We can all take a deep breath and relax. The Lege has gone home. The
Colorado Legislature isn't nearly as exciting as the one in Texas, but I
still think Molly Ivins has the best description of state government.
"The Legislature is, among other things, the finest free entertainment
in Texas. Better than the zoo. Better than the circus."
Back in 1994 I started a tradition by picking The Most Ridiculous Piece
of Legislation Award. The award that year went to the selection of a
state fish. The Trout Bill blew the traditional rainbow out of the
water and made the Greenback Cutthroat Trout the state fish. Quoting
the Denver Post, "After floundering in the House for a week, the
bill...will continue its upstream battle in the Senate." The Senate
caught it, reeled it in and the Greenback is our official fish.
There have been several interesting awards since, including the Flag
bill and the Son of Veggie bill, but in recent years the Colorado Lege
hasn't been nearly so much fun.
I thought for a while I had a winner this year, but they defeated it.
The Ten Commandments Bill would have been a natural. Somebody thought
that posting a printed copy (no size specified) of the Ten Commandments
in every classroom would automatically transform the kids into model
Although it is probably more dangerous than ridiculous, I guess year's
award will have to go to SB 186 which will assign letter grades to
schools, based on the kids' test scores. I think somebody has been
watching the X-Files. To put the rich schools and the poor schools on
the same far-from-level playing field, and then punish the poor ones
seems unreal. As Rep. Paul Zimmerman said, "It digs a hole. It
kicks these kids in, and then it allows no escape." There is another
detail buried in that bill, which Diane Carman writing in the Denver
Post calls the "pervert protection plan." It requires parents to notify
the school if they want their children included in sex education
The Lege made no noticeable progress on gun control or growth. On
social issues, however, thanks in large part to Rep. Gayle Berry's work,
they passed one humanitarian bill in response to the tragic problem of
finding newborn infants in toilets and on grocery shelves. They gave
amnesty to parents who abandon a newborn infant in a hospital or fire
They cut the sales tax by one tenth of one percent. If I don't have to
invest in what is politely called a big ticket item this year, I can
probably afford half a dozen cappuccinos with what I save in sales
taxes . But hey, every little bit helps.
The Democrats did finally win something. They beat the Republicans in
the annual basketball game, but the injuries were spread evenly between
the parties. One player said, "I think we'd better keep our day jobs."
Senator Dorothy Rupert has been described as a liberal dynamo. But one
day she was ready to explode. The State Patrol had to tell her to get
out of the chamber. She had spilled gasoline over the front of her
clothes when she stopped for a fill-up and by the time she got to the
State House she was really fuming. "They were afraid I might blow up,"
she said as she changed jackets and went back to work, although her
cohorts tended not to get too close to her the rest of the day.
As always, there were some interesting quotes.
"It became endangered for a while, and now it's been neutered." Sen.
Marilyn Musgrave referring to migration of endangered species bill
through the legislative process.
I've known meetings like this: "Those of you who come to the
committee, I suggest you bring your tennis shoes and a snack." Mary Ann
Tebedo noting the length of an agenda.
"Would you please tell us what polyamorous relationships are, and would
it prevent legislators from holding office?" Rep Gloria Leyba during
debate on same sex marriages.
"This is my last hurrah, so the clothing rule is relaxed," said term
limited Elsie Lacy on assuming the chairman-of-the-day post Tuesday.
Let's all relax until next year.