Capitol Conversation: Tempers Flare in Senate as Democrat Proposals Defeated

Tempers flared at the state capitol last week when Republicans used their new majority in the Senate to defeated several Democratic proposals. Bente Birkeland analyzes the events as part of our capitol conversation series.



Colorado’s new Republican Senate majority flexed their muscles this week/last week at the state capitol. They used their power on the joint budget committee to defund a 2013 law allowing people in the country illegally to obtain a state driver’s license. They also struck down a bill to harmonize Colorado’s civil unions law with a gay marriage ban that was deemed unconstitutional by the 10th circuit court of appeals. They also struck down a commission looking pay equity between men and women.

With split legislative control and Democrats in charge of the House, how will this impact both parties politically?

Bente Birkeland asked statehouse reporters Lynn Bartels with the Denver Post and Peter Marcus with the Durango Herald to analyze the events.


On Driver’s Licenses for People in the Country illegally:

Peter Marcus- Durango Herald

“The pomp and circumstance at the start of session quickly faded. And all the talk of bipartisanship faded and the immigrant driver’s license issue it a great example. What we’re talking about money that is there. It’s a self sustaining program that’s paid for by fees from applicants. So really all [Republicans] had to do was authorize the money for a bill that was already on the books. So Democrats were particularly upset about this.”

Lynn Bartels- Denver Post

“I think you’re going to see some killing fields here on one side or the other. You wonder what’s going to be left to send to the Governor.”


Political Consequences:

Peter Marcus- Durango Herald

“Everything the Republicans did, really didn’t play into the middle class narrative Democrats are trying to push. So looking at 2016, major elections coming. Democrats are definitely going to be able to use some of these votes as ammunition to say Republicans aren’t in touch with what Americans want.”

Lynn Bartels- Denver Post

“In fact somebody said to me wow, the Senate Republicans in a single day managed to upset immigrants, women, and gays, this is great.”