Perhaps it's to be expected that three of the most talked-about bills this legislative session are the work of a lawmaker with a uniquely unexpected mix of personality traits: Sen. Greg Brophy, a bicycle-riding, Prius-driving, gun-loving Republican lawmaker.
Two of his bills were introduced in the Senate on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 64would let voters decide whether to put Colorado on daylight saving time year round. Senate Bill 54 — dubbed "Drinking with Dad — allows parents or guardians to buy a drink for adults who are 18 but are younger than 21.
"Those bills have come about by me being a citizen legislator, and having a discussion on Facebook with my Facebook friends," Brophy said.
The third bill, which was introduced earlier, involves self-driving vehicles. Senate Bill 16establishes that the vehicles are legal in Colorado, and that the operator must have insurance.
So far, Nevada, Florida and California have passed bills legalizing self-driving vehicles, and legislation is pending in at least four other states, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Trooper Dave Hall with the Colorado State Patrol said his agency hasn't taken a position on the bill, but is checking with states that have allowed self-driving vehicles to ask about their experiences.
And while Google has been driving the driverless car push in other states, Brophy says he hasn't been lobbied by the company.
"That one came about because I just love technology," Brophy said.
He was one of the first lawmakers to embrace social media. When he's not tweeting or in committee meetings or farming in Wray, he's riding his bike, often with enthusiasts whose political views differ dramatically from his own.
Brophy has been interviewed about his bills by national reporters and stations from San Diego to Chicago.
His self-driving bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee on Feb. 5. His other two bills, were assigned to State Affairs; the drinks measure will be heard Jan. 30 and Daylight Savings is scheduled for Feb. 4.
The Colorado Restaurant Association opposes the "Drinks with Dad" measure although president Pete Meersman said he is glad it provides immunity for establishments that are "unwittingly tricked" into serving underage drinkers.
"It's going to be a mess," Meersman said of the bill. "We're worried it's going to cause confrontations between us and our customers."
Brophy pointed out that at least nine states allow parents or guardians to buy a drink for minors of a certain age. A friend in Texas, he said, was able to buy a margarita for his son after he returned from the service.
"I think it is ridiculous that a soldier back from Afghanistan can't buy a beer if he/she is 20. You can go to war for your country, vote for president — some even vote intelligently — get married, enter into contracts, but oh no, you can't buy a beer," he wrote on his Facebook page in December.
As for daylight saving, a couple of years ago after the time change in the fall, Brophy wrote on Facebook how much he disliked changing clocks and having it get darker earlier in the evening. After an outpouring of support, he introduced his first daylight saving bill, which was opposed by the ski industry and eventually died.
The current bill calls for letting voters decide the issue in 2014
Colorado Ski Country USA still has concerns, president Melanie Mills said. Operators would lose an hour of light in the morning to do essential work before ski runs open, including lift inspection and avalanche control.
She also pointed Colorado is a "destination state," which could play havoc on airline schedules.
Opponents earlier pointed out that Congress allows states to decide whether to go on standard time year round, not daylight saving time year round.
Lynn Bartels: 303-954-5327, email@example.com or twitter.com/lynn_bartels