In a legislative session overshadowed by sexual misconduct allegations that ramped up before the the first bill was introduced, everything else seemed like it was crowded out. But in spite of this unusual circumstance, some things were accomplished, and other efforts fell short. As we do every year, here is a look at some of the winners and losers from this year’s 120 day legislative session.
First, the winners, which honestly were tough to select.
Colorado’s teachers unions, emboldened by victories over the past few years, and seemingly flush with cash made their presence known. Why they won? Attempts to reform PERA (see Losers) were completely derailed, at least partially due to the influence of the teachers union, leaving critical negotiations to the 11th (literally) hour.
Even worse, the union orchestrated walkouts of teachers across the state, inconveniencing parents statewide. But the union spread its narrative effectively, even if it was based on completely inaccurate information. And even if average teachers don’t win, union bosses do. When union bosses win, Coloradans lose.
Former Rep. Steve Lebsock
We would not go so far to say that Steve Lesbock got the last laugh, because he certainly wasn’t laughing on his final day in the legislature. No one was. But with a last minute change to his political affiliation, Lesbock left a final surprise for everyone. In perhaps the only way that he had to strike back at his own party, who in his mind turned on him, Lesbock’s last minute switch threw the right to appoint his replacement to a Republican vacancy committee.
We didn’t hear much from Lesbock since expulsion vote, the first one in about 100 years, other than a strange tweet from a Trump-branded hotel in Vegas. Maybe he’s left us all behind to live out a Playboy lifestyle in Vegas – of course, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Oil and gas
Despite efforts by fractivists to derail effective regulation supported by the oil and gas industry, the industry powered through and passed legislation that took a lot of the fractivists’ firepower away.
For example, fractivists recruited mineral owners to allege that they didn’t want their minerals developed, which would sort of like buying Johnson & Johnson stock and refusing to accept the yearly dividend payment, the oil and gas industry strengthened protections for mineral owners. Boom. The effort even won the begrudging praise of Boulder Democrats and astroturf group LOGIC, which have opposed the industry at every turn.