DENVER (CBS4) – Every year Colorado’s legislative session starts with promises of bipartisanship and a commitment to work towards common goals for all of Colorado. But often it’s the day the state really starts to see how the parties are divided.
CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd spent her week talking with lawmakers about what to expect from this session leading up to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s State of the State address.
As usual the governor gave both sides something to like and dislike during his address. He called for an increase for per-pupil funding, but says the budget of every school has to be transparent.
Hickenlooper talked about how important oil and gas is to Colorado’s economy, but wants increased fines for operators that violate regulations.
He also praised state workers, but said he would like to see more public/private partnerships.
He mentioned several areas where he would like to spend money, but also emphasized the importance of saving.
Reaction from both sides was generally positive.
“Colorado is a state that is made up of all different kinds of people — Democrats, Republicans, Independents. I think John Hickenlooper spoke to all of them in his speech,” said Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver.
“It was a good speech. I hope they truly are listening to areas outside of the Denver metro area,” said Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Douglas County. “As we travel the state, and I visited a lot of the state for the transportation committee, I didn’t hear that they were being heard. So I hope this year both sides of the aisle are going to listen.”
“I think overall he tried and accomplished a pretty good spin for what they’re doing and what the state is doing,” said Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Centennial.
Two of the most contentious issues last session were gun control and marijuana legalization. The governor only touched briefly on guns. He said the only thing that got overlooked in the debate on guns last session was the state’s work on mental health. Republicans would have definitely liked to have heard more.
“Rehashing debates of yesterday is not what I think Coloradans want,” Pabon said. “They want us to move forward.”
The question is, “Will they?”