DENVER Gov. John Hickenlooper offered an upbeat assessment of his team on Thursday, his 100th day in office.
Person by person, this is the most talented cabinet in the United States right now, Hickenlooper said.
He pointed to major changes they made in the state budget changes that have begun to reduce the year-after-year budget shortfalls that plague Colorado.
However, other parts of Hickenloopers agenda still hang in the balance in the Legislature.
Hickenloopers biggest budgetary change was his proposed $332 million in cuts to public schools. Legislators have restored about half of those cuts.
The cuts weve had to make are nobodys idea of a good time, Hickenlooper said.
The new governor outlined a limited agenda for the Legislature in his January State of the State speech, and key pieces of it remain to be fulfilled. Less than three weeks remain in the legislative session.
Hickenlooper had called for bills to be given a regulatory impact statement to show lawmakers how they might affect businesses. Hickenlooper also called for a venture capital fund for small businesses.
Legislators have introduced bills on both topics, but they have laid dormant all year.
Also in his January speech, Hickenlooper called on the Legislature to set up a health care exchange to help people compare and buy different insurance policies.
A bipartisan bill on that topic is in trouble, after the Republican sponsor, House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, took heat from GOP activists who say her bill promotes Obamacare. Stephens has said she will amend the bill to take effect only if Colorado opts out of the federal health insurance law, but Democrats say they wont agree to the change.
Finally, Hickenlooper said in January that he believed the Legislature could draw a bipartisan map of new Congressional districts. He also expressed support for politically competitive districts.
But the bipartisan group charged with drawing the map turned dysfunctional in recent days. Democrats presented a map that created competitive districts at the expense of chopping the Western Slope in half. Republicans have held firm against the concept of politically even districts.
Republicans have generally expressed their approval of Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and they are planning to cooperate on a pro-business bill in the Legislatures closing weeks.
They have not released details of the plan, but Speaker of the House Frank McNulty said it involves reducing permitting times for several industries, including the gas and oil business.
Reach Joe Hanel at firstname.lastname@example.org.