Following up on a story we’ve been watching in the Colorado House, where a hard-right Republican representative “went rogue” against the state party leadership with legislation to outlaw the charging of so-called “badge fees” in order to participate in the Republican Party’s county, district, and state assemblies.
Despite strong support across the aisle from Democrats who have no such equivalent “poll tax,” Rep. Dave Williams’ quest to eliminate badge fees has by all accounts outraged Republican party officials–and as of now, as the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Conrad Swanson reports, the bill is on ice as Williams allegedly gives the party one last chance to eliminate badge fees voluntarily:
After a month of being castigated by fellow conservatives, state Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, is postponing his controversial “badge fee” bill, which stalled last week.
Instead of a law by which delegates or alternates wouldn’t have to pay “badge fees” to vote in political party caucuses or assemblies, Williams said he’ll give the parties a chance to rectify the issue internally.
He said he’s postponed the bill till April, after a March 30 central committee meeting of the state Republican Party, the only party that charges those fees, in hopes that a bylaw change is passed by two-thirds of committee members. If so, the legislation wouldn’t be needed, Williams said.
Given the vociferous opposition to this bill from state GOP officials who claimed that eliminating these fees could bankrupt their organizations, it will be very interesting to see if they take action to avoid Williams resuming the drive to pass his legislation. One could make the argument that even if the state GOP voluntarily eliminates badges fees for now there should still be legislation to ensure the practice doesn’t resume later when no one is looking. Either way there’s little question that if Rep. Williams wants to pass this bill, it will pass with the support of the Democratic majority.
Of course, this situation also gives Rep. Williams a significant amount of leverage with his own party brass! In the event the GOP doesn’t eliminate their badge fees, and Williams for whatever reason doesn’t bring his bill back up in response, it will either be because Williams was successfully cowed by his leadership–or he found another way to make the effort worth his while.
This is intra-GOP politics, after all. Stay tuned.