As the Denver Post’s Alex Burness reports, the big story coming out of the weekend is the record-setting debate in the Colorado House over the Reproductive Health Equity Act, legislation to codify abortion rights in statute ahead of the widely-feared overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision later this year:
Colorado Republicans cannot stop the Democrats from passing a bill codifying the right to abortion in state law.
But they can sure stretch it out.
A debate in the House of Representatives on HB22-1279, the Reproductive Health Equity Act, began at 10:53 a.m. Friday and concluded with a preliminary voice vote at 10:18 a.m. Saturday. After that vote the House Democrats moved to kill some final, unsuccessful GOP amendment proposals, before lawmakers and Capitol staff could leave the building at last.
Roughly one full day in length, this is thought to have been the longest debate in this Capitol in at least 25 years.
It was a grandstand voluntarily waged by minority House Republicans, who kept up their objections and dead-on-arrival amendments practically to the moment of a scheduled anti-abortion rally that took place on the West Steps of the Capitol Saturday morning. We’ve heard a rumor that some number of Republicans might have taken a break in the evening to visit the Grizzly Rose, and might have returned from that foray…a little worse for wear. If true that might explain some of the excitement that came in the wee hours of Saturday (see below).
In the end, though, Democrats who had the power to shut down debate after some reasonable number of hours chose not to, allowing every single House Republican to lodge their strident objection to abortion into the permanent record over and over until they were too tired to keep going. In a state that has historically punished anti-abortion Republicans at the polls and looks based on polling set to do so again, it was the parliamentary equivalent of paying out the rope. There’s no clearer way to demonstrate to Colorado’s pro-choice majority electorate who the enemy is than what Republicans are proudly doing themselves this year in anticipation of Roe’s repeal. The masks are truly off.
Which brings us to the heartwarming unity in the Republican House minority that was on full display Friday night into Saturday morning–Colorado Newsline’s Faith Miller:
Around 5 a.m., Rep. Lindsey Daugherty, an Arvada Democrat, was presiding over the chamber as chair. When Sandridge began speaking at the well about “the history of abortion associated with certain vulnerable populations,” Daugherty interrupted him and asked him to explain how that was connected to the bill. “Can you do something?” Sandridge asked McKean in frustration. After that, a confrontation occurred out of view of The Colorado Channel camera…
[Sandridge] and McKean walked toward each other. “He comes up and bumps me with his stomach,” Sandridge said. Sandridge recalls saying, “What the f— are you doing, get off me.” [Pols emphasis]
The exchange was brief, and Sandridge did not consider the interaction an “offense” or assault, he said. Republican Rep. Ron Hanks remarked to Sandridge that last year McKean had also bumped him with his stomach. McKean and Hanks in May 2021 were reported to have engaged in a confrontation in which Hanks threatened violence against McKean.
Sandridge suggested that the episode Saturday was indicative of underlying dysfunction among House Republicans and ineffectiveness on the part of leadership. [Pols emphasis]
While we’re sorry to report that the “belly-bumping” took place out of view of the publicly accessible cameras on the House floor, through the magic of the internets we were able to bring you this fairly accurate reconstruction of events, minus the cussing:
And we’re forced to agree–if this is how Hugh McKean keeps his caucus in line, and here we have the second such instance after last year’s altercation with Rep. Ron Hanks, there’s some “underlying dysfunction” going on. As for effectiveness?
Well, some people are into this kind of thing. But consider not doing it on the House floor.
I’m actually far more intrigued by the questions that follow from Hanks’ belly bump allegation . . .
??? . . .
Hanks evens out the top half with body armor.
So, what we're saying here is that Hugh basically "raped" Sandridge by committing a semi-public theft of dignity.
I'm gone a few days and you liberals have turned to outright homoerotica.
You've definitely been slacking off your only role here.
Oh Noes. Not "homoerotica"?!?! I guess it's only "homoerotica" for people who don't understand metaphors.
I suppose it takes a few days to convert rubles to dollars.
Especially when experiences disappointment when he realizes his rubles won't amount to many dollars. That depression will slow the work down.
Recalled to the Mother Ship to have new instructions downloaded into your matrix, Moderatus?
You find that erotic, Moderatus? It’s more like “3 Stooges” level physical comedy to me. As it probably was at the Statehouse Saturday morning.
It makes Fluffy's private parts all tingly.
Better call your gazpacho police, bigot
So, I guess we can say that Sandridge's request was "sumorily dismissed?"
"you liberals have turned to outright………."
Moderatus needs to pay closer attention. Not everyone who posts regularly on this site is a "liberal."
Sad to see that the Colorado law wasn't modeled after the Texas Law. We should have had a feature that would have allowed any individual in the state to sue anyone who attempted to obstruct or interfere with any woman attempting to exercise their right to abortion for $10,000.