Thunderdome: 120 days under the Gold Dome

It wasn’t supposed to be a partisan legislative session. Power was nearly equally divided. Republicans controlled the Senate by one vote. Democrats controlled the House by three votes. Yet, 120 days after it started, what has marked the 70th session of the state General Assembly has been ripe with partisan outbursts, mostly erupting from the Republican corner.

There was freshman Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt from Colorado Springs quoting scripture, talking about a “curse of god” on the nation brought on by legalized abortion. He drew public scorn and sanction for his remarks by his own party leaders.

There was freshman Senator Tim Neville from Littleton pushing a last-minute anti-abortion forced-ultrasound bill that never had a chance of passing but that he was determined to make a splash with by promoting it with handouts advertising the services of an ultrasound van he parked across the street from the Capitol.

There were the senators on the State Affairs committee tanking a $20 million per year windfall for students and teachers of the cash-strapped Denver public school system. Why did they do it? Merely, it seems clear, to poke a finger in the eye of former superintendent Michael Bennet, who is now a Democratic U.S. Senator up for reelection next year.

As one wry Capitol watcher put it: “Washington politics has come to Colorado — and squatted obscenely directly over the Capitol dome.”

So here it is folks, The Colorado Independent overview of some of the most-telling big battles that emerged this year. Read one or read them all. But most importantly, prepare to wire your jaw shut before it drops to the floor, because this has been one shock-inducing, wild ride.

1. Abortion politics vs. Colorado

2. Children’s health vs. parents’ rights

3. Media spotlight vs. election-politics ‘strategery’

4. LGBTQ people vs. Christian right

5. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners vs. everyone

6. Teen-pregnancy science vs. confusion

7. Fossil fuels vs. Environmental Protection Agency

8. Native Americans vs. coaches

9. Police body cameras vs. chokeholds

10. Klingenschmitt vs. Klingenschmitt


Photo credit: Albert Yau, Creative Commons. Flickr.