It’s the question I find myself asking almost daily now as the Colorado legislative session roars on: What happened to the liberals who used to say the ends don’t justify the means?
I certainly understand that, as President Barack Obama once lectured, elections have consequences. Colorado is only beginning to feel the consequences of electing progressives to control the legislature and all state-wide offices, turning us into a one-party state.
Colorado’s lurch to the left isn’t surprising. What is surprising is the level of arrogance and the lack of process and respect from them as they do it. The team that once claimed principle, process and transparency as their virtues is quickly becoming power mad and belligerent.
The left once fought voter suppression. This legislature is passing a National Public Vote bill, which hasn’t any bipartisan support, without first bringing it to a popular vote of Coloradans.
The left once fought for free speech. This legislature is now passing a bill that requires sex education in public schools include how to have “healthy” transsexual relationships while the bill bans any talk of gender norms. Banning speech is the new virtue?
The left once fought for due process. This legislature is passing a “Red Flag” bill that rips away the right of due process and the right to face one’s accuser. Unlike last year’s attempt, this bill goes so far it also hasn’t gotten any bipartisan votes from lawmakers.
The left once demanded process. Our governor is limiting our vehicle purchases to whatever the governor of California dictates without first getting the required approval from our own legislature, which they would likely give him. But, just like the National Popular Vote, why chance asking for consent.
This Boulder-like arrogance is showing in an increasing lack of process as they wield their power. A perfect example is the unveiling of their complete upending of the state’s current oil and gas regulations, which are already the strictest in the nation, Senate Bill 181.
This bill was made public a few minutes before the close of business on Friday, March 1st with its committee hearing called for Tuesday, March 5th. This cleverly allowed only one business day for legislators, reporters, businesses and people affected by this massive, 27-page rewrite of how we manage a key industry to read it, figure out what it really says and how to get their voices heard.
The left used to say they valued experts and interested citizens testifying before a committee. Dropping a bill on Friday night for a Tuesday hearing was an obvious ploy to keep the thousands of people, whose lives will be destroyed under this bill, away from the proceedings. And by their own legislative procedures, it blocked bringing out-of-state expert witnesses.
The Boulderites who are sponsoring SB 181, state Sen. Stephen Fenberg and state Rep. KC Becker, and the Boulderite governor (who said he’d sign it before it was even released) don’t hide their contempt for the rubes who live in rural Colorado. Giving people only one day to figure out how to travel through snow-bound, far-flung areas of the state, the places where communities depend on oil and gas development, to get to the capitol to testify on a bill that will cripple their way of life, well, some used to call that disenfranchisement.
Fenberg stated that no one saw the bill before it was wade public except him, Becker and the bill drafter. Which means even the gov signed on to something he never saw, or someone’s fibbing.
The old saying at the capitol is “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the table.” Since this bill didn’t get through any of the usual “stakeholder processes” (where those impacted give feedback and technical advice while a bill is being drawn up) it’s pretty easy to tell who the Boulderites put on the table.
What I don’t get is why the heavy-handedness? The bill flew out of committee on a party-line vote, just as it would if it was scheduled with weeks to study it.
It is as if someone needs to remind our progressive overlords that they are really in complete control of everything in Colorado politics now.
It’s okay to at least fake a little transparency, process and respect for those they are subjugating — energy producers, rate payers, gun owners, automobile users, parents and voters. It won’t change the outcome.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.