The 2009 Colorado legislative session is underway and the Colorado Cons have made their intentions and general strategy quite clear. They will spend the 120 legislative days delaying the work of the legislature and distracting from actual problems in the lead-up to next year’s elections. A frame is being established and Democrats need to ensure things get done despite the wasteful tactics the Cons are employing.
Example #1: State Sen. Shawn Mitchell (R-Broomfield) led an attack on regulations that were released last month by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. He and his followers are using a false talking point in an attempt to eviscerate the regulations at the behest of the fossil fuel industry. The talking point: any amount of regulation on industry activities will cause a devastating impact on the industry. Instead of being manhandled by regulations, drilling corporations have consistently threatened to pull up their stakes and move to other states to do business. This threat is simply ridiculous: would corporations willingly give up millions of dollars of profits in the face of justified regulatory activity? Of course not. But they keep pushing it nonetheless.
State Sen. David Balmer, not to be “out-talking pointed”, provided the following:
“By every metric I could see … the oil and gas business is declining in Colorado”
Sen. Balmer must not be looking very hard for metrics. Oil and gas drilling operations have exploded across the state in the past 8 years, even during 2 years of Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter’s term. I have a question for Sen. Balmer: what is the state of Colorado getting out of all of this new drilling? More crime, more pollution, more use of taxpayer-funded infrastructure (that the oil and gas corporations are not helping to pay for, by the way) and more negative impacts on tourism (hunting and camping, among others). Meanwhile, Colorado isn’t receiving the tax payments it’s due because of an old exemption put in place to help the oil and gas industry establish themselves in the state. Well, they’re plenty established, but still aren’t paying their fair share. But they’ll happilly fear-monger the populace into believing they’ll leave if the status quo changes. As an added note, Harris Sherman is quoted in the article as identifying falling commodity prices as the primary reason the gas industry has slowed down from its record pace last year. Maybe Sen. Balmer should spend some more time in a basic economics course before throwing around b.s. causes.
Lawmakers will be allowed to amend the proposed regulations prior to their enactment. I hope CO Democrats will not allow the Cons to wreck the process, which has already taken years.
Example #2: CO Con legislators demanded the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice address their charges that recent decisions favored Democrats. Umm, it’s actually called doing their jobs. Perhaps Con legislators should spend more of their time doing their jobs … making laws … than telling Supreme Court justices how to do theirs. Democratic Rep. Terrance Carroll lent his opinion to the matter:
Republicans should be worried about creating jobs instead of “manufacturing allegations against the court.” “I find it interesting that they want to try to trump up charges in what is one of the worst economic crises in history,” said Carroll.
Bingo. Thank you, Rep. Carroll. This issue is tied to the above: instead of doing the people’s work, Republicans are attempting to manufacture controversy where there is none. How do judges get their jobs in Colorado? A nonpartisan committee nominates them and they are appointed by the governor. If judges don’t rule the way Cons like, then they say judges are “legislating from the bench”, or “writing, not interpreting” the law. The Cons have perfected the art of playing the refs instead of playing the game.
In an environment in which ultra-partisan Republicans have been losing elections at all levels, it is somewhat amazing to see them continue their failed strategies. Partisan witch hunts and delaying overdue drilling regulations weren’t on their list of reasons to vote for them two months ago. Gee, that’s a surprise.
Cross-posted at SquareState.