It’s not often I laud Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, but he is to be commended today for choosing good public policy over political pressures by vetoing Senate Bill 180 — the firefighter collective bargaining legislation.
While Ritter’s official statement put the matter more diplomatically than I have, he didn’t buy the phony argument about firefighter safety:
Third, the debate on this bill raised important issues about firefighter safety, but there are better ways to address these issues than mandatory collective bargaining in certain communities. We must address firefighter safety at the state level. Doing so ensures that all areas of Colorado can benefit. Under this bill, however, the safety issues would only be addressed in the jurisdictions required to engage in collective bargaining, which would unfairly limit the scope of the needed reforms to protect firefighter safety. I have heard from Colorado fire chiefs who have urged me to veto this bill since it would not create a statewide standard for firefighter safety.
Unfortunately for Democrats, this decision is only likely to escalate intra-party warfare. The question of the hour is how long it will take for the Big Labor LIAR to open fire against the incumbent governor. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem too likely that Bill Ritter will gain much politically (except sparing the wrath of the Colorado Municipal League) from today’s veto announcement.
I’m starting to get this really weird idea about Gov. Ritter. If you look at his actions through the lens of politics he seems to be making mistakes left and right. He’s been upsetting an important portion of the Democrats base, Big Labor, without regard to the consequences. Either he is blissfully confident of the invincibility of his status as sitting governor, or, he really doesn’t care about the politics, and is doing what he believes is right for the state. And these days that would be truly weird.