Copyright © 2006 Henrietta W. Hay
Humor and the 2006 Lege
May 12, 2006
We can all breathe easy again. The Lege has gone home. In my annual Colorado Legislature column I can't resist quoting Molly Ivins. "The Legislature is, among other things, the best entertainment in Texas.
Better than the zoo. Better than the circus." Our Lege is probably not as funny as the one in Texas but it has its moments.
Back in 1994 I started giving an annual award for the "Most Ridiculous Piece of Legislation." I have since added the funniest. In looking back on some of them, maybe we really are as funny as Texas.
That first year the Flag Bill tied for first. A Denver judge had a flag removed temporarily from her courtroom in order to expedite an unusual case. Immediately the Lege rose up in patriotic wrath and passed a bill requiring that a flag be on display at all times in all 33,000 classrooms and courtrooms in the state. I honor and respect the flag, but this silliness demeans it.
In 1996 we acquired a state insect. Actually w have a great many of them, but the hairstreak butterfly is the official insect. After that passed Senator Gigi Dennis commented, "The state potato is the potato."
You can't say the Lege is always serious. One day n 1997 Senator Parkey of Littleton showed up on the floor in shorts and was reprimanded by Majority Leader, Norma Anderson. The next day he wore a tuxedo.
In 2000 he winner got killed early, fortunately. The Ten Commandments bill won without serious competition. Somebody thought that posting a copy (no size defined) in every classroom would make the kids into model citizens. Hmmmmm!
The 2001 session had one gem. John Andrews asked during a rubber duck session, "Are you having trouble getting the left wing and the right wing together?"
In 2004 they passed a bill which would allow a woman to breast feed "anywhere she has a right to be." It included public and private property. Does that include jail, her living room, or even the Senate Chamber?
Last year they had a prize winner. There was a discussion of the proposed amendment to the constitution defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In the course of the discussion one Representative said he feared it would open a "Pandora's Box." He went on to say that in Boulder a man had already tried to marry his horse.
The marriage was denied because the horse was only 8 years old. One of my friends commented that it was important to see that the horse got benefits. Oh yes, the bill failed.
And now it's 2006 with more serious problems than ever. But the number of foolish, insensitive and dangerous proposals was greater than ever.
I think the award should go to the English Only Bill, or "You ain't goin' to speak no more Spanish in this here state." Schools could not teach any language other than English. The state must publish solely in English. And
libraries could no longer buy books or electronic documents in any language other than English. There go literature and computers.
Fortunately that bill was killed quickly.
One last happy note. Rep. Bernie Buscher was appointed Chairman of the Budget Committee. His experience, knowledge and good common sense will be invaluable to Colorado and to Mesa County.
So long, 2006 Colorado Lege.