Colorado Republicans are in a bind. Many hate Gov. Jared Polis’ orders to fight the pandemic, including his state-wide mask mandate, but doing something about Polis’ power could involve expanding government power, something many conservatives hate even more than masks.
As it stands, state legislators have no power to challenge Gov. Jared Polis’ (D-CO) health orders, except for filing lawsuits, which are seen by Republicans themselves as likely losers.
Lawsuits are the go-to option now for Republicans, in part, because the state legislature is allowed to convene for only 120 days per year. So legislative action, short of a special session, isn’t possible.
Chris Holbert, who leads Republicans in the state Senate, says his constituents want action, but he said Saturday that “we don’t have the power to do anything right now.”
“That’s at the core about what we are hearing from constituents: Why aren’t we doing something about executive orders?,” said Holbert on KNUS Saturday. “Why aren’t we doing something about damage at the Capitol? And the answer is, we really don’t have the power to do anything right now.”
So Holbert is floating the idea of putting a measure on the state ballot in 2022, extending the state legislative session during a health crisis, like the one Colorado currently faces (even though, for now, conservatives can’t pass laws to limit Polis’ power even when it’s in session).
“If there was a Constitutional amendment say in 2022, and you had a chance to vote for it, would your listeners, would conservatives, embrace the opportunity to give the legislature power, at least during the declared emergency, so there would be some balance between the legislative branch and the executive branch,” Holbert said on KNUS over the weekend
Colorado’s Constitution limits the government by limiting the legislative session, he says.
Holbert says the situation presents a conundrum for conservatives, because extending the legislative session would “give legislators more power.” Most conservatives don’t want to, he said.
So he put the question to KNUS listeners. Would they support extending the legislative session?
He didn’t return an email seeking to know what he heard back, if anything.
But one thing is certain. Conservatives are mad.
“I saw that there were people who want to take everything from us,” newly minted congressional candidate Lauren Boebert told a crowd in Pueblo Monday, as quoted in the Pueblo Chieftain, explaining why she wanted to run for Congress. “They want to take away our freedoms, our rights. As COVID-19 has shown us, they want to take away our small businesses, our property,” she said.