TUESDAY UPDATE #2: The resolution honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. passed in the State Senate on Tuesday. In the final count, only one Republican signed on to the legislation as a co-sponsor: Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen.
There are 31 Republicans in the state legislature in 2023. Only one out of 31 Republicans agreed to co-sponsor the MLK resolution.
TUESDAY UPDATE: It turns out that not sponsoring the MLK resolution was actually an intentional decision by House Republicans because of concerns they had about “Critical Race Theory” language that wasn’t even in the bill. Check this out from Kyle Clark at 9News:
[Original post on Friday, Jan. 13]
Monday is a federal holiday celebrating the birthdate of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
King’s actual birthdate was January 15, 1929, but we officially celebrate the “MLK Day” holiday on the third Monday of January.
Actually, let’s skip the rest of the lede and get right to the numbers:
[Note that the “GOP House Total” above reflects the number of Republicans who were elected members in the House at the time]
We have never seen this before: Not a single Republican member of the Colorado House of Representatives co-sponsored the traditional resolution to honor and commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
To be fair, nobody voted against the resolution, but where are the co-sponsors? It’s not like Republicans didn’t know this was coming. Several GOP House members, including Rep. Scott Bottoms of Colorado Springs, went to the House floor to speak about Dr. King before the vote took place.
So, does this mean that all 19 House Republicans are racist and/or ambivalent about Dr. King? Of course not (probably). But it is absolutely yet another troubling sign that nobody seems to know what they are doing in the House Republican Caucus.
Now, we are giving House Republicans the benefit of the doubt here; we are assuming that this was a mistake or an oversight. But it’s hard to ever be sure with the recent generation of GOP lawmakers in Colorado — particularly when you remember that the MLK Day holiday has often been a problem for Republicans.
The most infamous moment in recent history came in 2019, when then-Rep. Lori Saine delivered a speech on the House floor with a “history” lesson straight out of her own bizarre imagination. According to Saine, “black people and white people were lynched in nearly equal numbers for being Republican in the post-Reconstruction era.” We probably don’t need to tell you that this is complete nonsense.
Last year, Saine was more reserved but nevertheless used the occasion of MLK Day to complain about Critical Race Theory, suggesting that Dr. King himself would not approve of the imaginary practice of incorporating CRT in public school teachings (to the extent that CRT is taught anywhere, it is done as part of a higher-level discussion meant more for college students — not for primary schools).
Yet despite some strange and inappropriate speechifying by Republicans in years past, one thing always remained fairly consistent: House Republicans made sure to co-sponsor the annual joint resolution commemorating the life of Dr. King.
Today’s fumble was an unsurprising ending to a difficult first week for House Republicans. The session kicked off on Monday with an unusual (and pointless) break of decorum when a few Republicans tried to nominate someone from their micro-minority to become House Speaker (that ship sailed back in November, when the 46-member majority House Democratic Caucus selected Rep. Julie McCluskie as Speaker). Assistant House Minority Leader Rose Pugliese later embarrassingly admitted that there had been no “plan” to challenge McCluskie…nor, apparently, any other sorts of plans.
In fairness to House Minority Leader Mike Lynch, he doesn’t have a lot of help at the top. Pugliese has been around GOP politics for years, but she’s still a freshman lawmaker who has spent less time inside the State Capitol than many of our readers. Pugliese is learning how to be a state lawmaker at the same time she is supposed to be leading people who are learning how to become state lawmakers. That’s working about as well as you’d think.
We’ll see just how bad this might get if Republicans have to respond to not co-sponsoring the MLK resolution. If someone tries blaming Democrats for not inviting them to be a co-sponsor…