From contentious debate to kids at heart: Colorado lawmakers wrap each session with this unique tradition

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Posted at 12:10 PM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 22:14:18-04

DENVER — In a time when politics can come across contentious and divided, Colorado's Senate Republicans added a touch of levity to the state capitol Wednesday — as the lawmakers closed out the 2024 legislative session.

Politics may appear rigid and stiff to some, but one annual tradition in the Colorado Senate shows off the lawmakers' buoyant side.

"For 120 days, we live under the gold dome. We get mad at each other, we get furious, we debate the most serious topics facing the people of Colorado. And then at the end of it all, we finally just let loose and all get together. We all have fun. And drop the rubber band balls from the top of the gold dome all the way down to the rotunda," Sen. Kevin Van Winkle, R-Douglas County, said.

While there's some debate about when and how exactly the rubber ball drop started, Sen. Van Winkler said this ball drop marks at least 15 years.

In the more than a decade's worth of ball drops, there have been a fair share of twists and turns with the Republican's ball getting stolen one year and even a little — redecorating, shall we say — another year.

"We did actually break the chandeliers down there one year, which if you look, the chandeliers have been replaced. They're all brand new. We broke the old ones one year because it bounced and then on second bounce, it crushed the chandelier. Those have been replaced. Well, they hadn't been dusted in like 100 years, so it was okay," Sen. Van Winkle joked.

The Senate Democrats usually compete against the Republicans to see whose ball bounces higher. But this year, the Democrats did not drop a rubber ball, so Republicans were the champions — perhaps a small consolation for Democrats having had party control of the chamber.

Colorado senators drop rubber band ball from rotunda

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