Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1992


Published in Great Plains Research 2:1 (February 1992), pp. 136-137. Copyright © 1992 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Used by permission.


For some decades a number of sponsoring agencies have sought to provide a standardized work on each state's government and politics; thus far this goal has proven to be unattainable. In the meantime, studies such as this one have appeared in nearly all the states; this serves to inform interested readers about a particular state's politics, and Lorch's contribution has been a handsome one over these past years.

Lorch recounts the quite old-how Colorado was settled, got its name, and achieved statehood-and the very new-adoption of the state's first presidential preference primary for the 1992 election cycle, and the approval of two initiated constitutional amendments, one limiting the terms of state (and purportedly federal) legislators, the other imposing restraints on the legislature's bill consideration process (e.g., public hearing for every bill). In between these historical extremes, the reader is treated to a fast-moving, often breezy, occasionally irreverent, but always informative commentary on the major political institutions and processes in Colorado state (and local) government. The author is obviously a close and careful follower of the political scene in Colorado. We learn, for instance that some 60-65% of the state's expenditures go to education; that a Joint Budget Committee in the legislature is the decisive actor in the process; and that there is a system of courts that deal exclusively with water rights disputes.