The lighter side of the Capitol, usually.
Wednesday was the birthday of Rep. Mike Lynch of Wellington. He has, of late, been gifting his House GOP colleagues with pigs.
Not real ones, although given the number of other animals, usually dogs, that run around the Capitol, it wouldn't be that big of a surprise.
These are toys that grunt and squeal. They first started showing up last week during the House debate on the next fiscal year's budget, occasionally giving off grunts and squeals when a Republican thought an amendment was pork. Pork, get it? Ha ha.
Lynch carried the joke to the next level on Wednesday by gifting everyone else on the Republican side of the House with a pig, and that led to a lot of grunting and squealing, depending on who was at the House podium.
Capitol M predicts the lifespan of the squealing pig joke will run out in 3...2...1...
Rep. Richard Holtorf of Akron showed off what might be an unusual talent Wednesday, except that he's an Eastern Plains cattleman, so maybe not so unusual. He can perform the role of a livestock auctioneer with the best of them. He's not licensed, but he's definitely got the chops for it.
It came during a debate on a resolution rescinding previous resolutions that called for a constitutional convention. At one point, he was trying to guess the number of states that had to ratify an amendment, starting at 32. Rep. Mike Weissman of Aurora, who sponsored the resolution, and sitting nearby, shook his head "no."
"Thirty-eight?" Weissman again shook his head "no" and then put a thumbs down, indicating it was a lower number.
"Help me out, 34?" Weissman's thumb went from down to up, indicating higher. "Thirty-five?" Another "no." "Thirty-six," he said, earning a "yes" from Weissman, which led Holtorf to launch into his best auctioneer's voice.
You may remember that former Rep. Jim Wilson of Salida also had an auctioneer's voice and would perform that role for various Capitol and non-Capitol functions, including in his district for worthy charities.
House Approps meetings can be pretty dry affairs, no witness testimony and usually just adding appropriations clauses. On Friday, they whipped through their agenda of 21 bills in about 35 minutes.
To help along the proceedings, committee Chair Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver has created the House Appropriations Joke Award. The best jokes get the best votes, Herod added.
The inaugural awardee was Rep. Brianna Titone of Arvada, who graced the committee with three jokes.
There were also some creative reasons for declining.
- Rep Janice Rich of Grand Junction, when presenting House Bill 1200, with Kipp, declined to offer a joke "that would be on the record." OK, then. (Wouldn't you like to know what she was thinking there? Capitol M would.)
- Rep. Colin Larson of Lakewood also declined, saying he had to save capacity for presenting his bills on second reading later in the day.
But corny was the word of the day.
Without further ado, a sampling of the jokes. No guarantee of outbursts of laughter.
Rep. Cathy Kipp: "I would be bee-holden to you if you would vote for my pollinator license plate bill" (House Bill 1145)
- For House Bill 1140: What do you call a deer with no eyes? "No eye-deer."
- For House Bill 1149: What do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs? "Still no eye-deer." That prompted Herod to ask Rep. Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge, to have a little talk with Titone about animals.
- The main event, Senate Bill 6, the human composting bill: What do you call a fish with no eyes? "FSSSSSSH" If it took you a minute on that, you're not alone. (No I's.) Titone promised she was saving the jokes on SB6 for second reading. Capitol M believes an entire column is going to be devoted to this. Get ready, Rep. Titone.
Rep. Susan Lontine of Denver, advocating for Senate Bill 93: "I thought the dryer was shrinking my clothes. Turns out it was the refrigerator all along."
Rep. Yadira Caraveo of Thornton, for Senate Bill 97, was prepared, and gave a doctor's joke: "The doctor comes in and asks the nurse, how's the little girl who swallowed the 10 quarters last night?" Says the nurse, "No change." (An oldie but goodie.)
For Senate Bill 99, Rep. Mary Young of Greeley asked, "Why did the teacher wear sunglasses to school? Because her students were so bright." Her co-sponsor, Rep. Tonya Van Beber of Eaton, asked "What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches? A nervous wreck." (Capitol M's personal favorite.)