LegislatureNews

Capitol M: Week ending March 30

Author: Marianne Goodland - April 1, 2018 - Updated: April 12, 2018

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The Colorado Capitol building in Denver. (Photo by ChrisBoswell, istockphoto)

A look at the lighter side, usually, of what goes on at the state Capitol. This week, however, Capitol M feels the need to call out some ill-thought-out behavior this week.

 

If you aren’t reading…The Facebook page of Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, Capitol M says “do it!” Holbert has taken upon himself to educate his constituents about the processes of the General Assembly. It’s well-written and fun to read.

A recent post on the 75th day of the session dealt with why the streets around the state Capitol are named the way they are, and it’s fascinating. He calls it “treasures in plain sight.”

“While the state of Illinois is now considered part of the Midwest, at the time of his presidency starting in 1861, Lincoln was known as the president from the west. Lincoln Street borders our state Capitol to the west,” Holbert wrote.

“General Ulysses S. Grant’s signature in 1876 made Colorado the 38th state. Grant Street borders our state Capitol to the east. And, General Tecumseh Sherman drove his portion of the Union Army from the north straight down the middle of the south, burned Atlanta, and marched all the way to Savannah. That effort led to the end of the Civil War. The street located between Lincoln and Grant, which intersects our state Capitol north-to-south is, of course, Sherman Street.”

“Our state Capitol was designed with those three men in mind. Lincoln Avenue guards the Capitol to the west. Grant Street guards its eastern side. And, Sherman Street intersects the Capitol directly through its north-to-south axis.”

 

Quote of the week…the Joint Budget Committee’s final meeting before introducing the Long Appropriations Bill featured some wistfulness by committee members. Four of the six are either term-limited (Chair Rep. Millie Hamner of Dillon and Vice-chair Sen. Kent Lambert of Colorado Springs) or are running for something other than the General Assembly (Sen. Kevin Lundberg of Berthoud and Rep. Dave Young of Greeley, both running for state treasurer.)

Amidst the fond farewells was this reminiscence by Young regarding what people will do in the future and that brought up former member Sen. Pat Steadman, long-considered one of the giants of the JBC. Steadman was term-limited in 2016. “When people kept saying that they missed Senator Steadman on JBC, he texted all of us and said ‘even I miss me on the Joint Budget Committee!'”

 

And now for something completely different…Capitol M loves the humor of those who hang out in this building, but this week was something completely different, and not in a good way.

On Wednesday, the Senate did a tribute to law enforcement and to fallen officers. As part of that tribute, officers gathered on the south portico of the 2nd floor, right outside the Senate chamber, and fired off a 21-gun salute.

Problem was, nobody warned House members this was coming, and as it turns out, the House had just adjourned to go across the street to the Legislative Services Building to caucus on amendments on the Long Appropriations Bill. As gunshots began to ring out, several lawmakers and their aides broke into a run. One lawmaker fell (no injuries, thankfully). Others were frightened and/or upset until they found out where the shots were coming from. One aide reported on Facebook that she hid behind a car.

Gunshots in a rural community mean someone’s shooting deer or rabbits or pests or a cow that’s broken its leg and has to be put down. In an urban Denver neighborhood such as Capitol Hill, and especially in the wake of a drive-by shooting on the north side of the Capitol in January, gunshots mean something entirely different.

When Capitol M asked how this happened, there was a lot of finger-pointing, so we’re not going there.

That said, Capitol M thinks a bunch of somebodies owes another bunch of somebodies an apology. And maybe to rethink the notion of shooting guns off the Capitol porches.

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland