Gov presses lawmakers on TABOR reform, collaboration in State of the State speech
By Hannah Garcia
LAW WEEK COLORADO
In about 40 minutes, Gov. John Hickenlooper waded through a list of partisan proposals, but he bookended his annual speech to lawmakers on a note of governmental harmony.
Colorado’s state government — a Democratic governor and a Republican General Assembly — enacted legislation to build the Capitol in 1885, the governor told 100 lawmakers and a legion of important spectators during his State of the State address in the newly restored House Chambers at the Colorado State Capitol Jan. 14. The dome was meant to be topped by a 12-foot statue of “the most beautiful woman in Colorado,” Hickenlooper said.
“Despite a clear Republican majority, the legislators couldn’t agree on who was, in fact, the most beautiful woman in the state,” Hickenlooper said. “So they forged a compromise: the crystal sphere known as “the lantern” that tops the building to this day.”
The speech, typically longer than a half hour but shorter than 60 minutes, is a universal opportunity for state governors to frame their agendas every year. Hickenlooper marked the beginning of the second year of his second term by cheering on the Broncos. He avoided specifics regarding issues of government funding to clean energy plans in a speech both to the legislature and any of the 5.3 million Coloradans who may be watching, before lawmakers become entrenched in the ebb and flow of the 120-day legislative session that began the day before.