Ritter signs last batch of bills | VailDaily.com

Ritter signs last batch of bills

DENVER ” Gov. Bill Ritter signed the last handful of bills awaiting his decision on Monday, wrapping up a 2007 legislative session that some analysts are calling one of the smoothest in years.

Ritter went to Colorado Springs to sign bills providing more help to the families of military servicemen and women and to address rural health care needs.

Before the session ended May 4, Ritter was also able to get his renewable energy package passed, carrying out a campaign pledge. He also won approval for bills on health care, public education and transportation, measures he said were needed to encourage the state’s fledgling renewable-energy economy.

Ritter also survived a few controversies. He vetoed a bill that would have made it easier for unions to form closed shops, although he had promised to support it. He said business leaders should have had more of a voice in the debate before it passed.

Ritter also vetoed a bill that critics said would have made it easy for illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses. Democrats had said that bill could come back to haunt them in next year’s elections because it made them look soft on illegal immigration.

In his veto message last week, Ritter accepted responsibility for shortcomings in the driver’s license bill, saying his administration had not made clear “my strongly held belief that a legislative fix is not the proper remedy to this problem.” He said it was the governor’s duty to make the rules on identity documents.

Political consultant Katie Atkinson said Ritter’s turnabout on both bills will have a lasting impact next year when Democrats try to retain control of the House and the Senate. She said Ritter will have to work to regain Democrats’ trust if he wants them to support his legislation.

“He’s got some problems that will come back to haunt him,” said Atkinson.

Independent pollster Floyd Ciruli said Ritter also made waves with his proposal to freeze property tax mill levies to raise more money for public schools, a plan Republicans blasted as a hidden tax hike, and his decision to form study committees on major issues like health care and transportation, deferring action until next year.

“This was not an ambitious agenda,” Ciruli said.

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User