UPDATE 9:35PM: With a politically huge “yes” vote from GOP Rep. B.J. Nikkel, Senate Bill 2 passes House Judiciary and heads for the House Finance Committee.
UPDATE: Lynn Bartels of the Denver paper reports that Speaker Frank McNulty will not remove Rep. B.J. Nikkel from her post on the House Judiciary Committee ahead of today’s hearing. Rep. Nikkel describes Sen. Kevin Lundberg’s email (below) as “rash,” and disputes Lundberg’s claim that she had ever committed to vote against Senate Bill 2.
A “legislative report” email sent late last night from Sen. Kevin Lundberg could become an explosive liability for himself, and House Speaker Frank McNulty. The subject is Senate Bill 2, the civil unions bill set for the House Judiciary Committee this afternoon:
SB-2 would redefine what marriage and the family looks like in Colorado law by creating a whole new category of “civil union partner” everywhere a married spouse is mentioned in the statutes. As I reported in last week’s Update, SB-2 passed the Senate. Today, May 2, the Civil Union debate ramped up to a new level. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow, Thursday, at 1:30 PM.
Many were assured that all the Republicans were committed to vote ‘no’ on the bill, but today we learned that one has changed her mind, [Pols emphasis] and now she will not commit one way or the other. This has created a great deal of concern, as the bill is almost certain to pass all other committees, the House floor, and the governor has said he will sign it.
The legal practice of Civil Unions in Colorado now hangs on the vote of one Republican lawmaker, Rep. BJ Nikkel, and the Speaker of the House who could replace her on the committee, if he decided to do so. [Pols emphasis] I expect many citizens will be weighing in on this with both the Speaker and Rep. Nikkel.
It’s important to understand everything that Lundberg is saying and asking for here. First of all, he is admitting that there is bipartisan support for passage of SB-2, and that it will likely pass in a Republican-controlled House if it reaches the full chamber. To prevent this, Lundberg is essentially asking his supporters to lobby Speaker McNulty to remove a fellow Republican from the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. B.J. Nikkel, ahead of today’s hearing.
We’d say Lundberg’s too-public call to take this action ought to ensure it doesn’t happen. Because if it does now, everyone is going to know why, and McNulty’s promises to give SB-2 a fair hearing will be revealed as treachery. So this really wasn’t very smart of Lundberg.
But above all, folks, such irresponsible desperation from social conservatives like Kevin Lundberg shows how close civil unions truly are to becoming the law in Colorado.