Need a Hint? Tips For Legislators

by Nate Carr

Most of us appreciate getting a few pointers every now and then. With the start of a new legislative session, you might find it interesting to learn some of the advice given to your predecessors 111 years ago in the Colorado Legislative Manual – 1901 edition:

1)    Avoid personalities in debates.

2)    Do not crowd through too many bills.

3)    Watch your bills and keep pushing them forward at all times.

4)    Read section 40 of article V of the state constitution.

5)    Be as regular as possible in attendance. It is the watchful and attentive member who advances legislation.

6)    Endeavor to be present at roll call at the morning session and listen to the reading of the journal, that action on your measures and your own movements be correctly recorded. If the journal as read is in error, ask to have it corrected.

7)    After your measure has been considered in committee of the whole, ask the clerk to permit you to see that all amendments and alterations are properly incorporated into your measure.

8)    On the last day of session, have all surplus stationary and supplies in your desk or committee room collected and turned over to the secretary of state, for use at the next session. This is both law and practical economy.

9)    The legislative session closes at midnight on the ninetieth day. It has sometimes been the practice to stop the clock, and proceed with business beyond that hour, but this can be prevented by simply entering a protest for record on the journal.

Words of wisdom written long ago can be as useful now, in many respects, as they were back then. Although stopping the clock to proceed with business beyond the constitutionally mandated time for sine die probably would not be tolerated today.