As the Denver Post reports, the 2019’s biggest legislative battle is over in the Colorado Senate:
Senate Bill 181 is one of the most hotly debated issues in front of the General Assembly this year. Wednesday’s final vote followed a day-long debate. Before the bill goes to Gov. Jared Polis for his signature, the state House, which is considered far more liberal than the Senate, must debate the bill as well…
Among the changes, the bill would make is changing the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to protect public health and safety. Supporters of the bill also say the bill will ensure more local control over oil and gas regulations.
Republican state Sen. John Cooke of Weld County, which has more extraction operations than any other part of the state, said the bill flies in the face of local control.
Today’s final passage of Senate Bill 19-181 in the Senate brings something of an anticlimactic end to days of intense drama, that saw Senate Republicans pull out all the stops to oppose this bill–including an attempt to stall the process by forcing a 2,000 technical bill to be read at length. That attempt was foiled by clever thinking from Senate Democrats to employ computers to read it at lightning speed, and even though Republicans successfully appealed to a district judge over that “solution” to their obstruction Democratic majority’s control of the calendar put the tactic to rest for the time being.
In the end, all 19 Democrats in the Senate voted unanimously to pass the bill, which can be regarded as a significant victory for caucus discipline in the face of formidable lobbying pressure from arguably the state’s most politically activist industry. Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg allowed amendments to the bill that, while they did not in the allow persuade any Republicans to vote for the bill, earned praise from Republican leadership that contrasted starkly with the acrimony of the last couple of weeks.
And with that the bill goes to the House, where although the debate will be no less acrimonious–as it would be with or without the Senate’s amendments–the outcome is not a close question. This major win for Democrats, on a policy issue that has vexed the state for years under control of both parties, is all but in the books.