This column treats Colorado’s Capitol as if it is Coffeyville, Kan., and its author is once again back at the Coffeyville Journal.
By Don Knox, STATE BILL COLORADO
YOU KNOW IT’S A NEW SESSION WHEN the House and Senate calendars fail to mention a little get-together known as the annual joint session convened for the new governor’s “State of the State Address.” … Naturally, we blame the media.
SPEECH REAX: Both sides cheer gov.’s 1st address (Durango Herald). Hickenlooper message strikes a note (Pueblo Chieftain). Hickenlooper asks for help transforming Colorado (AP). Hickenlooper wows Dems, GOP with businessman approach (Gazette). Hick seems to appease masses (Denver Daily News). Hickenlooper looks to balance sides, budget (Denver Post). Divided legislature is united on Hickenlooper’s first speech (KWGN). Hickenlooper promises regulation reform (DBJ). Thursday Churn: All pull together (Education News Colorado). Hickenlooper State of the State speech leaves Ritter behind (Examiner.com).
NICE SENTIMENT, BUT: The governor floats the idea of adding a “regulatory impact statement” to bills. We love it, but how can you know beforehand how many rules, hearings, meetings and votes will be required? It’s a mystery …
OUR DOGS VS. THEIR DOGS: It was Federal Protective Service dogs, not Colorado State Patrol dogs, doing the House chamber bomb-sniffing yesterday. Apparently, the CSP dogs specialize in finding pot, not bombs. In Colorado, this is as it should be.
QUIRKY, WEIRD, FUN: In a piece titled Applying five-star customer service to the state government, 9News’ Cheryl Preheim compares a Hick-led state government to running a Chick-fil-A restaurant on South Havana. Hold on a minute: He could change the state’s name … to Hick-fil-A.
QUOTABLE: “This is not my first time at the deficit rodeo” — John Hickenlooper.
NOW THIS WE LIKE: From the governor’s Facebook page: A photo of John Hickenlooper in his office. Alone.
BIG BREAKING NEWS: The legislature’s Joint Budget Committee is moving a bill forward that would take away almost all of the state tax-exempt status of Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s quasi-governmental worker’s compensation insurance fund, Tim Hoover writes. Hickenlooper won’t join calls for Ross to resign, says he doesn’t know enough about insurance-spending practices.
GOOD EYE? A “tweet” during yesterday’s State of the State Address from the Post’s Lynn Bartels (@lynn_bartels): “Hick’s cabinet is seated on the sidelines. If I had known Mike King was that hot I would have paid attention to oil and gas.” Here’s a photo of King.
YOU KNOW IT’S A NEW SESSION WHEN the Capitol cafeteria has to close because there’s so much foot traffic that ever-reliable and patient manager Angie can restock shelves — and brew more coffee.
EVER HELPFUL: It was Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher who suggested to Hickenlooper the idea of those legislator flashcards, Patrick Malone writes in The Chieftain.
NOW THIS WE LIKE, PART II: From the governor’s Facebook page: Legislators escorting a somewhat uncomfortable looking Hickenlooper into the House chambers for the “State of the State Address.”
Contrary to popular belief, the first SOS Address is NOT like being thrown to the lions. It’s like having lions hungrily introduce you to more of their lion friends …
YOU KNOW IT’S A NEW SESSION WHEN Senate President Brandon Shaffer, in an illustration on the cover of the Colorado Statesman, looks like he’s getting cattle-prodded, and everyone but John Hickenlooper looks more than a little creepy. (Of course, we devour the Statesman weekly.)
TODAY’S AMENDMENT 41 VIOLATORS could be PUC members Ron Binz and Matt Baker, according to a report by Brad Jones on FaceTheState.com. It’s true: Amendment 41 “has few defenders in either party. It wove a tangled and inscrutable web of restrictions on gifts to government officials that arguably could snare just about anybody in public life at some point.”
YOU KNOW IT’S A NEW SESSION WHEN last-minute committee, room and phone-number switches have made especially bleary-eyed the editors of the annual “Gold Book” legislative guide.
WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: One of the good guys, House Speaker Terrance Carroll, has his Sunday. Post to his Facebook wall here.
YOU KNOW IT’S A NEW SESSION WHEN it’s only Session Day 3 … but it feels like its Session Day 30.
THANK GOODNESS for Martin Luther King Day. Thank goodness for Martin Luther King. See you Tuesday.