Legislative News

Steadman, Johnston welcomed to Colorado Senate

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Two of Colorado’s newest state senators took their seats last week on the Senate floor.

Democratic Sens. Pat Steadman, who replaced Jennifer Veiga in District 31; and Michael Johnston, who replaced Peter Groff in District 33, were sworn in by Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey Friday morning during a heavily attended ceremony in the Senate Chamber.

Max Tyler takes over for Green in HD 23

By Katy Schultz
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

“Sad day to see Gwyn go, but I think we have a good replacement,” said one of the 30 or so friends, family members and supporters who watched Max Tyler take the oath of office to represent House District 23 on Thursday.

Struggling Coloradans find help at state capitol

By Lucy McFadden
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The working families in Colorado who are struggling to survive the economic downturn got a double dose of help at the Capitol on Tuesday.

In the Capitol’s foyer, some 25 nonprofit agencies participating in the “Help for Working Families Fair” offered advice on finances, mortgages, unemployment benefits, health care, housing, utility assistance and home weatherization.

SD 31 votes in Steadman

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

It took three rounds of balloting and four hours in a hot auditorium at Morey Middle School in Denver Wednesday night, but lobbyist Pat Steadman was selected to replace Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, who is moving to Australia.

Labor leaders say Gov. Ritter sold them out

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

In what many political insiders considered a surprise move, Gov. Bill Ritter vetoed House Bill 1170 late Tuesday afternoon, stopping a legislative action to give unemployment benefits to employees locked out during labor disputes.

Expectedly, union leaders, many of whom are currently embroiled in contract talks with grocery chains in Colorado, expressed outrage at the governor’s use of the veto pen.

Johnston channels Obama in SD 33

By Janet Simons
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

When the big announcement came, the crowd knew exactly what it meant.

As they absorbed the news that Mapleton Expeditionary School principal Michael Johnston, an early adviser to the Barack Obama campaign on education issues, would replace Peter Groff in the Colorado Senate, a wave of elation and hope swept through the auditorium at Smiley Middle School.

Senate District 33 vacancy committee credentials chair John Walsh had prepped the 400 or so committee members and other interested politicos.

Guv signs bills in Springs

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

COLORADO SPRINGS — Gov. Bill Ritter signed seven bills into law at a town hall meeting in the Penrose Library and dished kudos to hometown Democratic legislators Sen. John Morse and Representatives Mike Merrifield and Dennis Apuan. The two-hour ceremony also was attended by two GOP legislators, Rep. Don Marostica, of Loveland, and Sen. Ted Harvey, of Highlands Ranch.

El Paso County legislators end session with sigh of relief

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

COLORADO SPRINGS — Facing massive challenges — none more daunting than covering the state budget shortfall — legislative members of the El Paso County delegation vented views. Though the eight Republicans rarely agree with their three Democratic peers, Democratic Sen. John Morse and Republican Marsha Looper summed up the session in the same single word — “challenging.”

Republicans chose the following:

“Troublesome,” said Sen. Dave Schultheis.

GOP ambushes Apuan at Springs bill signing

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

COLORADO SPRINGS — As rays of afternoon sun rippled across the Carnegie Room of the Penrose Library, Gov. Bill Ritter was buoyant as he signed bills sponsored by local Democrats Sen. John Morse and representatives Michael Merrifield and Dennis Apuan.

Dems hail progress, GOP decries taxes

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The 2009 legislative session offered large budget cuts, new fees and a whole lot of political wrangling. And, when it was over, both parties produced completely predictable reactions.

The Republicans talked about failed leadership, missed opportunities and a Democrat-controlled Legislature that was willing to “tax and spend” its way out of troubled economic times.