Legislators detail session highs, lows

Sometimes, halting bills from across the aisle is as big a victory as getting your own bills passed.

That was the contention of Grand Junction Republican Sen. Steve King on Tuesday at the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual legislative breakfast. Six days after the Legislature wrapped for 2011, King assured chamber members a pile of dead bills didn’t necessarily equal a failed session.

“In this economy and this climate, it really is an accomplishment to come back and say we limited destructive behavior for 120 days,” King said.

Of course, some bills did make it through the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-majority House. Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, celebrated finding last-minute funding for Marillac Clinic and told chamber members she is excited House Bill 1183 will be enacted in three months. The bill, which Bradford co-sponsored, will add a place on death notices to reflect whether a woman was pregnant when she died.

Bradford lamented the withdrawal of her bill that would have allowed prosecutors to file additional charges against a person suspected of harming an unborn child. The bill died amid concerns it would interfere with abortion policy. Bradford referred to such claims as “grandstanding.”

Freshman Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, said the failed attempt to redraw congressional district boundaries in the Legislature was one of the session’s most notable low points.

“It was a big disappointment to see all the work these people did collapse,” he said.

Republicans and Democrats were unable to agree on new boundaries before the session’s end, but Democrats did back away from a map that would have placed Mesa County and Boulder in the same congressional district. Montrose Republican Rep. Don Coram said such a district would have meant “trouble.”

“It was such a slap in the face to all of rural Colorado,” Coram said, adding, “The R behind my name stands for rural.” The redistricting issue will next move to state or federal court. Coram predicted Tuesday the issue will be decided by the Colorado Supreme Court because the issue is so contentious.


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