On the losing side, we had new losers came up on this year’s radar. Public school teachers walked out on their students to protest at the Capitol (or just sit at home), and as a result throw the state’s largest school districts into chaos. A “red flag” bill to restrict gun ownership for crazy people was shot down. And the scheme between Morgan Carroll and Crisanta Duran to boot Randy Baumgardner and take control of the state senate never achieved their desired outcome. And, then, the PERA reform that wasn’t. Without further ado, here are the losers:
Former Rep. Steve Lebsock
He’s the first person in over 100 years to be kicked out of the Colorado State Legislature. That’s almost as embarrassing as his behavior that initiated his removal. All around a poor showing from someone who is supposed to represent the best society has to offer.
Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll hatched a plan that included jettisoning a Democratic legislator, Steve Lebsock, who was a pain in Carroll’s a$$ in order to attempt a coup of the State Senate leveraging #metoo sentiment. Unfortunately for her, Carroll’s unwillingness to persecute a well-liked Democrat, Mayor Michael Hancock or Sen. Daniel Kagan, meant that her hypocrisy got in the way of being able to effectively execute her plot. At some point, the momentum behind this attempt crashed and burned.
The Colorado pension program has been in deep trouble for years and, this year, the legislature tried to reform this failing system with little success. Some public employees get to choose their retirement, but not teachers, who already are screwed throughout this entire retirement system. The state still must pony up more money each year for retirement costs, and the retirement age is still below the full retirement age for social security that all the people who pay for this (taxpayers) must abide by. And it leaves the unrealistically high payouts to recipients when everyone else must use 401Ks. Then, there is the unrealistic rate of return that PERA operates on – that wasn’t touched. Some say we will likely be back in the near future to try to fix this again. Consider this a victory for teachers unions at the expense of not only their members (teachers), but taxpayers.
Red Flag Bill
This was a really tough issue, handled with grace by some Republicans, but definitely not all. The bill would have given law enforcement and others a process by which they could confiscate weapons from those who posed a serious risk to themselves and others. But the devil was in the details – how do we decide who is a risk? Can that process be abused?
This was a genuine effort to keep Coloradans safe and it’s a shame that some organizations resorted to personal attacks in order to kill the bill. We’d like to think there could be a way to address this in the future, but, unfortunately, we doubt folks like Dudley Brown with Rocky Mountain Gun Owners would be collaborative in the process.
Sen. Randy Baumgardner
Honestly, we don’t know if Sen. Baumgardner is guilty or not. We don’t care. The frequent accusations against him were a distraction when there were many crazy issues to deal with at the legislature. We’re not saying he should be kicked out like Lebsock as he seemed contrite, but hot damn, enough with this crap.
Sen. Daniel Kagan
The guy likes to use the ladies room, made other women uncomfortable, and got caught lying about it. Even worse, a Senate secretary and the legislature security team had to create an entirely separate category just to prevent him from raiding the ladies room. It’s pathetic and the calls for his resignation from Democrats should have been just as loud as the calls for Baumgardner. But they weren’t. Because Democrats are hypocrites.
When teachers walk out to protest having almost the lowest pay in the country (which was totally false by the way – Colorado is middle of the pack), that means kids have to stay home from school. When kids stay home from school, that means parents have to find a babysitter or miss work. Thanks, Colorado teachers, for protesting for naught and tripping up Colorado’s hard working parents in the meantime.