The penalty for a state senator who attended a high-profile meeting while admittedly drunk and found guilty of violating the legislature’s rules of ethics will receive a scolding letter as her punishment and told not to do it again.

A bipartisan panel of lawmakers investigated the charges against Democrat Faith Winter of Westminster and voted 4 to 1 that she violated a rule in failing to perform her duties in a matter that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the legislature.

Instead of censure or expulsion, Senate President Steve Fenberg will write a letter rebuking her behavior while urging her to refrain from substance abuse.

Winter, who still serves in a leadership position as the assistant minority leader, had already voluntarily resigned a committee chairmanship.

PeakNation™ will recall the rather contentious Northglenn meeting in April where hundreds of residents turned out to oppose a transitional living center for sex offenders in their neighborhood near a school.

Winter defended the need for such a center. She was also the author of legislation that increased the number of such residential behavioral health beds in Colorado.

She was clearly intoxicated and told by law enforcement in attendance to find a ride home. The following day she admitted to her intoxicated state and said she would seek help for substance abuse.

The Denver Gazette covered the ethics panel’s proceedings:

Winter, a Democrat from Westminster who appeared before the committee and accompanied by former State Rep. Matt Gray, expressed little emotion throughout the 3.5 hour hearing, only looking at her fingernails and texting occasionally.

PeakNation™ will recall Gray’s own tragic public intoxication episode, in which he called Winter to rescue him.

The two are apparently engaged. We hope they find help together.

The prevailing defense for Winter’s behavior is that drunkenness and other substance abuse is common at the state Capitol in Denver, and a belief by some that Winter was unfairly selected for punishment.

While this certainly explains the avalanche of oppressive and absurd laws that flows forth from the Colorado General Assembly, drunkenness is no way to go through life, or govern.

Panel state senators who voted that Winter violated the rules of ethics include Democrats Julie Gonzales of Denver and Dylan Roberts of Avon, Republicans Paul Lundeen of Monument and Bob Gardner of Colorado Springs.

Democrat James Coleman of Denver was the lone vote who sided with Winter.