“Thunderdome 2015” is The Colorado Independent’s wrap-up series on the 2015 legislative season. For a series overview, check out “Thunderdome 2015: 120 days under the gold dome.”
Bright sunlight in the form of great reporting completely turned around an effort to disappear $20 million per year for the Denver public schools in what now seems clear was a long-game election politics effort directed from Washington that targeted U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, the former Denver schools superintendent who is up for re-election next year.
It was a widely embraced bipartisan House bill aimed at trimming back school system contributions to its employee pension fund based on mandatory recommendations from state accountants. It passed the House on a 55 to 9 vote.
Senate Republicans killed the bill so that Bennet opponents next year could argue his deal-making around the school pensions was disastrous.
After stories piled up by The Colorado Independent and The Denver Post and after Senate Republican explanations for why they voted against the bill failed to persuade anyone, Democrats and Republicans re-introduced the bill in the House.
The bill passed there a second time and again with broad bipartisan support. Then it landed in the Senate where, under close scrutiny, it was passed.
Score one for policy and cooperation! Score a major loss for petty election politics.
Read “Thunderdome 2015: 120 days under the gold dome,” for the rest of the series.
Photo credit: Chris Goldberg, Creative Commons. Flickr.