UPDATE 8:10PM:The special session civil unions legislation, HB12S-1006, dies in the House State Affairs Committee on a party-line 5-4 vote.
UPDATE #5: LGBT philanthropist and major Democratic funder Tim Gill is personally attending today’s hearing on civil unions legislation, reports Nic Garcia of Out Front Colorado.
UPDATE #4: With all eyes fixed on the Colorado House today, the Los Angeles Times reports:
Colorado legislation permitting civil unions for same-sex couples was assigned Monday to a conservative “kill” committee, supporters of the measure said, virtually ensuring that the bill will never reach the House floor for a vote.
The action by Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty occurred on the first day of a special legislative session called by Colorado’s governor to address the bill.
“The Republicans chose to send it to a committee where it won’t get a fair hearing and will likely be killed,” Brad Clark, executive director of Denver-based One Colorado, a statewide gay and lesbian advocacy group, told The Times…
“Why does it go to one committee one week and another the next?” Clark asked Monday. “If the bill does fail, all of our focus will be on November and holding the House leadership responsible. These kinds of political shenanigans have consequences.”
UPDATE #3: From GOP Speaker Frank McNulty’s latest statement:
While Republicans focused our efforts on putting Coloradans back to work, Gov. Hickenlooper and his Democratic allies in the legislature brought these efforts to a grinding halt by pushing a last-minute, divisive attack on our traditional views on marriage for short term political gain.
Make no mistake about it. Gov. Hickenlooper has called this Legislature into an expensive special session for the sole purpose of dividing Coloradans. Instead of using his authority and his bully pulpit to unify Coloradans behind a pro-growth agenda of economic recovery and job creation, he is using his authority to tear Colorado apart. Again. That’s where his priority is…
They can’t defend their record of failed policies, so they have chosen instead to push and promote same sex marriage. And that’s unfortunate. Because the hardworking families of this state don’t have the time, the inclination or the patience to pay for these election year political stunts.
UPDATE #2: Republican Rep. Dave Balmer, while reiterating that he would be a “no” vote on civil unions, nevertheless condemns Speaker Frank McNulty’s actions to kill civil unions legislation in the House in an email to supporters today:
I do not support abrogating the House Rules to pass or defeat any bill. The House Rules have their underpinnings in our State Constitution. I have served under three Speakers, and I’ve never seen the rules changed to advantage or disadvantage any specific bill. I never saw Speaker Romanoff bend the rules, so we must follow the Rules now. Bills should proceed to their normal committees of reference.
The House Rules don’t just belong to us (the 65 current Representatives). They belong to all Representatives who served before us and all those who will serve after us. More importantly, the House Rules belong to the People of Colorado.
UPDATE: The Colorado Independent’s John Tomasic:
Swamped by reporters after making the assignment, McNulty said that Gov. John Hickenlooper called the special session to advance “gay marriage” in Colorado but that Republicans were focused on job creation. He said Hickenlooper was spending tax money to run the special session on an election-year campaign issue meant to trip up Republican candidacies…
Talking to reporters after McNulty finished, [Minority Leader Mark] Ferrandino lamented the action taken by the Speaker.
“The majority, including 46 percent of Republican delegates to the party convention this year have supported this bill. This is not a controversial issue here. He sent it to the kill committee. It should have followed the same process as it followed during the regular session.”
It was announced moments ago that GOP Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty has assigned the legislation to authorize civil unions in Colorado, now numbered as House Bill 12S-1006–a principal focus of the special session of the Colorado General Assembly getting underway this morning–to the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
For those of you who don’t know, the State Affairs Committee is the traditional “kill committee” in both chambers of the Assembly, composed of the most loyal representatives to the Speaker or Senate President–meaning it’s where a bill is sent when leadership wants to ensure it is killed.
That is now the fully expected fate of the civil unions bill at 3:30 this afternoon.