morris, representing the American Indian Movement and the First Nations Center, spoke in support of the bill. He answered questions about historical veracity and Columbus. He explained that history is not on the side of Columbus and provided an overview of Columbus Day in both Colorado and Denver. He discussed the importance of a name or a sanctioned holiday and the ideology that stems from it.





06:00 PM



Representative Rosenthal presented Amendment L.002 (Attachment G) which deletes a portion of the legislative declaration. The committee discussed the legislative declaration and expressed concerns that it sanctions a version of history.



17HouseLocal0503AttachG.pdf17HouseLocal0503AttachG.pdf

BILL: HB17-1327
TIME: 06:07:12 PM
MOVED: Rosenthal
MOTION: Adopt amendment L.002 (Attachment G). The motion passed on a vote of 8-5.
SECONDED: Navarro
VOTE
Coleman
Yes
Exum
Yes
Gray
Yes
Herod
No
Liston
No
McKean
No
Navarro
Yes
Ransom
Yes
Thurlow
No
Valdez
Yes
Wilson
No
Singer
Yes
Rosenthal
Yes
YES: 8 NO: 5 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS





06:08 PM



The committee members expressed their reasons for supporting or opposing the measure.





06:27 PM



Representative Salazar made closing remarks and stressed the importance of alleviating the state of Columbus Day and its negative connotations. He emphasized that Columbus Day does not represent all Americans.





06:34 PM



Representative Valdez relayed that this was his first time sitting in the Old Supreme Court Chambers with Chief Ouray and other leaders. He stated that it was important to honor all people and asked about a different amendment to the bill.

BILL: HB17-1327
TIME: 06:38:00 PM
MOVED: Singer
MOTION: Refer House Bill 17-1327, as amended, to the Committee on Appropriations. The motion failed on a vote of 6-7.
SECONDED: Rosenthal
VOTE
Coleman
Yes
Exum
Yes
Gray
Yes
Herod
Yes
Liston
No
McKean
No
Navarro
No
Ransom
No
Thurlow
No
Valdez
No
Wilson
No
Singer
Yes
Rosenthal
Yes
YES: 6 NO: 7 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: FAIL
BILL: HB17-1327
TIME: 06:42:54 PM
MOVED: Ransom
MOTION: Postpone House Bill 17-1327 indefinitely. The motion passed on a vote of 8-5.
SECONDED: McKean
VOTE
Coleman
No
Exum
No
Gray
No
Herod
No
Liston
Yes
McKean
Yes
Navarro
Yes
Ransom
Yes
Thurlow
Yes
Valdez
Yes
Wilson
Yes
Singer
No
Rosenthal
Yes
Final YES: 8 NO: 5 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS







06:43 PM




The committee adjourned.






COVID-19 Resources
2021 Ballot Information Booklet (Blue Book)
NORTH ENTRANCE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED.  TO ENTER THE CAPITOL, USE THE SOUTH ENTRANCE, UNDER THE STAIRS, AT 14th AVENUE AND SHERMAN STREET.