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July 9, 2006

political tantrums: the advanced course

I've been holding my breath ever since Colorado's special legislative session began this past Thursday. Thankfully most of the awful measures have been killed by this point. News which is less than pleasing to the Colorado GOP and Governor Owens in particular.

Seems to me that somewhere in my fuzzy educational past I recall a concept called the balance of powers. legislative, executive and judicial (proud mom?). Well, Governor Owens seems to think this concept shouldn't affect him, which is why he called the special session to begin with... he (executive) didn't like the decision of the Colorado Supreme Court (judicial) on a flawed ballot measure that was likely unconstitutional and would certainly have been in the courts for years to come. Now, the Colorado House and Senate (legislative) have decided not to send the measure to the ballot, so Owens is throwing his weight around. Again. Thankfully, most of the Democrats are having none of it. (Although they are playing dirty too).

I like how House Speaker Andrew Romanoff described the original ballot measure, "... this is designed to fix a problem you can't explain by subjecting services you can't define to a ban you can't enforce," Romanoff said, "and then putting that unworkable formula into the constitution and inviting everyone in state to sue us when it doesn't work."

Exactly why I and all thinking people opposed it.

More for amusement than anything, read an article from today's Denver Post describing the tantruming in greater detail:

Republican Gov. Bill Owens launched a surprise attack Saturday on a Democratic plan to curtail spending on illegal immigrants, capping a tense day of stalled negotiations and bitter debate at the Capitol.

The governor blasted the proposal as an "ineffectual" alternative to the citizen-sponsored initiative that was knocked off the November ballot last month by the Colorado Supreme Court.

Owens made his comments to a Senate committee just hours after the Democratic-controlled House passed the bill on straight party lines after occasionally raucous debate.

Owens, who rarely testifies at committee hearings, used his bully pulpit to remind lawmakers he will only sign substantive, not symbolic, legislation that comes out of the special session he called on immigration reform.

House Bill 1023 fails to meet that test, he said, because it does not include a list of banned services, nor does it have a strong way to enforce the ban.


Senate President Joan Fitz- Gerald, D-Jefferson County, who was presenting the bill to the Senate Business Affairs Committee, said she was frustrated by the governor's tactics.

"I thought I had your support on this," Fitz-Gerald said. "It's surprising to me I do not."

Her staff, along with House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, had been negotiating Friday night and Saturday with the governor's office on the bill.

The committee, which had delayed its starting time by an hour so the parties could continue negotiating, approved the bill Saturday on a 4-3 party-line vote. The full Senate, which had expected to debate the bill Saturday, postponed discussion until today.


Saturday's cantankerous exchange hit a sore spot for Grossman and many other lawmakers.

"It's so emblematic of this whole special session," Grossman said, "inserting ourselves into areas where we have no constitutional authority, absolutely no experience and no data."


Owens' attack came several hours after a bitter debate in the House, which voted 35-28 to send the bill to the Senate.

Rep. Ted Harvey, R- Highlands Ranch, was jeered by Democrats during his speech.

"Now are we going to be a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants under the age of 18?" Harvey said. "We have a huge gang problem in the state of Colorado with people from Mexico coming up here and influencing our cities."

Rep. Mike Merrifield, D- Manitou Springs, roared: "Racist! Bigot!" While Rep. Dorothy Butcher, D-Pueblo, jumped to her feet and said: "Take him out!"

Posted by almamia at July 9, 2006 8:46 AM


It would seem that Romanoff and friends found better ways to waste our tax sollars, like this: http://www.andrew-romanoff.org/

Posted by: About Romanoff at August 19, 2006 3:53 PM

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