#COleg, others mourns deaths of Debbie Haskins and Dan Chapman

Debbie Haskins, a much beloved legislative staffer, died Oct. 7. Services are set for Saturday. (Haskins family photo)

UPDATE: OLLS writes a wonderful story about Debbie Haskins.

Tributes continue to pour in for Debbie Haskins, one of the many behind-the-scenes players who provide stability at the Colorado Legislature, a place where lawmakers make their mark and then move on.

Haskins became an entry-level attorney for the Office of Legislative Legal Services in 1983 and worked her way up to assistant director. She died Saturday, Oct. 7.

Haskins had appointments scheduled for the week of Oct. 9 to work on legislation for the 2018 session.

Her husband, Steve, said her heart “just stopped.”

“It was very painless and it was quick,” he said. “She turned 60 in April. We had a big party for her. We just went on a big trip to France and Italy last May so that was good.”

A celebration of Debbie Haskins’ life is planned for 2 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 21, at First Plymouth Congregational Church, 3501 S. Colorado Blvd., in Cherry Hills Village.

“One of the hardest working people I’ve ever known,” former state Sen. Linda Newell tweeted after Haskins’ death. “Her  level of detail literally saved kids’ lives in my bills. Beautiful spirit.”

News of Haskins’ death stunned her family, friends and the Capitol community, which is its own kind of family.

“Not many people outside the Capitol know who Debbie Haskins is, but you can bet that over the past 34 years, not a single piece of important Colorado legislation got passed without Debbie’s eyes on it,” Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman said in a statement.

“She was one of the important conductors who made sure the trains ran on time, and it was thanks to her that new legislators and staffers could easily learn how the law-making process works.”

Read more#COleg, others mourns deaths of Debbie Haskins and Dan Chapman

So long, 2016 legislative session — and certain lawmakers

Senate President Bill Cadman, Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on the final day of the 2016 legislative session Wednesday. (SOS photo)
Senate President Bill Cadman, Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on the final day of the 2016 legislative session Wednesday. (SOS photo)

Another legislative session is in the history books and another crop of term-limited lawmakers is on its way out,  including Republican Bill Cadman and Democrat Mary Hodge, who each served 16 years under the Gold Dome.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with lawmakers in the House and Senate on their final day of the session on Wednesday.

“Thank you for your service,” he said to Cadman, the Senate president, and Mark Scheffel of Parker, the Senate majority leader, who also is term limited.

Read moreSo long, 2016 legislative session — and certain lawmakers

Here’s to you, Bill Artist

Senate President Bill Cadman, House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst and lobbyist Bill Artist at the Colorado Restaurant Association's Blue Ribbon Reception on Wednesday.
Senate President Bill Cadman, House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst and lobbyist Bill Artist at the Colorado Restaurant Association’s Blue Ribbon Reception on Wednesday.

Lawmakers lauded and lampooned lobbyist Bill Artist Wednesday night at the Colorado Restaurant Association’s annual Blue Ribbon Reception.

Artist is the longtime lobbyist for the group, which hosts a party on opening day of the Colorado General Assembly.

“The association was formed in 1933. They hired Bill Artist to get rid of Prohibition and it worked. You’ve been lobbying us ever since,” joked Senate President Bill Cadman.

Cadman, a Colorado Springs Republican, said lawmakers appreciate Artist, his team and the Colorado Restaurant Association. As someone whose job keeps him from going home on a regular basis, Cadman said he has yet to cook at his place in Denver. That, he said, means he is continually supporting the restaurant industry, which has supported him during his nearly 16 years in office.

Cadman singled out Artist during his remarks welcoming those to the event. House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, a Boulder Democrat, joined in.

“I don’t want to do a one up on the president — so early in the session,” she said.

But the speaker noted she has known Artist  since she was a lobbyist trying to get her bills passed and Artist was a Republican lawmaker.  Artist served three terms in the state House and then founded J. William Artists & Associates in 1986. His daughter Lacee now lobbies with him.

“Now it’s nice to have him as the lobbyist and I’m the lawmaker,” she said.

Eat, drink and be merry, courtesy of the Colorado Restaurant Association

Senate President Bill Cadman, a Colorado Springs Republican, and House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, a Denver Democrat, at the Colorado Restaurant Association's Blue Ribbon Reception Wednesday night.
Senate President Bill Cadman, a Colorado Springs Republican, and House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, a Denver Democrat, at the Colorado Restaurant Association’s Blue Ribbon Reception Wednesday night.

The Colorado Restaurant Association hosts one of the best legislative receptions of the year, held opening night when lawmakers are filled with optimism and still humming “Kumbaya.”

“This is a great tradition at the Colorado General Assembly,” said House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, a Boulder Democrat.

“It’s a wonderful gathering. We’re all very excited about starting a new session and it’s always a good time to talk and have a drink with our friends on the other side of the aisle.”

The session opened Wednesday and by law must adjourn in May. The reception was held at the Colorado History Museum.

The Colorado Restaurant Association uses the event to inform lawmakers and reporters about the importance of their industry to state coffers. A variety of restaurants offered small plate samples of tacos, salmon and more.

Read moreEat, drink and be merry, courtesy of the Colorado Restaurant Association

Senate Republicans embrace the past and future at pre-session fundraiser

Former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp and former Senate Majority Leader Norma Anderson, along with her daughter-in-law, former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson at Tuesday night's Senate Republican fundraiser.
Former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp and former Senate Majority Leader Norma Anderson, along with her daughter-in-law, former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson, at Tuesday night’s Senate Republican fundraiser.
Former state Sen. Mark Hillman of Burlington and Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty, who is running for the state Senate.
Former state Sen. Mark Hillman of Burlington and Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty, who is running for the state Senate.

The Senate Republicans’ fundraising gala tonight featured the usual mix of lawyers, lobbyists and lawmakers but tonight there was an added ingredient: a bit of history.

Former Gov. Bill Owens, whose lengthy political career included a stint in the state Senate, was present as were three former GOP Senate minority or majority leaders: Norma Anderson of Lakewood, Mark Hillman of Burlington and Mike Kopp of Littleton.

All left their mark on the Senate.

“It’s good to see so many people,” said Anderson, who posed with plenty of folks who wanted a picture with her.

Read moreSenate Republicans embrace the past and future at pre-session fundraiser