Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hickenlooper says he'd veto firefighter collective bargaining bill

John Hickenlooper does not like the idea of tinkering with the state's polyglot system of handling employment relations with local firefighters.

The governor wrote to Senate president John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and House speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, on Tuesday to express his opposition to SB 13-025, which would require all municipalities in Colorado to collectively bargain with firefighters.

“After careful review of the legislation, the concerns of relevant parties and the policies of this administration, we cannot support SB13-025 in its current form and urge the Colorado General Assembly to consider alternatives that respect both the political rights of firefighters and the ability of local governments to make locally accordant decisions regarding collective bargaining,” Hickenlooper's letter said.

Former Gov. Bill Ritter vetoed similar legislation in 2009.

One concern about this year's bill, as well as the measure killed by Ritter, is that it might violate the state constitution. A 1990 state supreme court decision seems to indicate that the General Assembly lacks authority to override article 20, section 6 of Colorado's bedrock law.