The National Western Stock Show is always an exciting time, including within the chambers of the General Assembly.
Every year, lawmakers compete by chamber to raise money to purchase a livestock animal in the annual Junior Livestock Auction, which this year was held Jan. 25. However, in a nod to the fact that there's more women in the House than men, and that women hold the majority in the Senate Democratic caucus (and the chair of Senate Ag is a woman rancher), the ante got upped this year.
It was cowboys versus cowgirls, with a minimum entry fee of $250, although by the morning before the auction, the collection was slow-going in both the House and Senate, with the Senate dropping its price.
In the House, the slow pace of fundraising was attributed in part to the number of new lawmakers who haven't caught on to the tradition, or more likely find the entry fee a bit stiff.
But lawmakers rose to the challenge, and raised a record $15,245.
The other tradition of the General Assembly's participation in the livestock auction is that the lawmakers try to buy an animal raised in Colorado.
This year, they were able to purchase two animals with the record funds. The first animal was a steer, raised by Trista Lebsack of Bennett. The second animal was a joint effort with the Future Farmers of America Foundation, and that went to purchase a lamb from Chloe Crider of Eaton.
Don't expect to see the animals bought by lawmakers at the state Capitol anytime soon; according to Rep. Jim Wilson of Salida, the purchase is something of a buy-back from a local slaughterhouse, the next destination for the stock show animals.
Ten percent of the auction money goes to the National Western's scholarship fund; the rest goes to the exhibitor, usually to help pay for college.
Oops: Bob Rankin of Carbondale, newly appointed to the state Senate, has made the transition from the House. His bills, however, aren't moving quite as fast.
He noted the other day that he's listed as both the House and Senate sponsor for a bill, which appears to be House Bill 1052, which deals with creation of special districts for early childhood education. In one place he's listed as Sen. Rankin; on the bill page itself, Rep. Rankin.
No word on whether he'll be required to return to the lesser chamber -- the House -- to present the bill when it comes up for its first hearing.
Beer, not pot: The first bill signed by Gov. Jared Polis is a measure intended to correct one of the unintended consequences of a last-minute 2018 law on beer sales. Senate Bill 11 was signed by the new governor on Thursday.
No word on whether he would have preferred his first bill to be on pot. He may have to wait a while; several bills dealing with marijuana are working their way through the General Assembly but not with the speed that Senate Bill 11 had. That was by design; the bill (more background here) was needed in order for those holding beer licenses to hold a separate license for transportation, storage, and delivery for beer. Seen as an unnecessary obstacle, lawmakers quickly moved the bill through the General Assembly.
“Beer is finally beer! said sponsor Sen. Angela Williams of Denver.
Check back next weekend for more Capitol M.