Legislative News

Turmoil in Democrats’ own caucus

Keeping everyone corralled is hard with a majority of only one
The Colorado Statesman

As the gavel came down Wednesday and sine die was declared on the 2014 legislative session, Democrats continued to squirm over bad blood within their political family after several lawmakers on the left battled it out over controversial bills.

The contention was first highlighted in the Senate last month when Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, and Jeanne Nicholson, D-Black Hawk, sponsored a measure that aimed to protect reproductive health care rights.

Local control efforts moving ahead for now

The Colorado Statesman

Proponents of a series of proposed ballot initiatives that would authorize local governments to ban hydraulic fracturing are moving ahead after negotiations around a legislative fix failed.

Coloradans For Local Control had watched the negotiations carefully; they are proposing ballot questions that would authorize local control over oil and gas development, potentially expanding fracking bans in some towns, cities and counties.


Faux poker game at Capitol brings down the house
The Colorado Statesman

Cross-dressing Republicans; a country-themed dig at the Senate; and a catfight that has been a long time coming — all this and more in a typical day at the state Capitol. And despite a few production difficulties and some off-key singing, the House minority pulled off their annual theatrical payback on the majority.

“Hummers” is the traditional series of songs and skits that offer some levity in an effort to poke fun at the majority party. This year, House Republicans piled it on, hopeful that in the interim they will be able to take back the majority.

Construction-defects legislation introduced

The Colorado Statesman

With only a week left in the legislative session, lawmakers last Wednesday night formally introduced one of the most controversial pieces of legislation, a measure that aims to curb construction-defects lawsuits in an effort to spur the development of affordable housing.

The measure has been a long time coming, with negotiations on Senate Bill 220 dating back to late last summer; the issue itself has been brewing for years at the Capitol, with previous legislative attempts failing.

Labor, business unite over workers’ comp bill

The Colorado Statesman

Business and labor shared a rare Kumbaya moment over workers’ compensation reform this week, with both sides of the debate agreeing that the experience should be used as a template for how to bring two sides together on a polarizing subject.

When House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, last year asked Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver — the chair of the House Business, Labor, Economic and Workforce Development Committee — to carry a workers’ compensation reform bill, unions and business owners began to dig their respective trenches.

Former Sen. Wattenberg was a true ‘cowboy’s cowboy’

The Colorado Statesman

Former Sen. Dave Wattenberg was remembered by the Colorado legislature on April 25 for being a “cowboy’s cowboy” — a lawmaker with a wonderful sense of humor who believed that policy fights should end on the chamber floor to make way for a stiff drink and a few laughs with colleagues from both sides of the aisle.

Wattenberg died on Jan. 20, 2014. He was 73 years old.

K-12 school funding bill remains in limbo

The Colorado Statesman

Before the bell rings on the “Capitol High School” legislative session that ends May 7, a slew of education proposals must still make their way through the process, including a significant K-12 funding measure that still faces controversy.

The so-called Student Success Act would add $110 million in funding. But the issue has been a volatile one, with lawmakers going back and forth on how much to invest in the negative factor, or buying down the $1 billion education shortfall that resulted from the economic downturn.

Fracking compared to slavery at debate

But Josh Penry defends the practice during oil and gas forum
The Colorado Statesman

Environmental activists walked into the lion’s den on Monday night, supporting the notion for a ban on hydraulic fracturing at a meeting of the conservative-leaning Centennial Institute, which favors the controversial oil and gas exploratory process.

The debate included activists Phil Doe and Wes Wilson of the progressive organization, Be The Change.

But the activists did not shake in the face of opposition. In fact, they doubled down, comparing fracking to slavery.

Support — and non-support — of ‘personhood’ comes back to haunt Republican candidates

Democrats, meanwhile, have to deal with the abortion issue
The Colorado Statesman

For the first time, so-called “personhood” supporters are actively opposing a Republican candidate, and that candidate is Weld County District Attorney and Congressional District 4 hopeful Ken Buck.

The pro-life movement, which aims to assign constitutional rights to the unborn in an attempt to ban abortion, feels like Buck stabbed them in the back when he reversed course on the initiative.

Game of Votes

When our special double Democratic/Republican Assembly Issue came out early Friday, the congressional assemblies were about to start. The state assemblies would follow on Saturday where candidates for the U.S. Senate, Congress, Governor and statewide races would be nominated for the primary ballot. Matt Milner captured the occasion perfectly with this cover depicting the Democratic races in a “Game of Thrones” theme. Delegates and guests previewed all the fun in The Colorado Statesman’s largest issue of the year. Now that the candidates have been selected for the primaries, stay tuned for next week’s issue with assembly coverage, analysis and commentary on all the Democratic hoop-la.