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September 05, 2007 07:16 PM UTC

News Flash: Ritter Discusses Legislation!

  • by: Colorado Pols





How many times can you say “Gotcha!” before people stop paying attention? Apparently a lot, as Republicans in Colorado continue to play their “a-ha!” routine in regards to Gov. Bill Ritter and discussions over a collective bargaining plan for state employees. Ritter has never pretended that he wasn’t discussing legislation surrounding collective bargaining, and he has never shied from publicly stating his support for the idea. Yet Republicans continue to insist that this is all a really big secret – the kind of really big secret that everybody already knows about.

The Rocky Mountain News reports today on a story that they’ve basically already reported once before:

Gov. Bill Ritter and legislators are quietly working with two major unions on a bill that would, for the first time, give state employees the power to bargain collectively for better wages and benefits.

The closed-door efforts were flushed out into the open Tuesday when Ritter’s office released more than 1,000 pages of documents in response to an open records request by a Republican consultant…

…Republican campaign consultant Brad Jones, who also is managing editor of, a “free market news Web site,” filed the open records request.

(Brief pause while we stop laughing at the absurdly silly title “free market news Web site.” Although, in fairness, it does sound better than “Andy McElhany’s Web site.”)

Here’s the headline from today’s “free market news Web site”:

Revealed: Governor’s Secret Plot to Bring Collective Bargaining to State Gov’t

Um, yeah. Great work, Nancy Drew, but the “secret plot” has been revealed about a dozen times already. Ritter’s spokesman talked about it just last week in a Rocky Mountain News story:

“We’re working on how to best partner with state employees to deliver services faster, smarter and more effectively,” said his spokesman, Evan Dreyer.

“It’s too bad Senate Republicans don’t think we should have productive and meaningful relationships with the state’s snowplow drivers and other employees,” he added.

Revelations this month of new, pro-union policies and partnerships in state government have drawn Republican complaints.

Ritter has not shied from the pro-union characterization. During his campaign last year, he said state employees should have the right to collectively bargain.

Read that last part again: “During his campaign last year, he said state employees should have the right to collectively bargain.” The very same idea was mentioned back in April by The Denver Post. Ritter has also been openly talking about it as he traveled around the state in July and August talking to state employees.

So, why is this a story again? The Governor of Colorado is “revealed” to be having preliminary discussions about potential legislation. We would assume that he is having preliminary discussions about a lot of potential pieces of legislation, just as former Gov. Bill Owens and every other governor before him has always done.

Obviously Republicans don’t like the idea of collective bargaining for state employees, and that’s fine. But it’s really disingenuous to pretend that this is a secret and that it is somehow sinister to hold preliminary discussions about an issue that Ritter has never been shy about supporting. That’s kind of what a governor does. He discusses issues and legislation with various legislators, individuals and groups.

What’s next? “Revealed: Governor Meets With Legislators to Discuss Budget!”


25 thoughts on “News Flash: Ritter Discusses Legislation!

  1. the Republicans are just that slow. They keep forgetting everything that has been discussed, everything that has been disclosed, and everything that has printed in the open-media.

    Me thinks the Republicans are just that slow. Should I repeat it again for them?

        1. I stand corrected.  I think I read it in one of the Denver papers a few weeks ago. In any case, the voters don’t seem to be suffering any buyers remorse.

  2. isn’t he the guy that came up with that story about Merrifield and charter-school supporters deserving a “special place in hell”? And didn’t he get ahold of that through FOIA?

    Seems to me Jones should be getting paid by Wadhams directly…

  3. … my secret sources tell me that state Republican legislators are in hush-hush meetings with representatives of “Big Business” devising strategies to defeat the pro-union legislation.

    You heard it here first!

    In other astonishing news, the Pope is Catholic and bears relieve themselves in the woods.

  4. Is he makes governing effectively look effortless. Because of this the Repubs seem to think any lame excuse will trip him up and the Dems just assume he’ll continue to improve the state with no assistance.

    He should screw up on something just to make everyone happy 🙂

    – dave

  5. Its not surprising that the Republican extremists would be looking for any kind of “scandal” to discredit Ritter, but why is the Rocky playing going along with the Republican talking points?  Is Chris Barge some kind of hack?  Lyn Bartels is ususally a reliable reporter, but this is way off the deep end.

    1. How was this bad news? Ritter is talking to the workers of this state as to what they want. He talks to everyone! He talks to all the Chambers, the Enviro’s, the Insurance Agencies, the Contractors, the Nurses… and list goes on.

      This is how legislation is created… through talks! And this is news? Sounds more like the R’s are throwing spagehtti at the wall hoping for something to stick. They are so desparate to create a controversy, that they have forgotten that they have NO AGENDA (other than kicking old women and puppies).

      1. …as I glanced at The Snooze this AM.  Ho hum.

        People talk, other people are offended.  Giving and taking, that’s the political system as it should be. 

      1. …to announce a hope or an opinion as fact.  As if clapping hard enough will change what happens over the next year plus.

        Dr. Dobby might have been the brightest star doing this.

        And then, they are always wrong in the end.

        1. eqaully funding public schools was DOA. Just like fixing TABOR was DOA. Just like creating a Prescription Drug Purchasing Pool was DOA. Just like creating a renewable energy economy was DOA.  Just like everything hollow promise the Cons throw out there, believe the opposite.

          Unlike the Cons who sat on their hands in between elections, the Democrats are keeping their promises to voters. It’s as simple as that.

    1. the blogger formerly known as “Something is Brewing?” That individual posted items that sounded like (and usually proved to be) little more than rumors, and Iconoclast does the same.

  6. Yes, it is old news to people who track all things political but not to everyday folks.  Wadhams sees an opportunity to cast the D’s, especially Ritter, as being secretive and in bed with the dastardly unions. 

    All in one scoop he blasts unions, punches Ritter’s popularity, puts the Dem legislature on the defensive and makes the R’s look like they are standing tall for the people.

    He may be off the Hill but he’s not over the hill.

    1. So let me get this straight. While Democrats have an agenda to help workers, fix the health care crisis in our state, fund our education system so that all children have an opportunity to go to school, the Republcan’s Chairman and his lacky’s in the Senate, House and Outside organization paid by annonymous sources (perhaps Multi-Millionaires?) are going to stick to the worker class, their school children, and their parents who can’t afford health care?

      Wow, if that’s compassionate conservatism… I’m glad Ritter is our Governor.

      1. Too bad I’ll be leaving CO as it becomes a truly great state with foresight and keeping its eye on the middle class. 

        Maybe I’ll come back when they get universal health care so that I can drive the righties nuts, “proving” that people will move here for “free” health care.

  7. I just don’t see the need. 

    Add it up-

    Existing Condition-

    Retire at 55, with 75 percent of your salary as pension, and 3.5% annual Cost of Living Increases

    No social security deduction.

    It’s virtually impossible to be fired.

    Salaried workers get compensatory time after 45 hours per week. (Highly unusual in the United States)

    Wages and salaries that track private industry via a LEGISLATIVELY MANDATED salary survey.

    9 holidays per year, and a generous vacation package.

    As I see it, the classified system is cushier than most collectively bargained contracts.

    Proposed condition-

    Same as above, except pay a couple hundred bucks a month to union dues; and be forced to strike when the goldbricks and malcontents who lead the union decide to wield their influence every decade or so.  A month or two of strike pay and any possible theoretical gain to the employees via collective bargaining is wiped out. 

    This ain’t Harlan County.  These idiots trying to organize need to get a job where they are truly being exploited.  Their efforts to paint a picture of woe only serve to tarnish the memory of union leaders who truly fought for human rights.

    Bill Owens was no friend to State Employees-but neither is the AFL-CIO.  They just view Colorado Public Employees as low hanging fruit to bolster their bottom line.

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