This was to be the week of eager anticipation for state legislators as we prepared for a return to the Capitol on May 18 to do the people’s business.
Alas, it was not to be – on Saturday, May 9, Democratic Leadership in the General Assembly announced that the temporary suspension of the Legislature will continue until the week of May 25.
The rationale given included “…additional time for preparations including safety protocols, to work through appropriate legislation and seek greater clarity on potential Congressional action that could significantly impact our state budget.”
The aforementioned rationale, on the surface, sounds reasonable. However, reality makes the rationale a little disturbing.
Realistically, we have had plenty of time to prepare for safety protocols. The entire state has been protocoling for weeks – surely the Legislature can adapt as well.
“Looking through appropriate legislation” is simply the D’s code for “we need a little more time to see if we can figure out how to fund our agenda bills.”
And finally, waiting on the federal government to bail out Colorado’s budget deficit borders on being delusional.
It is similar to the person whose retirement plan is buying a lottery ticket every week – they could hit it big, but the chances are not the best.
The R’s strategy during this turbulent time has been two-fold.
First of all, they have been urging the governor to allow the people of the state of Colorado to get back to work. A total of three letters have been sent to the governor addressing the need to get Colorado moving again.
The response to all three? Crickets! Even though we are not at the Capitol, legislative drama continues to build. Some of the D’s are pushing for remote floor debates and committee meetings.
Current statute does not allow remote meetings. The D’s advocating for remote meetings are of the opinion that House/Senate Rules (wait for it …) ‘trump’ statute.
Obviously, the R’s believe “statute trumps rules.”
It appears the Senate D’s do not have consensus or the votes to pass policy allowing for remote meetings.
The House D’s are also divided on the matter. Senate R’s do not support the concept and the House R’s are adamantly opposed.
Strangely enough, in spite of the fact there is strong opposition from both sides of the aisle, rehearsals of remote meetings are being held under the Golden Dome.
As for me, I feel pushing rules over statute can be summarized by the phrase, “How do you spell lawsuit?”
Personally, I heard a bit of good news this past week.
Our House JBC member indicated that Kindergarten will remain a part of the overall school finance picture.
In other words, my Full Day Kindergarten bill from last session will remain in effect. Kindergarten students will continue to be counted as full-time, not part-time students.