Fear, Facts and the Civil Rights Commission
Denver — Contrary to unfounded claims, the Colorado Civil Rights Division faces no risk of being defunded or otherwise dismantled – at least as far as Senate Republicans are concerned. In an effort to exercise legitimate legislative oversight, Republican Senators on the Joint Budget Committee last week moved to table discussion on next year’s funding of the division until after a sunset review bill could be heard and debated by the Senate.
Sunset reviews are periodic examinations of state departments and programs. Funding the division before such a review is complete amounts to putting the car before the horse, say Republicans, and tabling such funding decisions, based on a request for additional information, has long been standard operating procedure on JBC, which traditionally functions in an admirably bipartisan fashion.
This routine request to table was rejected by Democrats on JBC, apparently in an effort to create a controversy where no controversy was warranted.
“This was not an effort to defund the division, contrary to what’s been claimed,” said Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Cañon City). “Both myself and the Vice-Chair of the Joint Budget Committee, Kent Lambert, are on record as saying that the civil rights commission is important, that it will still exist once we get past the 2018 session. We are supportive of the commission and its existence, but we will have a say in what it looks like as part of the sunset review process, which is our prerogative and responsibility as legislators.”