Senator Pat Steadman

And the Winners Are...

Those obscure film awards in Hollywood

weren't the only awards handed out last night!



"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players..."


You're in for a treat.  Welcome to the fourth #COLeg Awards.  In what has become an annual tradition, indeed my most highly anticipated newsletter of the year, I once again offer up my winners (which include some total losers) of distinctive awards for performance on the legislative stage.  It's all good clean fun, designed to spotlight some of the good work, disappointments and shenanigans from your Colorado General Assembly.



Envelope please!  And without further aideu, the winners are:




Supplemental Appropriations:  SB 143 thru SB 170

Sponsored by Sen. Kent Lambert (R-Colorado Springs) and Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon) on behalf of the Joint Budget Committee

So far this year the most interesting storyline has emerged from what should be the most mundane of routine legislative business.  Adjustments to the current budget year often address unanticipated caseload, and authorizing spending increases from available cash fund balances is usually an easy decision.  But when the subject is concealed weapons permits or driver's licenses for people without permanent lawful presence, all bets are off.  There have been sharp rebukes for prematurely deploying the nukes, giving us hope we can avoid mutually assured destruction.  That's all folks! 




Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice

State of the Judiciary Address 

By far the most engaging speech of the opening of the new session, this biennial address revealed the new Chief Justice's character and charm. She spoke from her heart and from her experience, and with candor and colorful language she imparted a sense of urgency around the needs of the Judicial Branch and access to justice for all Coloradans. And that courthouse in Walsenberg - that's crazy!




Representative Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs)

Dual roles as Dr. Chaps and State Representative, District 15

Whichever hat he is wearing on any given day, he pours himself into the role. Will the real Gordon Klingenschmitt please stand up? 

This is Rep. Klingenschmitt's first nomination and first win in this category. 




Tie:  Room 271, State Capitol Building

 House & Senate Chambers restoration

Interior renovations took place last summer and fall at the Capitol.  The House and Senate Chambers were restored to their original paint and stenciling after tacky old acoustic tiles were removed from the walls.  Further renovations are planned, including re-opening the original skylights above the Chambers.  Meanwhile, what was once office space is now a cavernous committee room, accommodating the most seating of any room in the Capitol.  It has bad sight lines and terrible sound, but lots of windows and the magnificent oil paintings formerly displayed in the House Chamber have found a new home in Room 271.  A welcome addition. 




Representative John Keyser (R-Morrison)

for his sponsorship of HB 15-1028

Each year I present this award to a legislator who has found an old law to repeal, and Rep. Keyser's first bill of his legislative career is this year's winner.  HB 1028 repeals an entire Article in Title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, shortening next year's statute book by several pages.  These obsolete merchant licensing requirements haven't been followed for decades, but for some reason they're still on the books.  But not for much longer! 

This is Rep. Keyser's first nomination and first win in this category.




Representative Dan Pabon (D-Denver)

The new Speaker Pro Tempore of the Colorado House of Representatives is always a strong contender in this category, and this year he edges the competition.  Sponsoring HB 1158 to give tax breaks to data centers, another bill on patent trolling, and SB 101 to allow employers to pay workers with paycards, his performance is a standout.  He's all business, and we've got a winner!.         

This is Rep. Pabon's fourth nomination and second win in this category. 




Representative Don Coram (R-Montrose) 

Western slope Republicans are a different breed.  Rep. Coram wins this award for his co-sponsorship of HB 1194 with Rep. KC Becker.  He's supporting long-acting reversible contraception, replacing an expiring grant from a private foundation with state funding.  That 5-year grant included a rigorous evaluation yielding data demonstrating cost-effectiveness and reductions in pregnancy and abortion rates.  Good policy, good data, cost effective - he's very convincing as a Democrat!  

This is Rep. Coram's first nomination and first win in this category. 




Construction Defection LitigationSB 177 

Sen. Jessie Ulibarri (D-Commerce City) is back, this time with Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel (R-Douglas County) in tow.  Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont) and House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland) are teamed up in the House, and collectively they're carrying the most heavily lobbied and hotly contested bill of the session.  Tensions are high, mutiny is nigh.  Most of the roles are type-cast, there's shoddy set design, but the drama is so thick it's driving ratings as everyone cashes in.   




Gun Bill Repeal-a-thonSB 86, SB 175, HB 1009 and HB 1050

These are companion bills introduced in each chamber, all with the same destination.  In a series of hearings these bills present the opportunity to re-litigate the 2013 gun safety debates.  There isn't much new to be said, but audiences keep coming, despite the fact that everyone knows exactly how the story will end.  Ain't that a laugh?  Shout-outs to Senators Holbert, Lambert and Woods, and Reps. Humphrey and Joshi.  All's well that ends well! 




Senator Irene Aguilar (D-Denver)

In January a nasty bug was going around the Capitol.  Sen. Aguilar wanted very much to participate in a hearing about biologic drugs, scheduled before an anxious crowd in the new Room 271, the largest committee room on the second floor of the Capitol.  But she was getting sick.  The members sit at the far end of the room, a long way from the only exit.  And there was no place to go, so she ducked behind the desk and grabbed a trash can, and everyone in the room could hear what came next.  And next.  Witnesses said she emerged a few minutes later pale and sweaty, and someone brought her a tissue.  She gave a speech about her support for the bill before making her exit.  By all accounts it was truly awful, making Sen. Aguilar a winner. 




Senate State Affairs Committee 

Each chamber has its "kill committee," and more often than not its name is "State Affairs."  Dispatching unwanted legislation to its final resting place is the primary purpose of the committee, which sometimes gets messy, but done right it works like this year's Senate State Affairs Committee.  Minimal rancor, few questions and rarely an explanation -- they just hang their heads in shame and vote NO.  Some argue its All-Male Revue qualities add to the entertainment value, but it's a marvel of government efficiency and it wins this year's award. 




Sen. Tim Neville and his son, Rep. Patrick Neville

If you remember the old 1980s sitcom, the focus was on changing generations and the cultural shift to the right that was taking place at the time.  Fast forward to the 1950s -- I mean present day Colorado, where this father-son team are tighter and righter than Alex Keaton ever imagined.  Every bill Rep. Patrick Neville has introduced in the House this year has Sen. Tim Neville as its Senate sponsor.  They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but this apple is still clinging to it. 




Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler

for his testimony opposing SB 15-088

Cameo appearances are often overlooked, but this one was hard to miss.  His testimony in the Senate State Affairs Committee was bombastic, over the top and driven by personal vendetta, but Gessler excelled at being the most authentic person in the room (which really is saying something).  He was opposing a bill on the Independent Ethics Commission, the body that found his own ethics lacking and that he had "breached the public trust for personal gain."  Now that's entertainment!




Senator Ellen Roberts (R-Durango)

Senate President Pro Tempore

Critical acclaim for her leadership role in the 70th General Assembly: "Mesmerizing! Bravo!" "It wasn't a reading it was a performance!"

"So deeply immersed in character she's barely recognizable."

This is Sen. Roberts' first nomination and first win in this category.





The waiting is over!  I present to you the Best Picture of 2015, my official senior class portrait.  Clean-shaven, clean cut and a crisp blue suit with timeless white shirt and bold stripe tie.  I was going for a statement.   


After each election they have us sit for a portrait.  Composite photos of all the prior General Assemblies are displayed throughout the Capitol building.  This will soon be gracing the walls outside the main entrance to the Senate chamber.  It's a keeper!






I hope you enjoyed this year's award presentations.  If you'd like to compare previous years, here are some special links to the archives!


March 3, 2014  "and the winner is..." (third annual)

February 25, 2013  "and the winners are..."

February 27, 2012  "and the winner is..."  (Inaugural edition)





Republicans Leverage the JBC

by Marianne Goodland, The Colorado Statesman, February 20, 2015

"Steadman noted that the bill also would fund peace officer training and money that would cover the costs of testing forensic evidence, such as rape kits."


Millions in Marijuana Tax Revenue to be Refunded, Unless... 

by Ben Markus, Colorado Public Radio, February 13, 2015

"Having the taxes in place is part of making this whole experiment with legal marijuana work," Steadman said.





Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 7:00 to 8:00 pm

Windsor Gardens Democratic Club

Centerpoint at Windsor Gardens

690 S. Clinton St., Denver, CO 80230

Join us for the monthly meeting of the Windsor Gardens Dems, where this month I am the featured speaker.  My talk will highlight my work on the Joint Budget Committee and current issues in the state budget, but I'll touch on other topics as well and of course, answer all your questions. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 6:00 to 7:30 pm

SD 31 Town Hall Meeting

CHUN Tears McFarlane House, Community Room

1290 Williams St, Denver, CO 80218

Once again I'll be joined by Rep. Lois Court as my co-host for this event.  Bring your questions, and bring a friend, for what is always a lively and informative event.

Saturday, February 28, 2015, 7:00 pm until the wee hours...
Colorado Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner
Marriott City Center Hotel, Grand Ballroom
18th & California St., Downtown Denver, CO 80202
Everyone who is anyone in the Democratic Party in this state will be at the Marriott tonight for the party's biggest annual fundraising dinner and awards presentation.  United States Senator Al Franken (D-Minn) will deliver the keynote address, and hopefully they'll bring him on sometime before 10:00 pm.  This dinner notoriously runs unnecessarily long, but this keynote may be worth waiting for. 
Tickets required, click here for details.

Thanks for reading this update, and please don't hesitate to drop me a line with any questions or concerns you may have. You can use the links below to follow me on Twitter or like my page on Facebook. Let's stay in touch!
Pat Steadman  

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