UPDATE: Yes, ex-lobbyist Sen. Pat Steadman (D) was pushing this bill too. Somebody should really have a talk with him about appearances, the bill was no less a PR disaster with Steadman pitching it. According to Lynn Bartels, GOP Rep. Larry Liston claims there were “some” other Democrats on board as well–nobody willing to say so now, we’d guess.
One can hardly believe this bill was introduced at all, but 7NEWS eulogizes it–we know some Republicans who wish it had never seen the light of day. A lesson in appearances:
An attempt to allow some people to bypass security at the state Capitol has failed. A bill to allow lobbyists to not have to go through metal detectors to enter the Capitol was voted down in a legislative committee Tuesday afternoon. Rep. Larry Liston, R-Colorado Springs, wanted to allow lobbyists to be able to pay a fee, undergo a background check and get a pass to avoid having to wait in security lines.
“I did not realize there were going to be this many people wanting to testify, obviously I’ve ripped open a scab,” Liston said.
One person who testified against the legislation referred to hearing the bill called the “Lexus lane for the lobbyists.”
“I don’t think this is an overly burdensome requirement,” said one lobbyist about going through metal detectors…
You’re damn right lobbyists ran from this bill–we can scarcely imagine a more outrageous message to send to the public than a bill allowing lobbyists to bypass capitol security (although we’ve got to assume that some lobbyist convinced Liston that this bill was necessary). It doesn’t matter if they are at the capitol every day, let them go through the same security every citizen has to pass through. Rep. Joe Miklosi said it best to the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels:
“My constituents have never come to me and said, ‘Please make it easier for lobbyists to get into the Capitol.'”
We talked a few days ago about a bill, introduced by a Democrat, that could be considered politically toxic in an election year: a small-potatoes distraction from the key priorities of jobs and education that the legislature needs to focus on right now. We’d say that bill just got outdone by orders of magnitude–if the Democrats are smart, they will airdrop the “GOP Lobbyist Lexus Lane Bill” into every Colorado voter’s living room.