The first regular session of the 72nd Colorado General Assembly is over. This week, we look back on everything the legislature accomplished and what the General Assembly does over the eight month interim.
We also talk about the Nuggets' and Avalanche's failed playoff runs and give our (now outdated) Game of Thrones takes.
Majority Leader Alec Garnett: Welcome to Episode 10 of The SmartAlec Podcast. It is May 15th. We are done with the legislative session. I'm here, as always, with producer Ethan Black, my aide.
Ethan Black: Hello, hello.
MLG: Ethan, what's up man?
EB: I'm doing well. I'm taking a trip tomorrow with some buddies of mine, it's gonna be a lot of fun. I'm going to Mexico City.
MLG: That is awesome. So we are done with the legislative session. I would say that the legislative session can be summed up with, "Promises made, promises kept." Looking back on all the things that we did, all of the bills that we passed, it's amazing how much was accomplished. And the things that were accomplished were things that people talked about on the campaign trail, and things that people talked about before session. And then looking back, we got so much of it done so that - it's a pretty pretty good feeling to be all wrapped up and finished.
EB: Yeah, and in the moment, it just - you're so overwhelmed with dealing with the new different things that pop up every day and making sure this piece of legislation goes forward, or that piece of legislation goes forward. And at the end, to be able to look back on it and see all that you accomplished is pretty nice.
MLG: It's really nice. And if you look at the past year comparisons, you know, fewer bills died this year than in years past, which means people were bringing forward thoughtful, meaningful legislation. More bills passed this year than in past legislative sessions, which means they garnered more support than they have in years past. And so, you know, I think individually - I think our office had a very successful year.
One thing that we didn't talk a lot about was at the end of session, literally on the last day of session, funding for the water plan through the legalization of sports betting passed.
EB: That was very cool.
MLG: It was cool.
EB: We're recording this in the building right now, so I'm not sure if I can tell people, in November, to go off and vote for the TABOR thing. I can't do that. But -
MLG: Mm, I think you probably can. There will be - so I think what you're saying is, there will be a referred measure to pass a tax on sports betting operators on their net betting proceeds. And that tax, the main beneficiary to the revenue that would be generated, will be the Colorado water plan. So preserving Colorado's way of life. Preserving our most precious resource. Preserving what makes recreation here in Colorado so precious, whether or not that's hiking, or fly-fishing, or skiing. And so hopefully it passes. I imagine the Colorado voters
will get behind something like this. And so we'll see. But that was that was a pretty heavy lift that kind of flew under the radar a little bit.
EB: No, I mean it is under the radar but that's something that you need to remember. There are still things on which you can vote this November, even though no one's running for a big office, or president, or anything. You can still vote to legalize water...
I mean legalize sports betting. Water is already legal. It's not illegal yet – not until we go full democratic overreach. (Just kidding)
MLG: Since session ended, we have lost two game sevens. The Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets had great seasons.
EB: Both great games, honestly.
MLG: And great games. Except, you know, that Nuggets game - it was tough having it on Mother's Day at 1:30 in the afternoon. You know? I was trying to make sure I was being a good husband and dad while at the same time watching the Nuggets choke away a 17 point lead. It's pretty disappointing, to be honest. Like, maybe the worst choke in Colorado sports history? Other than getting swept by the Boston Red Sox in the World Series in 2007
EB: I don't know. The 2014 Super Bowl was pretty bad.
MLG: The Seahawks crushed us. But it's like we never had a chance in that game. I think the equivalent of a choke is you have to have, like, the victory in grasp.
Well, you know, to add to the disappointment of television watching can we talk a little bit about Game of Thrones?
Spoiler alert. I don't even know what that means. But...
EB: Yeah, well... No, this season of Game of Thrones, I think, has been a bummer. I think the writers are phoning it in. They're just moving way too fast.
MLG: Yeah. You know, I think, you know, I'm a – I obviously like politics. I obviously like competing factions. That's the business we're in. That was the intrigue of the show.
EB: Yeah, it was like, the first like four seasons were great.
MLG: They were great. It was all about which family was which. I had to, like, read up on what exactly happened because it was so complex and it was so interesting. Now, I feel like they've gone full-blown Hollywood. They have these hour-long battle scenes. You know? I mean, the last season shouldn't have been six episodes. It should have been 10 episodes.
At least because there hasn't been enough development of the plot and
we have essentially steamrolled through what every other season had led up to that point. So, I agree with you. I think disappointing. I feel like the writers are definitely cutting corners and just trying to button this thing up and we're gonna be left with the bad taste in our mouth. Because, there's like a 0% chance you can round this out by Sunday in one episode in a way that's gonna satisfy the viewers that were so fascinated by this series's first couple seasons.
MLG: So session is now in the interim. We have interim committees that have been created. There's a school finance one, there's one on prison population, there's one on higher education, there's one on energy, power plants. They will start meeting beginning in June-ish, in July ish.
EB: So what's the point of those? What do they accomplish?
MLG: It's an opportunity to bring legislators together in a formal way to talk about specific issues. They can structure the interim committee meetings the way that they want. Each committee has a certain number of meetings that they can have. So you could bring in people to testify, you could bring in experts, you could bring in consultants.
EB: And what kind of stuff would they talk about at these meetings? You know, how is this different than a normal committee meeting during session?
MLG: You know, they're not looking at bills, amending bills, per se, yet. What they're doing, is they are holding informational meetings before they get to the point where at the end of the interim committee they can draft bills and send those on to leg council to see if leg council will pass them before they send them to the General Assembly in 2020.
EB: So this is basically, if you got something that's very difficult and complicated that you need a lot of time with stakeholders and need a lot of time to figure out, you throw it into an interim committee?
MLG: Yeah, you're right. No, it's all about - interim committees allow you to collect information on a complex topic, bringing experts to inform committee members, to explore solutions to that problem, draft them, put them in bill form, and see if you can move them forward in the next legislative session.
EB: And these are usually bipartisan, correct?
MLG: Of course, yeah.
MLG: Yeah. So that will be going on. You know, I think we will be meeting with constituents, with people from the community who are interested in certain legislative solutions leading up to 2020. I'll be meeting with the executive committee tomorrow, actually, to talk through -
EB: And what is the executive committee, for those who don't know?
MLG: Yeah. The executive committee is made up of the six highest ranking members in the General Assembly. So, the Speaker, Majority Leader in the House, Minority Leader in the House, the President, the Majority Leader in the Senate, and the Minority Leader in the Senate. And so, we meet in the interim. Tomorrow we'll be talking through possibly creating a interim committee on school safety
EB: Yeah, I know a lot of people have been wanting something like that.
MLG: Yeah, after the STEM shooting, which kind of rocked our community again. Another tragic shooting. And leaving policymakers in this place where they're trying to figure out, you know, what are the solutions that we can do? Maybe there isn't a perfect solution, but I think everyone agrees we have to continue to think through and work on ways to make our schools what they should be - a place to learn, a place to allow your mind to expand and to explore who you are. Not a place to fear your safety.
EB: Amen, amen.
MLG: And that means to all our listeners, we have time. So, if you wanted to set up a meeting to come in and meet with me and/or Ethan, you want to jump on the podcast, you wanted to bring an important topic to the - to the podcast for us to explore, please reach out - firstname.lastname@example.org, or just call the office at (303) 866- 2911.
I think the - we're gonna have, probably, not as frequent podcast, but we're still gonna have podcasts that are going to explore what we've been doing in the interim, the meetings that we've been having with constituents, the ideas that we've been exploring for the 2020 legislative session.
And, you know, maybe we'll have one outside the building where we can talk about the mayoral politics, the municipal politics that are happening. There are recall elections that have been filed, and we can kind of dig in, maybe, to the politics side of this business outside of the building.
EB: Yeah, so stay listening. And if you are an expert in something, either that we've talked about before or you think would be good, please,
please, please reach out to us. We would love to have you on and hear from you. And also you know have the rest of the public hear from you.
MLG: So, to all our listeners, thank you so much for following us through the 2019 legislative session. It was quite a ride. We made promises before, we kept those promises. Hopefully you feel more educated on how the legislative process works down here at the Capitol, you feel like it's more accessible, and you have left this podcast a more knowledgeable citizen in the state of Colorado. Don't forget to Like, and to rate, and to comment on The SmartAlec Podcast. Help us make it to the top of the charts. And thank you so much for listening to The SmartAlec Podcast.
EB: Thanks everybody. Bye!
THE SMARTALEC PODCAST
The SmartAlec Podcast is a weekly look inside local Colorado state politics. Each week hosts House Majority Leader Alec Garnett and his aide Ethan Black talk through the most important and interesting legislation of the week in the Colorado General Assembly. As the only podcast hosted by a Colorado state legislator, the SmartAlec Podcast is the best inside view into current developments under Colorado’s gold-domed capitol.