Unclogging Colorado’s Lawjam

There are proposals that make for droll commentary and witty comebacks, like the right to massage your own horse and to ban driving while distracted and outlaw implanting microchips in humans. And there has been the Son of Make My Day and the foreign flags bill, which stimulated hysteric assertions that soon Nazi flags will be allowed in public schools.

“I’m not saying these bills are ridiculous … they fill the papers,” said Colorado’s Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff in a recent interview. Meanwhile, the big-picture issues – like education reform and transportation planning – often take a back seat.

Colorado’s 100 lawmakers currently can sponsor five bills a session, a number that Romanoff would like reduce next year.

“People end up treating the five-bill limit like a two-drink minimum,” he said.

“It’s not clear to me that there’s 500, 600, 700 things wrong with state statute every year that have to be fixed,” said Romanoff, a Democrat from Denver.

Romanoff is hot for education reform – but that discussion “probably” won’t even lead to legislation this year. The state transportation panel won’t even start meeting until halfway through the session, the speaker noted. “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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