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Grandmas and Lawmakers Say the Darndest Things

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Colorado's legislative session has lacked the drama of Wisconsin's governor-union standoff. There's plenty of serious business going on under the golden dome, most notably balancing a budget that means chopping education and other critical services. But there are many people who lose their perspective and say silly things or do silly things, especially when there is no money to spend. Unfortunately, there's a whole second half to top this list.

From my perch, these are the funnier highlights of the first 60 days:

Thurgood Marshall Humanitarian Award - Secretary of State Scott Gessler
Gessler told the House State Affairs Committee that requiring photo IDs to vote does not suppress minority voting. He cited the fact that Georgia had passed a photo ID requirement and the number of African American voters increased in 2008! Oops, forgot to mention the fact that Barack Obama was on the ballot that year. (House State Affairs Committee, HB 1003, February 2, 2011)

Hugo Chavez Cultural Sensitivity Award - Rep. Jim Kerr
"Does anyone here speak Venezuelan?" Kerr asked after Maria DeCambra, an American whose family is from Venezuela, testified (in plain English) that even fingerprints and photo IDs do not stop election fraud in that South American country. (House State Affairs Committee, HB 1003, February 2, 2011)

David Koch Oil & Gas Defense Award - Rep. Spencer Swalm
"I am not an environmental scientist nor am I an expert in this issue... but I believe that this scare about global warming and CO2 emissions has risen to a point of being a superstition." (House Agriculture Committee, HB 1240, February 21, 2011)

Breakfast of Champions/Let Them Eat Cake Award - (Tie) Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Cherie Gerou
Republican JBC members halted breakfast funding for low-income children. (Props to Sen. Keith King for leading the charge to restore funding.)

"As a family guy myself with children and grandchildren, I take a very strong responsibility to earn money to feed my own family." (Lambert)

"That doesn't mean we don't care about feeding children, and it doesn't mean we don't understand the impacts. I'm not going to spend money that we haven't seen a need for." (Gerou)

Humane Society Award for Kids & Animals - J. Paul Brown
A trio of stands that defy imagination. He advocated eliminating preschool for the most extreme at-risk children at the Republican Study Committee of Colorado, was the only vote in the House to eliminate options to counties to help homeless youth and sponsored a bill (HB 1039) that would have decreased the ability to deal with cruelty to animals.

Bipartisan/Bicameral Award - Rep. David Balmer
The man who is the co-chair for the "bipartisan" Joint Blah-Blah Committee to redraw congressional boundaries was kicked out of the Senate and forced to publicly apologize for his treatment of fellow commission member Sen. Gail Schwartz. (Denver Post, January 28, 2011)

Let Them Drink Diet Soda Award - Rep. David Balmer (He's a gold mine)
Balmer said in a hearing that sodas are more nutritious than fruit juice: "Juices and sport drinks are less nutritional than soda is... there's really a lot more nutrition and hydration that can come from a diet soda." (House Finance Committee, HB 1162, February 23, 2011)

Air Quotes of Infamy Award - Rep. Amy Stephens
Adequate funding of schools is in the "eye of the beholder," according to this former Focus on the Family employee. She believes that Colorado's school excellence is evidenced by the fact that Colorado is ranked among the nation's most highly educated. Hopefully, someone has taken the House Majority Leader aside to explain that Colorado imports its highly educated workforce. Unfortunately, it is not home-grown. (February 28, 2011, ColoradoPols.com)

Your Grandchildren Must be So Proud Award - Anus Church Lady
Rosina Kovar testified in opposition to civil unions on behalf of her grandchildren, saying that the anus was an exit, not an entrance and then proceeded into a cringe-worthy anatomy lesson for some of the most memorial (yet irrelevant to the bill) testimony of the 2011 session. Sorry kids! (Senate Judiciary Committee, SB 172, March 7, 2011)