GOP Arizona Copycat Immigration Bills Fizzle

As the Durango Herald’s Joe Hanel reports:

Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, said his Colorado House Bill 1107 had too many problems to continue.

“After many drafts and hours of deliberation and meetings with entities, we had come to some agreement with agencies out there,” Baumgardner said. “(But) we couldn’t seem to get away from some parts of it that could be possibly unconstitutional.”

…The bill had been scheduled for its first hearing in the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee next Monday. But Tuesday morning, the panel’s chairman, Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, announced that the hearing would be today and legislators would quickly dispose of HB 1107.

Hanel reports that a companion measure from Sen. Kent Lambert, Senate Bill 54, meets its fate next Wednesday in a Senate committee. Thus ends the much-balleyhooed push by the Republican Study Committee of Colorado, following their headline-grabbing trip to Arizona at the height of last year’s campaign season, to bring a version of that state’s hotly contested anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, to Colorado.

Since these bills never had a chance of passing both houses, let alone being signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper, our interest in them has primarily been their political value–to Republicans who view this is a base-pleaser, but also Democrats watching Republicans alienate an absolutely crucial and growing segment of the Colorado electorate. What we’ve heard is that GOP House Speaker Frank McNulty has been substantially more critical of the RSCC’s push for hard line immigration legislation in private than he feels at liberty to be in public, and McNulty’s fingerprints are indeed all over the bill’s early and quiet demise.

If that’s true, and you accept our premise on the long-term political problems that alienating Hispanics represents for the GOP, then you have to give McNulty some credit for doing the right thing here. You’ll want to make sure to do so, too, because the “Tea Party” probably won’t.

9 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ArapaGOP says:

    I think McNulty should consider being honest next time about how he feels in public; both sides will give him more credit.

    It’s not like a single Democrat is going to remember this and for vote him, ever.

    • ajb says:

      …and probably primaried.

      And while Dems may not vote for him, maybe he’s taking a larger view. If R’s lose the U’s and Hispanics, they’re done. You can’t win a general with just tea party support.

      • redstateblues says:

        McNulty realizes the scope of his office, and wants to run for something down the line. Speaker of the House is a pretty prestigious position, and McNulty isn’t dumb enough to waste the opportunity he’s been presented–he knows he’s lucky enough that someone lost their supposedly safe seat by 197 votes to ensure he’d be Speaker.

        • ArapaGOP says:

          But I believe that the supposition here, which is that support for a strong immigration policy must equal political suicide, is flawed. A lot of people with Hispanic surnames are upset about illegal immigration, and the stigma applied to them, law abiding citizens, because of illegal immigrants. I do not believe that the issue is so easily divisible by race.

          • redstateblues says:

            but this particular legislation–the kind of that mimics the Arizona law–is blatantly racist and unconstitutional.

            If you want to see tough immigration laws that don’t violate the constitution, check out what the Democrats passed during the 2006 special session. Latino groups weren’t happy about the laws they passed then, either, but at least they didn’t violate anybody’s civil rights.

            As soon as the Republicans want to start discussing sane immigration reform, and not just rhetorical red meat for the jingoistic base, I’m all ears.

        • MADCO says:

          If the D’s could have just turned out 200 additional D voters – the house would still be D?

          Where was the GOTV?

    • MADCO says:

      I’ll also remember that it was dumb politics in the first place, and smarter politics to quietly end it early in  this session.

  2. “(But) we couldn’t seem to get away from some parts of it that could be possibly unconstitutional.”

    That didn’t stop Arizona’s legislators.  I’m very happy that our own Republican legislators are good enough people to be able to admit when their proposals are unconstitutional.

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