Furman calls for balanced legislature in statehouse

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The Colorado Legislature did a lot of work but the results would be better with a different mix, said to Loren Furman, Colorado Association of Commerce and industry senior vice president for state and federal relations.

“I would like to see a balanced legislature. It forces folks to come to the middle and compromise,” Furman said at the Arvada Chamber of Commerce breakfast forum Friday, May 17.

Furman said the lawmakers’ work was dominated by headline issues including gun bills, civil unions, elections and marijuana, with gun legislation causing the most tension.

She said having the House, Senate and governorship controlled by the Democrat party — means legislation was influenced more by unions, environmental groups and other liberal special interest groups.

Further she said attempts to introduce bills late in the session often backfired, and the lesson learned is to try to work out compromises earlier.

Furman, who described CACI’s main role as promoting business interests, said she expects more oil and gas legislation to return next session.

Several other lawmakers commented at the breakfast.

Sen. Evie Hudak, D-District 19, agreed that there was a lot of tension during the session, but she was very pleased with the passage of Senate Bill 111 requiring mandatory reporting of elder abuse. The bill requires that nursing home staff and others in care positions for seniors to report abuse within 24 hours.

Freshman state Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, D-District 29, said she disagreed with the idea that long meetings and contentious issues made for a tiring session.

“I was sad the day it was over. I thought it went really fast, and I was glad to work with so many great partners,” she said.

The 2013 legislative session convened Jan. 9 and adjourned May 8.