UPDATE 11:10PM: House galleries erupt in anger, are reportedly cleared as Speaker Frank McNulty pronounces the death of Senate Bill 2 along with dozens of other bills.
UPDATE 11:00PM: As of this writing, the House is in recess after an hours-long standoff between GOP House leadership and proponents of civil unions legislation. If the House does not reconvene before midnight, Senate Bill 2 along with fully 30 other pieces of legislation will die.
UPDATE 5:15PM: Senate Bill 2 passes House Appropriations Committee on a 7-6 vote with GOP Rep. Cheri Gerou joining Democrats in favor. All eyes turn to the House floor.
UPDATE 11:30AM: Senate Bill 2 is set to debated in the House Appropriations Committee this afternoon. As of this writing, the bill remains on track for passage.
Briefly updating what has become the biggest political story in Colorado, which you’re all following through your choice of social or traditional media–FOX 31’s Chris Jose:
In order to survive, the bill must be heard by a house committee Tuesday … that way the bill could be voted on Wednesday … which is the last day of the legislative session.
A rally for civil unions will take place later Tuesday morning at the state Capitol.
That rally is scheduled for 10 a.m. The idea is to put pressure on state lawmakers to get this bill on the house floor.
It has already cleared some big hurdles, but it appears the Republican majority in the house … is not in any rush to get this done.
AP’s Ivan Moreno restates the GOP’s counterclaim:
“To me the Democrats have done both the proponents of this bill and opponents of this bill a great disservice by politicizing it,” [Speaker Frank McNulty] said. “We all know that it’s a heated public policy issue to begin with and with the Senate Democrats sitting on it for 110 days, they’ve really turned it into a manufactured crisis here at the end of session.”
Rep. Mark Ferrandino, the Democrats’ leader in the House and a gay lawmaker sponsoring the bill there, disagreed with McNulty, saying the reason the bill took so long in the Senate is because supporters were trying to get Republican support. Ferrandino said he tried to persuade a Republican to carry the legislation in the House, and potential supporters said they needed more time.
“The manufactured crisis is one he’s manufacturing,” Ferrandino said of McNulty.
Yesterday, the Denver paper’s editorial board called for a special session of the legislature in the event that Senate Bill 2 does not receive a final vote in the House before the legislative session must end at midnight Wednesday. Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office reportedly answered that this is “premature” to consider, and they expect SB-2 to pass. But Republicans in charge of the process, principally House Speaker Frank McNulty and House Appropriations Committee chair Rep. Jon Becker, are not inspiring confidence that will happen.
Lynn Bartels quotes GOP analyst Katy Atkinson today conceding that this is a “win-win situation” for Democrats, who either get a major legislative victory, or a potent issue for the elections this November. The amount of GOP support that has already been demonstrated for SB-2, reflective of overwhelming public support, severely undermines the credibility of McNulty’s process-based excuses. In short, he’s upset that the bill was timed to actually pass it. To not be ingloriously killed in partisan crossfire like so many other bills this session.
That’s what smart legislators do. They align the stars. They make the intransigent pay a price.
And folks, today is the day when Frank McNulty will show how smart he is.