The Denver Post conducted an analysis of 2013 legislative votes using Colorado Capitol Watch data. The following reports provide the detailed information within the article.
The first set of bills had only Democratic sponsors. The Post identified these bills as substantive.
The next set added 17 bills with at least one Republican sponsor as legislation that passed with bipartisan support. A total of 40 bills is included in this set. Legislators that voted for these bills showed willingness to work with members of both parties. Note: Some Republicans voted NO on bills sponsored by members of their party that then received unanimous or near unanimous support from Democrats.
Seventeen passed bills with at least one GOP sponsor spotlight how many Dems supported bipartisan bills and mixed support from GOP.
181 bills with at least one GOP sponsor passed and were signed by the Governor. Rep. Justin Everett voted 116 Yes/ 56 No/ 16 missed; Rep. Steve Humphrey voted 110 Yes/ 57 No/ 14 missed; Rep. Lori Saine voted 122 Yes/ 58 No/ 1 missed. The highest No count among Democrats on these bills is 14 No's, Rep. Claire Levy.
Republicans played wild cards in the 2013 General Assembly out of the hand they were dealt in November 2012 when they lost both chambers to Democrats. GOPers knew they weren’t going to win many deals on bills they sponsored, but without Democratic votes, they would have lost many more bills than they did.
The voting pattern established early in the session, with Democrats in both chambers sticking together and Republicans not so much, continued for the full 120 days. What is surprising is that many NO votes cast by Republicans were against bills sponsored by their own party members.
Republicans sponsored 181 passed bills
Legislators ran 613 bills in the 2013 session. 435 bills passed through both chambers. 181 passed bills had lead Republican sponsors. These included the House’s first bill, HB-1001, the Advanced Industries Acceleration Act sponsored by Cheri Gerou (R-Evergreen), and its last bill, Inferences for Marijuana and Driving Offenses sponsored by House Minority Leader Mark Waller (R-COSpgs) and Sen. Steve King (R-GrandJunction).
HB-1001, supporting job growth, had 16 House NO votes, all Republican. HB-1325, driving while “high” bill, had 11 House NO votes, 7 from Republicans.
6 House Republicans vote against GOP sponsored bills 40 times or more
Out of the 181 passed bills sponsored by Republicans, Rep. Lori Saine, R-Severn, voted NO 58 times; Rep. Stephen Humphrey, R-Greeley, voted NO 57 times; Rep. Justin Everett, R-So.Jeffco, voted NO 56 times; Rep. Perry Buck, R- Greeley, voted NO 44 times; Rep. Janak Joshi, R-Co Spgs, voted NO 42 times; and Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, voted NO 40 times.
Contrast those votes with Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-COSpgs, NO 14 times; former Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, NO 14 times; Rep. Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff, R-Pueblo, NO 13 times; and Democratic Rep. Claire Levy, Boulder, NO 14 times. Republican-sponsored passed bills got more support from north Jeffco Democratic representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp, 180 YES to 1 NO, than from adjacent north Jeffco Republican, Libby Szabo, 151 YES to 26 NO.
Democrats more united on GOP sponsors than GOP
37 out of 38 Democratic House legislators voted NO on passed Republican sponsored bills fewer than 10 times, and most voted in the 3,2,1 NO range.
Republican senators showed a little more deference to GOP sponsors than House members. Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Ft.Collins, only voted NO 40 times, and Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, voted NO 36 times. Surprisingly, Bill Cadman, R-COSpgs and Senate minority leader, voted against his fellow party sponsors 30 times.
Democratic senators showed more love by far. Six Democratic senators voted YES on all Republican-sponsored passed bills, including Senate President John Morse, D-COSpgs. Seven Democrats voted NO on these bills only 1 time, including Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora.
GOP NO's cover lots of bill subjects
The array of NO votes by Republicans covers the gamut of bill subjects. They reflect a party divided by tax credits and uniform sales tax (NO by frequent NO voters, YES by the pro-business group); job growth (NO by frequent NO voters, YES by pro-growth legislators); marijuana (NO by frequent NO voters, YES by pro-pot regulations group); wild fire mitigation (NO by frequent NO voters, YES by GOPers concerned with fire management); and environmental efficiency (NO by frequent NO voters, YES by GOPers supporting recycling and renewables).
GOP unites on three issues: Guns, Gas, Labor
Republicans agreed, for the most part, on three issues: Oil and Gas, Guns, and Labor. They voted YES to guns, YES to fracking, and NO to labor.
Republican divisions can only reassure Democrats. The GOP will obviously attack Dems on their united record. But NO, including to members of your own party, probably isn’t a winning message. PEN CCW
Republican legislators have received big doses of Democratic bills in the 2013 General Session, and the bill pills are apparently getting stuck on the way down. GOP members may be feeling “the vapors.” As of April 22, Republicans missed 453 third reading bill votes to the Democrats’168*. Thirty-seven Democrats have perfect third reading vote attendance to eleven Republicans.
Three freshman representatives go upside down on third reading votes
Some Republicans are showing their dyspepsia by voting NO a lot. More or less tied for the Dr. NO position are Rep. Lori Saine (HD63, No.CO) at 148 YES/190 NO and Rep. Justin Everett (HD22,Jeffco) at 121 YES/191 NO. Everett has missed 27 votes, which, if he had been there, could have put him on top. Also upside down on YES/NO is Rep. Stephen Humphrey (HD48,Weld) at 134 YES/176NO.
Somewhat less disdainful are a cohort of six House Republicans. This group is on the up side of YES, but not by much. Here are the records: Rep. Perry Buck (HD49) 171/164; Rep. Chris Holbert (HD44) 174/158; Rep. Janak Joshi 171/156; Rep. Daniel Nordberg (HD14) 180/155; Rep. Ray Scott (HD55) 178/135; and Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (HD65) 170/159.
Eighteen House members find a way to YES over 200 times on 3rd readings
The remaining 18 House Republicans form a corps who have found less to dislike. Their votes range from Lois Landgraf’s (HD21) 202YES/121NO to Cheri Gerou’s (HD25) 268YES/63NO.
Rep. Mark Waller (HD15, COSpgs), House Minority Leader, has his hands full with this array. His record, 239YES/100NO, leaves 91 NO votes between him and Saine. Saine and Everett even voted against Waller, sponsor of HB13-1114, on the marijuana “high driving” bill, one of the few Republican-only sponsored bills to almost make its way through the process.
Senate Republicans take more phlegmatic view of Dem agenda
Not unusually, Senate Republicans are less choleric than House GOP members. Four Senators have strong differences with Democrats, but they’re not close to more No’s than Yes. These include Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman (SD12,COSpgs) 188YES/101NO; Sen. Kevin Grantham (SD2,COSpgs) 185YES/88NO, Sen. Scott Renfroe (SD13, Weld) 171YES/108NO, and Sen. Mark Scheffel (SD4,Douglas) 161YES/91NO/45miss.
Two Senators nudge close to Democratic positions. Freshman Sen. Larry Crowder (HD35,Alamosa) voted 233YES/59NO and Sen. Ellen Roberts (SD6,Durango) voted 265YES/39NO.
Republicans share common ground on gun bills, but they divvy in other areas such as health care and civil unions. Senate Republicans voted a unanimous NO against SB13-213, the new school finance act.
Conservative representatives vote against their own party's bill sponsors
House Reps split on HB13-1012, a bill on fire mitigation, with Everett and Saine voting against their own party’s sponsors to allow tax deductions for people to clear vegetation from their properties. The bill passed with only Renfroe voting NO in the Senate.
Most inscrutable is that seven House Republicans, Everett and Saine among them, voted against HB13-1008, a bill to allow military spouses to take advantage of the veterans preference for state hiring if their veteran spouse has a military disability and can’t work. That bill passed unanimously in the Senate.
Democrats will have their own issues with voters. Saine, Everett, and Humphrey have strong Republican registrations. Their districts may be surprised that the three have moved so far away from their own leadership. All seats are up in 2014, obviously. The question for Republicans is whether they’re building a strong record they can use to turn their current circumstances around.
*These numbers do not count the absences of Rep. Frank McNulty due to the new child in his family; Rep. Mike McLachlan who had surgery; and Sen. Mike Johnston with health problems in his family. PENCCW
When Colorado voters elected 57 Democratic legislators to the House and Senate, did they know there would be close to total unanimity among the Democrats in how they vote on legislation?
Of the 196 bills that have passed at least “third reading” in the House, one House Democrat, Rep. Ed Vigil (62-So.CO) voted NO on seven bills; Rep. Claire Levy (13-Boulder) voted NO on six bills. Twenty-six Democrats have from one to five NO votes on bills. Nine Democrats voted YES on all 196 bills, with a few absences thrown in.
In the State Senate, 13 Democrats out of 20 voted the same way on 172 bills – all YES, minus some absences. The highest deviation is from Sen. Pat Steadman (31-Denver) with NO votes on five bills. Sen. Cheri Jahn (20-Wheatridge) comes in second with NO votes on two bills.
House Speaker Mark Ferrandino (2-Denver) and Senate President John Morse (11-CO Spgs), co-captains of the Democratic ship, have kept the voting vessel tight. Ferrandino and Morse team with four women leading the charge for their Democratic caucuses: House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (Boulder), Majority Whip Rep. Beth McCann (Denver), Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll (Aurora), and Senate Majority Whip Gail Schwartz (Aspen).
The whipping nomenclature apparently perfectly describes the push for cohesion among Democrats.
Much commentary has occurred over the gender make-up of the Colorado state legislature over the years. At this point, 30 women legislators make up the Democratic delegation to 27 men. Since this Democratic solidarity is rare if not unique, it’s hard to tell if the gender re-combination is the deciding factor in how this sessions’ Dem legislators are voting. Maybe it’s the starting point of a trend.
Party cohesion is clearly important. Of the 196 bills in this study’s hopper, 17 were sponsored only by Republicans. If Republicans want to get a bill through, they have a much better chance playing the bi-partisan card, as 63 of the 196 bills with both Democratic and Republican sponsors have passed. Out of this set, Democrats passed 116 bills with only Democratic sponsors.
Most remaining big bills have only Democratic sponsors. If they don’t pass, it will be because the sponsors pulled them or they don’t have time to get through the ever-narrowing clock funnel. HB13-1114, sponsored by House Minority Leader Mark Waller and Sen. Steve King (R-07) may make it through the marijuana mine field. Everyone hopes that HB13-1260, the bingo raffle bill co-sponsored by Sen. Ellen Roberts (R-06) and Rep. Jonathon Singer (D-11) in the House, will pass.
Democratic unanimity makes it difficult to peel off votes once bills get through committees. This may be a problem for some school districts trying to modify SB13-213. Some suburban metro school districts need their House Democrats to amend the bill to even up the money for their at-risk students, pitting those legislators against other metro area Democrats who strongly support the bill. As of now, that movement seems unlikely. But without suburban metro school district support for the upcoming revenue election, passing the necessary taxes will be an uphill fight. If SB-213 passes as is, that may be the only significant victory Republicans see out of the 2013 session.
So far, Republicans haven’t shown YES or NO solidarity on the Democrat’s legislative agenda. More on that later.
Sixteen new representatives joined the 2013 Democratic House caucus after the 2012 election. Twelve new Republicans joined the GOP caucus. The stories between the two parties can’t be more different.
With about one month to go, new Democrats have voted almost as one on 196 bills that have passed their third reading. Only two new Democrats, Rep. Leroy Garcia from Pueblo and Rep. Steve Lebsock from north metro, voted NO on four bills. Garcia turned down three gun bills and Lebsock two. Ten new Democrats voted NO on eliminating phone service help for low income individuals.
Otherwise, every vote is the same – YES.
To pass a bill, get some Dem sponsors
Up to now, if a bill doesn’t have at least one Democratic sponsor, it has less than a 10 percent chance of getting through to the Governor’s signature, as only 17 of the 196 bills have only Republican sponsors. Republicans have two significant bi-partisan accomplishments to bring to the next election: SB13-075 that allows more water conservation and HB13-1114, the marijuana “drunk driving” bill that some new Republicans voted against.
New GOP reps go their own way
It’s a pervasive lack of unanimity on the Republican side that tells their story. Of the twelve new Republicans, the YES/NO votes run from 74YES/97NO from south Jeffco’s Rep. Justin Everett, to 152YES/42NO from eastern Colorado’s Rep. Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff.
Three new GOP legislators have voted NO on more bills than they voted YES: Everett (74YES/97NO), Steve Humphrey (83YES/88NO), and Lori Saine (93YES/100NO). Everett and Humphrey have both missed 23 third-reading votes, so their numbers may flip by the end of the session, but no lobbyist should count on it.
Five new GOPer’s cluster together as comparative moderates, voting from 138YES/51NO to 149YES/45NO: Robert Rankin, Lois Landgraf, Polly Lawrence, Tim Dore, and James Wilson. Navarro-Ratzlaff is the only new GOP member to break 150 YESes, and she’s from a district that has a higher Democratic registration than Republican.
Three newly elected Republicans fall into the middle: Perry Buck from Weld and Larimer County (108YES/86NO), Daniel Nordberg from Colorado Springs (119YES/75NO), and Jared Wright from the Delta area (126/68).
GOP divisions will make 2014 election inroads tough
Strictly by the numbers, Democrats have five potentially vulnerable new Democratic seats, including Mike McLachlan in Durango, Diana Primavera from Broomfield, Brittany Pettersen in south Lakewood, Tracy Kraft-Tharp in Arvada/Westminster, and Tony Exum Sr. in Colorado Springs. McLachlan may face a recall based on his gun bill votes. The party doesn’t seem too worried, however, as these Dems have voted together no matter how risky the vote for their districts.
It’s hard to tell at this point if the volume of NO votes will affect Everett’s and Saine’s prospects. Saine is on the House Agriculture Committee, so her votes there are reasonably safe. But Everett is on the House Education Committee, and he’s voted NO on many education bills that will help his HD-22.
To make their positions even more interesting, both Everett and Saine voted NO on Republican-sponsored HB13-1114, the marijuana “drunk driving” bill, supporting the position of the American Civil Liberties Union. Now it can’t get much groovier than that. PEN, CCW 4-9-2013