State Democrats leave no room for doubt. They cannot manage unchecked power without snubbing balance, process, tradition and the law.
They will stop at nothing in a lawless quest to change Colorado fundamentally.
In their latest ploy, Democratic leaders talk seriously of demanding a special session. That way, the traditional 120-day deadline will not limit what they can do. Meanwhile, taxpayers would shell out $25,000 a day or more to fund this questionably legal overtime drama.
The Colorado Constitution clearly states, “Regular sessions of the general assembly shall not exceed one hundred twenty calendar days.” It allows the governor to call for a special session “on extraordinary occasions …”
“Extraordinary” apparently includes the Democratic leadership’s political urge to impose a Colorado-specific “Green New Deal.” Senate Bill 1261 would cut fossil fuel emissions by 50 percent over the next 10 years, leading to a variety of expensive mandates consumers do not want and cannot afford.
Another “extraordinary” need might include House Bill 1210, to allow for a hodge-podge of local minimum wage laws that will quietly turn full-time jobs into part-time work and reduce hiring by employers. Democrats might deem the special session an “extraordinary” occasion to prevent abstinence-only sex education with House Bill 1032 — which also proposes a superwoke one-size-fits-all sex curriculum.
And more, and more “extraordinary” instant changes to the way we live. The controlling party’s radical transmogrification of economy, energy and education must happen in 2019 — before an election can stop it.
Democrats began this rush to revolution by openly defying the state constitution March 11, trying to circumvent a requirement that “every bill shall be read by title when introduced, and at length …” unless otherwise agreed by unanimous consent of members present.
The law requires full reading of bills for good reason. It prevents one party in power from recklessly imposing laws without bothering to read or subject them to bipartisan scrutiny. The requirement of reading a bill “at length” slows things, mitigating risks of damage to life, liberty and property.
When Republicans declined March 11 to bypass the full reading of the proposed budget, Democratic leadership found a clever way to flout the law. Obeying the law would inconvenience them, and they would not have it.
Instead, they had a computer read the bill so fast no one could understand a word. As gobbledygook filled the chamber, a few Democrats smirked with delight.
State Sen. Bob Gardner was not amused. The Colorado Springs Republican sued. Denver District Judge David Goldberg ruled Democrats broke the law with their mock-speed reading. (No grammar lessons, please. “Mock” is what they did.)
“The Court was unable to discern a single word from the tape played during the court proceeding,” Goldberg wrote. “To ‘read’ the bill, which is a constitutional requisite, in such a manner renders it a nullity.”
As detailed in The Gazette’s April 28 Perspective feature, Democrats have not wasted a moment of timeframe the law allows for annual legislating. They worked through a historic bomb cyclone that shut down schools and the rest of state government, and on Good Friday and Passover for the first time anyone can remember. They convened through last weekend, marking the first weekend sessions in nearly 30 years.
The Senate convened Monday morning and did not adjourn until 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. As reported by Westword’s Chase Woodruff, that led Sen. Jim Smallwood, R-Sedalia, to warn against driving. Smallwood calculated sleep deprivation had senators physically impaired at the equivalence of 0.1 blood alcohol content.
Drunk with unprecedented power, Democrats cannot get enough time imposing their vision of a Colorado more like California — where high taxes, unbridled state spending, excessive regulations and progressive social policies have middle-class families and small-business owners fleeing to free themselves.
Incredibly, in this setting, Democratic leadership blames the prospective special session on Republicans who had the gall to demand readings, and other measures of standard process. In doing so, Republicans challenged extreme and zealous overreach. They presented a semblance of balance, which revolutionaries cannot accept.
Gov. Jared Polis and the Legislature have had their way with Colorado for four long months. The law requires they stop by midnight Friday, and they should obey it.
None of these utopian visions constitutes one or more “extraordinary” circumstances. Don’t eschew the law, again.
End the session Friday and get on with life outside the Capitol. The public needs a break. The words of Gideon J. Tucker have never seemed more relevant. In an 1866 court ruling, the newspaper sage, lawyer and judge declared: “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”
The Gazette editorial board
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