An unfair and off-balanced look at Colorado politics.

Page 9 of 25

‘It’s the economy, stupid’

By Charles Ashby
Monday, January 31, 2011

Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp admonished Democrats this week for planning to introduce a measure to create civil unions for gays and lesbians.

The Littleton Republican says while they are doing bills such as that, Republicans are focused on measures to cut government, create jobs and making Colorado a more business-friendly place.

“The people of Colorado have asked us to streamline government, cut regulatory burdens and create a more business-friendly environment in Colorado," Kopp said in a statement. "They have not asked us to revisit the decision they made in 2006 where they voted down recognition of civil unions. While Democrats certainly have the freedom to introduce this legislation, the Senate Republicans will continue to focus on our agenda of limiting the size of government, public safety and promoting job growth.”

Measures Kopp has so far introduced, however, tell a different story.

While he is jointly sponsoring a bill with Democrats to make sure it's legal for Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia to also serve as exectutive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, that measure isn't something he or Republicans thought up. It's an idea Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper proposed not only to use the higher education expert Garcia in a more productive role (the lieutenant governor job actually has few duties), but also to save the state $68,500.

Meanwhile, Kopp has itroduced a bill to spend more state money through a measure to require the Colorado Department of Transportation to develop and maintain a publicly accessible online database of its revenue and expenditures. The measure is expected to cost the state about $56,000 to implement.

He's also carrying a measure to make daylight savings time permanent, and wants it to be OK to fly the honor and remembrance flag on state flag polls.


Dust up over GJ meeting

By Charles Ashby
Friday, January 28, 2011

Two state lawmakers, in what some are calling a high school moment, sparred over the location of one of several public hearings slated in late February and early March over congressional redistricting.

Rep. David Balmer, R-Centennial and co-chairman of a redistricting panel, sparred with Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, over whether one of those hearings should be held in Glenwood Springs or Grand Junction. Read the Denver Post's first posting of the matter by reporter Lynn Bartles here.

The question briefly came up during the 10-person bipartisan panel last week. At the time, Schwartz, who is one of those members, said little about it when co-chairman Sen. Rollie Health, D-Boulder, said the panel chose Glenwood Springs because it was more central in the region, rather than the more populas Grand Junction.

Because of it's size, there already are three hearings planned for the 3rd Congressional District. The other two are in Pueblo and Alamosa. Only the 4th District has more than one scheduled hearing. There, the panel plans meetings in Loveland and Fort Morgan. Other hearings are in Denver (1st), Boulder (2nd), Colorado Springs (5th), Castle Rock (6th) and Golden (7th). Only one hearing is planned for each of those districts.

Schwartz wanted to keep it in Glenwood so residents from Steamboat Springs, Grand Junction and elsewhere in the region could get there relatively easily, but Balmer wanted to move it. Apparently, Balmer exchanged some heated words on the Senate floor with Schwartz that witnesses said were "inappropriate." Senate President Brandon Shaffer is looking into the matter.


House leaders pledge no civility pledge

By Charles Ashby
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Though everyone at the state Capitol knows that resolutions are nonbinding and, therefore, nothing more than letters to Santa Claus, it rarely stops lawmakers from spending hours on them.

Each year, they pass resolutions honoring Military Day and Martin Luther King Day. Other resolutions include such things as calling for North Korea to return the USS Pueblo or to extoll the virtues of industrial hemp.

So Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, didn't think twice when he had a resolution drafted "Concerning Civility and Respect in the Colorado General Assembly." After all, everyone seems to be talking about it now. Everyone seems to want it, from the voters on up.

At the beginning of the past five session Republican Rep. Tom Massey of Poncha Springs and Democratic Rep. Debbie Benefield of Arvada have jointly sponsored exactly the same thing, all during years when the Democrats were in charge in the Colorado House.

But now that the Republicans hold a 33-32 majority, there seems to be no need for the resolution. Kefalas complains that, for some reason, House Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, won't let him introduce it.

So during morning announcements on the House floor today, he tried to point that out, only to be told by McNulty: "We're not going to start our morning this way. This is not the time or the place. We're not going to do this. It's not appropriate. You will have your time, you will have your chance."

Thing is, though, he won't.

Since the resolution won't be introduced, Kefalas won't have a chance to call for civility among state lawmakers, and House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Colorado Springs, said there's no other time when he will be allowed to bring it up.

"I don't have to have a resolution to tell me how to behave," she said later. "We should always behave in an adult manner."


Former Rep. Curry take new job

By Charles Ashby
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Former state Rep. Kathleen Curry, U-Gunnison, was named executive director of the Mt. Crested Butte Performing Arts Center, which the town is trying to build in the small mountain community just north of Gunnison.

Curry was hired along with David L. Clayton as the center's new capital campaign chairman. Together, the two are to help the group come up with the funding needed to get the center built.

"Kathleen is smart, connected, driven and has a proven track record of success," said Margery Feldberg, president of the center. "She is the ideal person to lead MCBPAC and accomplish its immediate goals related to development and pre-construction. She brings a unique mix of competencies critical to this challenge and we are fortunate to have someone of her skill, stature and recognition taking the helm."

Curry served in the Colorado House from 2004 until last year, when she lost her re-election bid to Democratic Rep. Roger Wilson, D-Glenwood Springs. Curry had run as a write-in candidate.


Despite misspelling, House OKs bill

By Charles Ashby
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, saw the first bill of his legislative career win preliminary approval in the Colorado House today.

But the freshman lawmaker was no longer promoting a measure to change tourism authority boards, but "toursim" boards.

The measure, HB1006, would change the makeup of tourism boards because current law would place more than 100 people on it, which was not the intent of the law that created them in 2009. That's because that law didn't take into consideration that numerous counties would get together to create a tourism authority.

When lawmakers went to debate it, however, few noticed that the voting board in the House misspelled the word, "tourism." The mistake was later corrected.

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