Jerry Kopel


As part of the crowd on the east side of the State Capitol lawn for the May 31st memorial ceremony honoring Chuck Henning, I realized once more how such services are the precious times when we visit people with whom we have spent the greater part of life.

There was Joe Dolan, who met Chuck Henning while serving in the Colorado legislature in the late 50's and who went on to the Number 3 spot at the Attorney General's Office under President Kennedy. And Bruce Buell, Denver University law school classmate, lobbyist for Colorado banks for at least two decades while I served in the House and who often was on the same side of issues with Savings and Loan lobbyist Henning.

I asked Bruce about the "wild card" fight I had had with Henning in the 1970's because I couldn't remember what the term meant. A "wild card" statute in Colorado, advised Bruce, allowed state savings and loans to do whatever the federal law allowed federal savings and loans to do.

And I wanted a little more information about what happened to Chuck because I had also had a heart attack in 1993. I discovered Chuck suffered his heart attack at 3 a.m. and he apparently then took some indigestion medication and died at 5 a.m. when paramedics were unable to resuscitate him.

I don't know whether Chuck would have survived if he had gone to a hospital emergency room soon after 3 a.m. I do know I am writing this column because I did go after my 2 a.m. heart attack. And I'm writing for all the people reading this who might suffer similar symptoms and who might wait until morning in order not to "embarrass" themselves by having someone drive them to the hospital in the middle of the night.

Here is a list of symptoms which I present from the handbook Emergency Medical Treatment by Steven Vogel, MD and David Manhoff, revised in 1993. I had three of the seven symptoms. By getting to the hospital within one hour after the symptoms began, I recovered without an operation, but with the continued use of medications.

1. "Crushing" like a weight sitting on the chest.

2. Pressure inside the chest.

3. Sensation of food "stuck" on the way down.

4. Pain radiating to jaw, teeth, side of neck, left arm (but can also be painless).

5. Difficulty breathing, short of breath.

6. Dizzy, weak, tired, light-headed; looks pale; sweaty/clammy, nauseous or just "sick".

7. Anxiety, denial.

If you have some of these symptoms, get to the hospital within one hour if you can. The worst that can happen is it was really only an expensive case of indigestion. The best that can happen is that you are still alive.

* * *

By the time this Statesman goes to press, Gov. Romer will have vetoed or allowed HB 1351 to become law without his signature. There is no way he would have signed the bill by Rep. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs and Sen. Elsie Lacy, R-Aurora to allow at least 500 lottery controlled video slot machines at each Colorado licensed horse and greyhound tracks.

In the meantime, I have managed to arouse the ire of Revenue Director Renny Fagan over my May 2 article on this bill. We do differ over what we perceive as the inclinations of people at the lottery.

I happen to believe Judy Rose, former administrative manager of the Colorado Lottery Division who, according to a Rocky Mountain News story, told a House Judiciary committee hearing on a whistleblower bill that she had been retaliated against for criticizing activities of lottery supervisors who "suppressed" information on the addictive nature of certain games, such as video lottery machines, because they wanted to market those products.

In the News article, Director Fagan denied she had been retaliated against and there was already a policy not to make these machines part of the Lottery's business plan, all of which I duly reported.

There are lots of other reasons that a person in Judy Rose's position might have stated as the basis for what happened to her. This one presented is so far out of the usual, and so much in tune with what happened within the lottery administration during the fight from 1983 to 1988 over adding "lotto" to the lottery games, that it rings true.

In case one has forgotten, Gov. Romer said "no" to lotto in 1987 and 1988 and the lottery director said "yes" and, being in charge of a Type 1 (independent) agency managed to shove her "yes" in his face. "Lotto" require additional funding and a needed legislative vote. So do "slot machines". The lottery law gave the authority for "lotto" and "slots" to the lottery commission, but NOT the money.

If I implied the Dept. of Revenue wouldn't have known about HB 1351, that wouldn't make sense, since all the information needed for the fiscal note had to come from that department.

And I certainly did know there is currently a study of compulsive gambling in Colorado. Renny told me so. But if HB 1351 did become law, the study could be worthless because the present auditor's Sunset review of the Lottery due for publication in 1998 will be tossed out, and there will be no new Sunset review for ten years.

* * *

In a recent Statesman column, David Kopel commended me and Rep. Tim Foster as "the only two representatives (over the last four decades who) could be counted on to read every bill before every vote." Sorry, David. You should have asked me about Republican legislator John Mackie who served in the House as majority leader several terms in the 1960's.

After everyone else went home, John was still in his majority leader's office late at night, reviewing every bill not only for how it fit in with the statute it was amending, but looking for any effect it would have on other statutes.

John retired after the 1968 session. He died before he was fifty after collapsing on his front lawn from a fatal heart attack while playing ball with his kids on their front lawn.


Jerry Kopel writes a column for the Statesman based on 22 years past experience as a state legislator.

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