DENVER — A Colorado House member belonging to a minor political party, or even one unaffiliated with a major or minor party, would be guaranteed at least one committee assignment under a rule change approved last week.
House members voted 42-14 on April 11 to approve a resolution from Louisville Democratic Rep. Paul Weissmann intended to ensure that minor-party members and independents would not be
shut out of committee appointments if they are elected to House seats in the future.
Previously, House rules did not require the House speaker — the top leader in that chamber of the Legislature — to name anyone to a committee if that person was not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican parties.
While no minor-party candidates or independents have been elected to House seats in recent memory, the threat of such a person winding up without a committee assignment arose last year, when Republican leaders said Loveland independent Joe Jabaily could be denied a committee post if he beat incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Welker.
That never came to a test.
Republicans lost control of the House in the 2004 elections, but Jabaily died before the election, of injuries suffered in a July car-bicycle collision.
Welker voted for Weissmann’s rules-change resolution last week. Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, voted against it.
The new committee-appointments rule could be changed again, though, if a majority of House members go along with any future proposed revision.