State Sen. Lois Court of Denver will resign from her seat because of a health issue, state Senate Democrats announced today.
Court chairs the Finance Committee and often runs floor debates as the Senate President Pro Tempore. She was first elected to the state House in 2008 and served there for eight years before term limits led her to run for Senate. She's in the final year of her first term representing SD-31, which covers a swath of central and southeast Denver.
According to a press announcing her resignation, Court was hospitalized on New Year's Eve and subsequently diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder known as Guillain-Barré syndrome. The condition can leave people incapacitated for months.
Democrats hold a two-vote majority in the state Senate. If Court hadn't resigned, her condition could have put Democrats at risk of losing control of the chamber on days when other members were absent.
“It has been the honor of my life to serve the people of Colorado and I am deeply saddened that this chapter of my life is at a close," Court said in the statement. "But I am excited by the work my colleagues are undertaking and will continue to cheer them on and be an active citizen of Senate District 31.”
Court is a retired American government teacher who regularly carries pocket copies of the U.S. and Colorado constitutions around with her. During her time in the legislature, Court championed everything from driver safety measures to making it harder to amend the state constitution, something voters agreed to do in 2016.
She was also a sponsor of last year's failed Referendum CC, which would have allowed the state to spend more money on transportation and education, instead of refunding it to taxpayers.
“Lois Court has been a tireless champion for Coloradans at the capitol ... no one has a clearer compass on the issues she cares about,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement. “Sen. Court’s grit and effectiveness as a legislator will be missed. I wish Sen. Court a speedy and complete recovery as she and her family overcome this challenge.”
Court's resignation is effective Jan. 16, meaning she will remain in office for the first week of the new legislative session. A vacancy committee made up of Democrats in her district will pick Court's replacement.