Colorado’s Quantity Or Quality Conundrum

The sheer number of bills that a legislator is sponsoring does not necessarily translate into quality, and certainly doesn’t equate to power and influence at the capitol.

And sometimes, the number of proposed laws – in Colorado this year proposals have included everything from whether teenagers can tan without parental permission to whether people have the right to massage their own horses – can actually detract from debate and deliberations over more heady topics like education, transportation and health care.

In a mid-February interview, House Speaker Andrew Romanoff promoted the idea of restricting, at least in the future, the number of bills that lawmakers can introduce in a given session – currently it is five, with the possibility of getting late bill status.

“People end up treating the five-bill limit like a two-drink minimum,” said Romanoff, a Democrat from Denver. “It’s not clear to me that there’s 500, 600, 700 things wrong with state statute every year that have to be fixed.”

Romanoff is hot for education reform – but that discussion “probably” won’t even lead to legislation this year, he said.

“Meanwhile we have to sort of justify our jobs and run our bills and make life better and tinker with stuff.

“I’m more interested in some of these other issues

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Cara Degette

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