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Acrimonious 2013 Session Comes to an End

Reflections on the 2013 Legislative Session . . . 

May 10, 2013 

As they say in Hollywood, “It’s a wrap!”

The first session of the 39th Colorado General Assembly ended Monday shortly before 4 p.m., with many of the lawmakers and lobbyists retiring to Stoney’s Bar and Grill at 11th and Broadway to celebrate. The Colorado Chamber was represented at this event.

First, The Colorado Chamber wishes to first thank its members for their support and involvement during the session, especially the Board of Directors and the member of the five The Colorado Chamber Councils, whose work with the The Colorado Chamber lobbying team is critical in analyzing bills and approving The Colorado Chamber positions on those bills:

Energy and Environment Council, chaired by John Jacus, Partner, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP;

“You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn’t enough in the second half, you give what’s left.” Yogi Berra

Second, a huge thank-you is due the veteran The Colorado Chamber lobbying team for its non-stop, day and night effort during the session to advance pro-business legislation and fight to amend or stop “bad-for-business” bills.

  • Chuck Berry, The Colorado Chamber President,
  • Loren Furman, The Colorado Chamber Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations,
  • Carly West, The Colorado Chamber Governmental Relations Representative,
  • Susan McGurkin, The Colorado Chamber Federal Policy Representative, and
  •  Larry Hudson, The Colorado Chamber Governmental Relations Consultant.

It’s not an understatement to state that The Colorado Chamber has the largest, most experienced and best lobbying team at the State Capitol!

“If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.” Yogi Berra

Third, The Colorado Chamber wishes to express its appreciation to those legislators of both political parties who worked with the The Colorado Chamber lobbying team to protect and enhance the Colorado business climate.

“You got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” Yogi Berra

Yesterday, The Colorado Chamber issued its detailed summary of the session with an overview of The Colorado Chamber’s lobbying strategy and the results by Loren Furman, The Colorado Chamber Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations:

Despite this pervasive conflict, The Colorado Chamber succeeded in working with lawmakers to successfully compromise on some bills and to defeat others that were “bad-for-business.”

The Colorado Chamber spent the first half of the session working to amend bills, which The Colorado Chamber opposed as introduced, that targeted “bad apple” employers on such issues as employers’ use of credit histories of workers and job applicants, so-called “wage theft” by employers and the extension of family-and-medical leave.

During the latter part of the session, The Colorado Chamber defended the oil-and-gas industry against an avalanche of bills that sought to severely restrict the industry’s operation, which could have forced some companies to relocate to other, more hospitable states.

Link to pdf of session summary

Evaluations of the session, of course, depend on one’s political perspective; here are some from the main political actors: The Office of Governor John Hickenlooper and the offices of the four legislative caucuses:

Office of Governor John Hickenlooper

“An overreach implies that your ambitions exceed common sense. If you look at the list, it’s not an excessive agenda.” Quoted by The Denver Post.

Senate Majority Democrats

“Through our work, we have touched the lives of every Coloradan — rural and urban, women and men, and gay and straight Coloradans. We, Democrats, work for the people. We believe in lifting everyone up, and giving them a safe environment in which to excel. I think we made a lot of progress toward that goal this session,” said Majority Leader Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora).

Senate Minority Republicans

Senator Greg Brophy (R-Wray), quoted by The Denver Business Journal: “More than anything else, it’s the message that you get out of the building (the State Capitol) that they’re (the oil-and gas industry) under the gun still. It’s like we dodged a bullet but we’ve still got shrapnel and we know that they’re (Democrats and environmentalists) coming back for more.”

House Majority Democrats

“House Democrats made jobs and the economy their top legislative priority this session,” Speaker Mark Ferrandino said after the votes. “We have delivered on our promise to the people of Colorado.”

House Minority Republicans

“Our friends and neighbors sent us here for a reason, and we haven’t lost sight of that,” House Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, said. “For the last 120 days, House Republicans have fought hard for a legislative agenda that fosters growth and success for every Coloradan.”

Finally, for news media wrap-up coverage of the session, read:

In finale to legislative session, Hickenlooper lists accomplishments,” by Kurtis Lee, The Denver Post, May 10th.

Business counts up wins, losses as Colorado legislative session ends,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, May 10th.

Winners and losers of the 2013 Colorado General Assembly,” editorial, The Denver Post, May 10th.

2013 Colorado legislative session scorecard,” by Kurtis Lee, The Denver Post, May 9th.