Jerry Kopel

If passing bills makes one happy, then Colorado House Republicans should be very happy about the results in 1998.

This columnist has been tracking pass-fail statistics for the Statesman since the 1993 legislative session. The following numbers do not include appropriation bills and ignore vetoes by Gov. Romer:

House Republicans introduced 291 bills in 1998. That is the highest number in the past six legislative years and 25 more bills than in 1997. The cause? Fifty-five late bills introduced in the House by Republicans are partially responsible for that high number. Of the 291 bills, 176 passed the legislature. That is another "high" for the past six years, 24 more successful bills than the previous high in 1996. The end result was a passing percentage of 60.5.

While House Republicans enjoyed their successes, Senate Democrats might well be content with the 73 bills they introduced, even though it was the lowest number for the six recorded years, nine fewer than in 1997. "Content" because they passed 33 and lost 40 for a 46.6 passing percent, nearly nine percentage points better than in 1997.

Senate Republicans only introduced 126 bills, which was also a new low for the six year period. They passed 70 and lost 56 for a 55.5 passing percentage. On the surface that appears to be a reasonable percentage until you realize it was 14 percentage points below 1997, with the same number of Senate members in power.

House Democrats introduced 105 bills, or 13 more than in 1997. They passed 49 (the same number as in 1997) but lost 56, for a 46.7 passing percentage, nearly a seven percent drop from 1997.

From 1993 through 1997, passing percentages for Senate Republicans each year topped those of House Republicans. That meant the House treated the Senate better than the Senate treated the House. The worst comparison year was 1997 when the House Republican passing percentage was 53 compared to 69.9 for the Senate Republicans.

But it did not happen that way in 1998. Perhaps the House Republicans "wised up" or else Senate Republicans developed a conscience.

Jerry Kopel writes a column for the Statesman based on 22 years past experience as a state legislator.

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