Colorado’s Legislature Is Divided On Party Lines. How Is It Avoiding Gridlock?

Listen Now
Photo: Capitol Jan 11 2017 17 | Colorado Senate chambers
The Colorado Senate chambers on the opening day of the 2017 legislative session on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017.

A recent University of Houston study named Colorado's legislature the most polarized in the country, and predicted that gridlock could ensue.

But a University of Denver professor says that didn't hold true during the general assembly's 2017 session. In an article for Pacific Standard, DU Professor Seth Masket says partisan compromises on issues that had stymied the legislature before, including a measure that provided additional money for hospitals, roads and schools, made the session one of the most productive in memory. He said an early agreement by the leadership in both houses -- Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham, paved the way, and the fact that 2017 is not an election year also helped.

While Colorado's legislature made progress, Masket says, the U.S. Congress remains sharply divided, partly because Congressional rules such as the filibuster allow individual lawmakers to slow or stop the process.

Masket spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.