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Legislative Year: 2018 Change

Colorado Eyes & Ears »

“I don’t belong to an organized party.  I’m a Democrat,” said Will Rogers, humorist from the 1930s.  How things change.

House Democrats, including almost all new members, have shown remarkable caucus discipline and unanimity on bills making their way through their third reading.  Of 29 House bills passed out to the Senate so far, almost all Dem legislators have voted YES on almost all bills. 

Even on gun legislation, House Democrats held together.  Representative Ed Vigil (D-So.CO) was the only Democratic legislator to break ranks on all four bills.  Newly elected Representative Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) voted No on three of the four bills.

Democrats sticking together in first third of session

Usually a Democratic House Speaker herds cats during a session. This year, Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) has benefitted from a united caucus.  So far on third reading votes, the Speaker has voted YES 29/ No 0.  Thirty Democrats have followed Ferrandino’s lead.

22 of 29 bills have Democratic sponsors in both chambers.  Two Republican sponsors passed one of the 29 bills out of the House chamber:  HB13-1137, the weed whacker bill.

Waller could use some herding dog help

Minority Leader Mark Waller (R-CO Spgs) has his hands full with his caucus; he can use some herding help from the Queen of England’s corgis.  Waller has a 21 Yes/8 No voting record on the 29 bills.  Ten Republican House members are within one vote of Waller’s record. 

Five legislators voted NO on the 29 bills more often than Yes.  Rep. Justin Everett (R-So. Jeffco) has a 12 Yes/15 No/2 Excused record.  New legislators Stephen Humphrey (R-Greeley)and Lori Saine (R-Brighton) joined Representatives Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) and Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) at 14 Yes/15 No. 

Republicans showed unanimity on their votes against the four gun bills.  They split on weed whacking, a local control v. weeds issue; CORA requests; required fire mitigation; adding a judge to two judicial districts; and accelerating business development in the technology industry.  They voted unanimously against HB13-1081, the human sexuality education bill.

It’s not unusual for minority parties to vote with less cohesion than the majority party.  With Democrats voting as a tight block, Republicans will find it very difficult to pass their favored legislation.  They may ultimately find the Democrats’ voting records easy to run against, however. Democrats have decided to hold hands and vote together. If they continue, they will also win or lose together.  PEN, CCW


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