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February 20, 2007 06:54 PM UTC

State House Dems Under Fire From...State House Dems

  • by: Colorado Pols

The Grand Junction Sentinel reports with a wry smile:

Despite a handful of sharply liberal proposals passing through the Legislature this year, Colorado’s moderate Democrats say these proposals amount to minor headaches at most.

With little more than a month under the belt of Colorado’s 66th General Assembly, members of the Democratic majority have introduced measures that could turn Colorado into a union-friendly state, abolish the death penalty and circumvent the Electoral College.

One Boulder Democrat has announced intent of mimicking the party’s Congressional peers and introducing a resolution opposing President Bush’s troop surge in Iraq.

These proposals, a slew of moderate Democratic lawmakers said, have done little more than create controversy and wasted the Legislature’s time.

Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, said she has had a hard time confronting these proposals, among others, that she said have less to do with “moving Colorado forward” and more to do with creating controversy…

Curry is correct to be concerned. Republicans lost control of the legislature because they focused far too much on social issues than on actual problem-solving, and the same fate will befall the Democrats if they don’t learn from that example.


46 thoughts on “State House Dems Under Fire From…State House Dems

  1. ,,,except that we all know how this works–these “liberal” proposals are few and far in between, but they get all the media attention.  I’m happy that there are the fewest number of bills in the last 10 years.

  2. That, to me, is an abdication of power to California, New York, Florida, and a few other states.  That is to say, if the Republicans in Colorado are now the minority and powerless, why would we want to do the same to ourselves and make ourselves virtually powerless in the election of Presidents?  It’s voluntarily weakening one’s position with no gain and all loss is the way we govern, let’s have our heads examined, please–or maybe we just need our heads shorn like Brittany’s to prove we’ve lost our reasoning. Leave the electoral college alone!

        1. I am not a legislator, nor am I involved in any way with the legislative process.  (Though I am pleased to hear that something very similar to my proposed I&R reforms appears to be headed for a hearing in the Legislature – even if it was completely without my involvement…)

          I’m just pointing out the facts as compiled by various electoral college reform efforts.  Statistically, 9 votes in the Electoral College dilutes our representation vs. a straight-up popular representation.

          Two other points: (1) states like California and New York will no longer be sending all of their votes for Democrats under the proposal, but rather as the winner of the nationwide vote, and (2) there are a reasonably large number of Republican voters in California who have zero representation right now – that would change under this proposal…

          I just love the fear-mongering surrounding this proposal.  Drag out those liberal bastions for another round as the bogeyman.  Nevermind that it’s precisely the majority voters in those places who would lose the most proportionally from this proposal, and yet are supporting it anyway.

  3. I’ve heard that Colorado law limits the amount of bills a legislator can propose to five a year (or session).  If this is the case, why would you want to propose “social fixers” as one or more of your five?  Pols is right, that’s the sort of crap that loses majorities.  Who wants their representative to come home and campaign by saying “You paid me 30k to propose a the worthless bill that congress passed, but I did it on the state level.”  Come on!

    1. so close to the election. You really only have about 120 days to get all your bills together. How would you like to have the equivalent of 5 major term papers to get together in four months while also doing constituent work and committee work (and maybe also seeing your family and keeping tabs on your “real” job)? I don’t like the “let’s make a statement” bills but the reality is that the legislature probably cannot come up with 500 good bills a year – especially without paid staff. So, if the fluff bills take the place of badly thought out or badly written bills maybe that’s not all bad.

      1. Excellent comparison on the work that need to be done to bring a bill into session.

        But they do have a staff that takes the raw idea and puts it into something legal and official.  Legislative Services, it is called.  Legislators can also call them up and ask a legal question, or historical. 

        This is how wheat farmers (Mike May)can come in and introduce bills that are coherent.

    2. There is no such law.
      It is a rule, and a rule that is often waived for various reasons.
      Resolutions, which generally (there’s a couple of exceptions) have no effect in law, like Tupa’s stupid Iraq Resolution and the stupid Ronald Reagan Resolution, do not come under the same rule as bills.
      Legislators can run as many meaningless resolutions as they like.
      Resolutions are often meant to bring light to something, like acknowledging “mental health month” or to remember things, like the annual Holocaust Remembrance resolution and Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

    3. you can shoot one or two that are controversial and may or may not make it.  These are the bills that get the media attention, all right, but they also get the citizenry talking.  Compare that to the housekeeping bills that shoot on through. 

  4. Eliminating the Death Penalty would be a great victory for human rights, but has no chance of currently passing in Colorado. Let’s focus on stuff that can actually pass and benifit Colorado.

    1. Sometimes proposing a bill that “won’t go anywhere” is the first step in a multi-year process of gathering media attention, garnering public and organizational support, and legislative and executive branch support.  For example, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to protect gays & lesbians from getting fired for who they are, has been proposed and shot down for years.  It is expected to pass this year and signed (finally) into law. 

      Proposing a bill can be an important social statement, even if it doesn’t make it.

      Proposing a bill can also be a bad idea–this depends on whether you agree with it or not 🙂

      This is how the legislature works.

    2. Proposing a bill and working on it year after year can also work out the kinks in it because of constant feedback.  This can make the bill better (and worse), again, depending on whether you agree with it or not 🙂

      1. That may be true, but how is the state passing a bill that it has absolutely NO juristriction over accomplishing anything?  (I’m talking specifically about the bill that  opposes the troop surge)  Congress can’t even enforce it, why should we take the time and pass something that means even less? 

        Bills that go “no where” aren’t bad.  Sure, some things take time to work out, and it is hard to put those things together.  But what about bills that do or mean nothing?  Should we pass bills that say the sky is blue for the hell of it?  If you don’t have a good bill, don’t propose one.  If you’re looking for something to do, find a good one and co-sponsor it.  🙂

        1. 1) We *could* actually make a difference in troop levels by having the Governor request National Guard troops for expected emergencies.  More Guard troops here = fewer problems with frozen cows and forest fires…  So the state isn’t completely without power there.

          2) It is not uncommon for a State Legislature to instruct its Congressmen and Senators in a “sense of the State” resolution.  Congress can most certainly enforce changes to the course of the war by limiting the use of funds.

          I agree, the Lege shouldn’t be proposing legislation just “for the fun of it”.  And they certainly shouldn’t be proposing so much “fringe” legislation that they don’t get the real work of the state done.  But the legislative process is not one strictly limited to the simple and non-controversial; some small amount of leeway is to be expected and allowed – that is how discourse on issues begins.

        2. Yeah, I’m not a big fan of that one either, especially since both the U.S. House and Senate both came out strongly with resolutions slapping the president and his mishandling of the war.

            1. The Senate voted 56-34 to say the President is WRONG.  They didn’t get to cut off debate and pass the thing, but 56 Senators DID get to vote for it before they didn’t get to vote for it.

              1. Sorry, I’m not buying Sen. Reid’s argument here.  That isn’t a resolution; technically, it doesn’t even show support versus opposition, just acceptance of the rules.

                In this case, it’s a pretty good indicator, I think – but it’s still not a resolution they can send to the President.

                1. If the Senate is in the mood to send non-binding resolutions to the Prez, why not send a non-binding record of a vote that’s a pretty good indicator of what the Senate majority thinks of troop escalation?

                  Either way, we know exactly where the Prez will file it.

                  Man, I remember when I wasn’t so cynical….

        1. Phoenix- You’re right, there should be some leeway; my personal feelings is that the “lege” (I like that term, btw)shouldn’t get that involved over federal affairs.  “Don’t put nuclear waste here” is one thing, whereas “I don’t like the war” or “impeach the president because he cheated on his wife” is another.  Both sides have tried to do it, and I don’t like it.

          1. The States are the final check in the impeachment process.  If a State Legislature votes to refer an impeachment request to the Congress, the Congress *must* accept it and begin an immediate investigation.  This is the ultimate last resort and as a States’ Rights advocate, you should be happy with it.

  5. What in the world did people expect if whacko dems took over the governor’s mansion AND held both houses?  They’ve got big debts to pay off and running these bills early is a sign of things to come.  When Kathleen Curry and Bernie Buescher are telling their own leadership to put the brakes on these whacko proposals, you know something is awry.  What’s that you hear?  Bob Beauprez telling people I told you so? 

    1. Republicans can’t handle leadership, which is exactly why the Dems took over. The media is highlighting a few bad bills, but has neglected all the petty partisan bull shit the R’s have done this session.

      Republicans, whining, crying, little babies who react out of emotion rather than thinking anything through.

      Hey DICK Wadhams, go back to sleeping under that rock you crawled out from. Nobody wants your illegal political activities going on here in Colorado.

      1. …would you say something this ignorant and general:

        Republicans can’t handle leadership

        Come on – there are Rs that Ds respect and vice versa.  You’re not trying to stimulate conversation, just yapping.  It’s like a sports fan saying another team sucks.

        You can do better, eh?

        1. She can protest with her votes.  I can’t imagine the Western Slope, with its small business economic engine, would have been thrilled with this bill.

          1. …how many shops on the western slope would ever have enough people think about unionizing.  Granted, there’s no lower limit, but you just don’t get many twenty person places unionizing.

      2. Is it Dick Wadhams that is criticizing state house dems in the story?  OH, NO!  That’s right, it’s Kathleen Curry (D-Gunnison) that’s criticizing her own party.  With all of these dumb asses fighting with themselves about which agenda they should push, Mr. Wadhams’ job will be easier and easier. 

  6. I don’t buy the idea that the Republicans lost control because of social issues and I don’t think the Democrats will lose power because of liberal legislation, either.  The vast majority of Coloradans could not name a single bill introduced this session despite the fact that there have been many of consequence.  Right now most voters are not thinking to themselves, yeah!  We’re finally becoming Vermont or, yikes!  We’re becoming like Vermont.  People are only marginally paying attention to the war debate, and you expect them to be mulling over some electoral college bill?

    Here’s why the Democrats’ secular liberalism will hurt them: the Republican Party should be woken up by now.  The Republican Party is still the dominant force in Colorado politics if only because of registration numbers and traditional power in Colorado.  The Republicans have fallen so low in Colorado because because the Democrats have thrown up high quality candidates to run against old and/or lame Republicans.  If the Democrats’ nascent liberal utopia can prod the Republicans into seriousness, it will be enough for a GOP comeback.  Everyone here knows that elections are won by good ground games, good candidates, and money much more than they are won by sparkling legislative records. The Democrats will lose in 2008, but it won’t be for the reasons this ‘moderate’ Democrat thinks.

    1. I think this is just one of those times that one party or the other does not have decent candidates.  Not just positions, but qualities like intelligence, leadership, etc.

      “They were the worst of times and the worst of times.” 

  7. Between the tourist and ski industry, construction, restaurants, hotels, oil and gas, lack of health insurance, etc, union organizers could make an impact in Western Colorado. Except I’m not sure if they know the way out of Denver. Rep. Curry was ok on that vote to encourage unionization because her area is tourist-oriented; but Rep. Buescher was ok too, by voting against it because unions have so little interest in the Western Slope. (Hurray for the Pipefitters–they do have a presence in Grand Jct.)

    Here in the West, Democrats have fought long and hard to have the upper hand. We hate to see the Front Range Dem legislators screw it up with microchips and horse massages. “Let’s Get Real” should be the Dem theme under the dome.

    1. I’d really like to see a push like that over here:)  My guess, she will lay low about that vote and hope the press doesn’t pick it up in her district.

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