January 30th was the deadline for introduction of bills in the House of Representatives. There are always bills introduced after that date described in Capitol-ese as “late bills,” but never have I seen during my time in and around the legislature the types of bills introduced by Democrats so late in the session.
Visiting with my friends who have been involved in the legislative process, none can remember a session that has been so controversial for so long as this one. The level of controversy can only be attributed to one thing: a radically aggressive agenda pushed by Colorado Democrats.
The Democrats have spent so much time and political capital pushing their extreme agenda that they’ve put themselves in a position where many now openly wonder whether they’ll need a special session to complete work on many non-controversial issues outlined as critical this session.
Knowing that they face a very real end of session crunch, Democrats have already started the finger pointing attempting to blame Republicans for the intense legislative crunch that approaches on a horizon that is coming quickly. Funny that they still find it necessary to blame Republicans even though we’re at a five vote disadvantage in the House and a three vote disadvantage in the state Senate.
Even while the Democrats are aided by their allies in a mainstream media dominated by liberals, they simply will not be able to explain away or excuse the aggressive legislation that will send the work of the legislature in a tailspin over the coming days and weeks.
One hundred thirty seven bills have been introduced in the House since the “final” deadline. Now, these 137 bills have Republican or Democratic bill sponsors, and it is not unusual to have bills granted late bill status by legislative leadership. What is unusual is the highly partisan and political nature of the bills that Democratic leadership has introduced so late in the session.
With scarcely two weeks left in the regular legislative session legislative Democrats are just now introducing some of their most extreme and controversial bills — including one designed to give them an unfair advantage in elections, another to attack job creators like those in the natural gas industry, a measure to provide taxpayer subsidies for union picket lines, and the creation of a climate change czar in the Hickenlooper administration.
Which bill is most controversial? Take your pick. These bills don’t even include the radical agenda items introduced by Senate Democrats that include mandates to increase the cost of heating homes and powering small businesses and paybacks to their Big Union Boss buddies who helped get them elected.
But what if the pending legislative train wreck is fully intended by Democrats in Denver? What if their strategy is to collapse the end of the legislative session under the weight of these controversies so that they can play the blame game like their counterparts in Washington, D.C.? We’ll know shortly whether this is their intent.
The Colorado legislature has a long history of mostly bi-partisan work. According to many though, this session has been remarkably political and divisive because of the aggressively partisan agenda that Democrats have pushed. Coloradans expect more out of their elected officials.
While there is speculation that the Democrats are purposefully heading us straight into a legislative special session, I know that there is still time to accomplish the bi-partisan work that we have left. The trick is this, the Democrats need to check their aggressively partisan agenda at the door if they want to get into the bi-partisan party.
Rep. Frank McNulty was Speaker of the Colorado House for the 68th General Assembly. He represents Highlands Ranch, Colorado