Colorado’s 10 Least Successful Representatives

Like their bottom-of-the-barrel Senate counterparts, the 10 least successful House representatives appear to be quite the legislative wallflowers.

Following a thorough analysis of every bill introduced through the midway point of the 2007 legislative session, this group displays a curious trend to go it alone.

Among these 10 lawmakers, they authored or serve as the primary co-sponsor for just 51 bills. Of their own authored bills, 35 percent of them don’t have a co-sponsor in the opposite chamber and half have already been postponed indefinitely, or PI’d.

Described by the Rocky Mountain News in its endorsement of his 2006 candidacy as “a strong voice for school reform and fiscal conservativism”, Victor Mitchell (R-Castle Rock) has introduced exactly one bill.

HB 1064 encourages counties to implement Lifesaver Programs to allow law enforcement agencies to use signal-emitting technology to track and locate persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and other medical conditions which cause cognitive impairment. A noble cause, without a doubt, and one which he helped found in Douglas County, but there are dozens of others that Rep. Mitchell could have also championed this session as a newly minted legislator.

Debbie Stafford (R-Aurora), who recently earned the wrath of her fellow Republicans, appears to be playing the law of averages by introducing more bills (10 total) than any of her basement-dwelling colleagues. She’s had some success in shepherding her bills through committee but, as of the midpoint in the session, two were still languishing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Freshman shakes may explain Amy Stephens’ (R-Colorado Springs) inability to advance her work. Three of her four bills have no co-sponsor which means they won’t get far.

Stella Hicks (R-Colorado Springs) was elected in early January by a vacancy committee to replace Rep. Mark Cloer who retired just weeks after winning re-election. Hicks has introduced no bills this session.

Like their Senate counterparts, the House GOP leadership also appear among the least effective legislators in their own chamber. Minority Leader Mike May (R-Colorado Springs) and Minority Caucus Chair Bill Cadman are having very little success moving their bills through committee. Between them, four of their seven bills have been killed.

Wes McKinley (D-Walsh) is the sole Democrat on the list. While half of his six bills have passed committee, he earned the embarrassing distinction of having a co-sponsored bill PI’d in his own chamber – and the only one in the entire House, thus far.

Another rarity, is to have a bill “lost on the floor” or essentially ignored though it has gone through its paces in committee. That fate befell a bill sponsored by Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) to eliminate the requirement that petition circulators be registered voters, in addition to three other bills that were killed.

Besides their ultra-conservative ideologies, Kent Lambert (R-Colorado Springs) and Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) also share another commonality. Both of them have had all of their authored bills killed in committee this session. Not one will make it through.

For Lundberg, it means his three consecutive session losing streak continues unabated. Since he began proposing controversial, fringe laws – in cahoots with last place Senator Dave Schultheis – to outlaw abortion and mandate a religious bill of rights in public schools, he has yet to pass a single piece of legislation since 2004.

Read the whole series to date:
Colorado’s Ten Most Successful Senators
Colorado’s Ten Least Successful Senators
Colorado’s Ten Most Successful Representatives
Pass/Fail: A Mid-Term Report Card of Colorado’s State Legislators

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Wendy Norris

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