Under the Dome column: Another tiring legislative session comes to a close | PostIndependent.com

Under the Dome column: Another tiring legislative session comes to a close

Bob Rankin
Under the Dome
Rep. Bob Rankin

The 2016 Colorado legislative session ends next week. There have been 684 bills introduced, but almost 40 percent will never make it through the process. It’s generally agreed that we introduce about three times as many as necessary, but we can’t seem to stop ourselves. The good one third, of course, include the 29 of which I was the prime or co-prime sponsor. Of those, 17 were bills that I sponsored on behalf of the Joint Budget Committee. Of the other 12, I halted progress on three myself, and two were voted down. I’m tired. I’ll report more on the significant outcomes of the session next month when I can take a breath and look back.

I sit on the back row, corner desk, of the House Chamber. I have a lot of visitors, and they can sit along the side, just a few feet away. My favorite guests are my high school interns from Glenwood Springs and Rifle and school groups from everywhere. There are big windows right behind me that face the lobby. The lobbyists often watch our proceedings through the windows. My biggest fear is that I’ll get distracted by the kids and push the wrong button on a vote. I’m sure somebody will bring up a vote at a town hall this summer that will have me scrambling.

The Legislature seems to have a tradition of saving a lot of drama for the last few days. Somehow, we want to end with a bang, maybe it has to do with this being an election year. We’re still debating forms of a primary presidential election, trying to pass a $6.5 billion school finance bill, considering a major bonding program for roads, responding to a new revenue crisis and wondering what happened to the hospital provider fee bill. I hope for a final vote, these last three days, on several bills that I‘ve sponsored.

The summer seems to get shorter and busier every year. This one will be exceptionally so with campaign activity and lots of invitations to learn more about the many interesting issues of our state government. I’m going to focus on K12 budgets and funding, public lands including new BLM rules, the high cost of health insurance, and Western Slope economics. If I left out your favorite issue, let me know. We’ll try to maneuver through Glenwood Springs construction to get out on the road often.

“Under the Dome” appears on the second Tuesday of the month. State Rep. Bob Rankin, a Carbondale Republican, is in his second term in the state Legislature representing House District 57, which includes Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.

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