Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Update on Ritter's Critters

"Ritter's Critters" What do you think? I'm not sure I like it. Whatever it may or may not gain in alliterative value, it loses in . . . what? level of discourse? I'm not sure I want to sink to their level, you know? Anyway . . .

This is an update on the goings-on down at the state house, now that the Democrats are in control of both chanbers of the legislature and the Governor's Mansion. Of particular interest will be whether Bill Ritter manages to keep his promise to govern "all Coloradans" from the center, whether he will be a check on the "cockamamie schemes" (as the Rocky Mountain News put it), or whether he will payoff his big donors and be who we all thought he would be during the mock campaign.

Let's see . . . .where to begin.

How about House Bill 1072? This is a law that would repeal Colorado's Labor Peace Act, which basically guarantees a Labor "open house" in the state. It is one of the reasons that Colorado's business climate has been among the strongest in the region and the country in the last ten years.

How bad is this bill? It cleared the state House of Representatives on a straight party-line vote. Every--EVERY--Republican state senator and representative has signed a letter to the governor urging him to veto this bill. The Rocky Mountain News has editorialized against this bill in fairly mocking terms. Even the Denver Post has "encouraged" the Governor to sit on this bill, though it's objections are more procedural than substantive. The Chamber of Commerce hates this bill, and is ready to give itself the "Sucker of the Year" Award.

So . . . . will Governor Ritter keep his campaign promises? Not likely, according to certain indications he's given.

Ben has a pretty good read on this one.

What else?

Oh, this goes prominently under the heading "Cockamamie Schemes."

Senate Bill 46 would put Colorado in an interstate agreement to elect the president by popular vote, instead of the electoral system currently in place.

Never mind that the voters of this state rejected this idea in the last election; never mind that it would completely neuter Colorado's influence in the elections, and hand it over to the large coastal cities; and never mind that . . . oh, never mind. This one sucks. And it passed.

And, what else?

Oh, yes. There's this lovely act of Incumbent Protection.

The bill aims to strengthen state fundraising disclosure for 527s, named for the Internal Revenue Service code that defines them, to help identify the corporations, unions and wealthy individuals who fund them.

Currently, 527s are only required to file six financial reports with the IRS in election years. This provides a critical window just before elections when 527s can unleash a barrage of negative ads, without identifying who gave money and how it was spent until after the election.

I hate to say "I told you so," but . . . I told you so.

Now that they've got power, they're going to move to protect their flank.

All in all, a pretty good week for the Democrats.

By the way, GOP, watch this very carefully. THIS is how a party in power acts. As much as I hate the results, you gotta admire the ruthless efficiency with which the Dems act. And, in their defense, it's not like any of their actions are--or should be--a surprise to anybody.

Now, let's just sit back and see if they overplay their hand.

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