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April 17, 2024 02:51 PM UTC

Colorado Republicans Vote Against Veterans AND Sex Abuse Victims in 24 Hours

  • 4 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

Republicans in the state legislature are not serious people.

They have demonstrated this time and time again during the last two legislative cycles (and well before then). Republicans spend well more than their fair share of time yammering about one thing or another in order to grind legislative happenings to a halt. When that strategy fails and they are forced to cast actual votes on important legislation, they make a dramatic showing of saying “NO” to things that should be pretty non-controversial.

In the last 24 hours, Republicans have voted “NO” on legislation to help military veterans and “NO” on a proposal to ask voters to allow victims of child sex abuse to sue their abusers.

We’ll start at the end. As Seth Klamann and Nick Coltrain report for The Denver Post:

The Colorado Senate on Wednesday morning failed to pass a proposed child sexual abuse constitutional amendment. If ultimately approved by voters, the measure would have allowed the legislature to remove the statute of limitations on cases of child sexual abuse from years ago, allowing those victims to sue. The 23-12 vote fell along party lines and was one vote short of the two-thirds threshold needed to refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot.

The measure will not move on to the House.

In a statement after the vote, Senate Republican leaders said they were united against those who commit crimes against children but could not overcome their concerns with the amendment as drafted. If it passed, they said, the retroactive lifting of the statute of limitations for older crimes “would have upended numerous constitutional and legally settled rights we all depend on, including the principles of legal certainty and reliance, the principle of finality of litigation, and due process.” [Pols emphasis]

The short version, as we explained on Tuesday, is that Senate Republicans sided with big insurance companies and The Colorado Catholic Conference instead of victims of child sex abuse. The resolution — SCR24-001 — would have asked Colorado voters to approve a Constitutional amendment that would allow lawmakers to remove the statute of limitations on lawsuits over sexual abuse that took place years earlier. Resolutions like this require a two-thirds majority in the State Senate, meaning that Democrats needed just ONE REPUBLICAN to vote “YES” in order to move this resolution to the House of Representatives, where it would likely have passed easily.

But Republicans said, “NOPE” to victims of sex assault and “YEP” to preserving “legal certainty” and “the principle of finality of litigation.” The Republican Party that once claimed the mantle as the party of “law and order” is now just the party of legalese.

This vote in the Senate came a day after Republicans in the State House voted “NO” on legislation to continue a grant program for veterans because they were salty about language added in an amendment to prioritize veterans who are “underserved.” Because Republicans hold such a micro-minority in the House, those “NO” votes couldn’t prevent passage of HB-1273 in the House…but House Republicans were able to make sure to look like petty assholes.

House Republicans ultimately voted “NO” on the entire bill (Continuing a Veterans Assistance Grant Program) because they took issue with a particular amendment offered by Democratic Rep. Jennifer Parenti. This amendment so incensed Republicans that they rushed to the well of the House Floor to remove their names as co-sponsors:

And what was SO TERRIBLE that Republicans couldn’t vote for final passage of the legislation? This single paragraph from Parenti’s amendment:

CRITERIA AND PROCEDURES FOR ALLOCATING PROGRAM MONEY, WITH THE INTENT THAT AT LEAST FIFTY PERCENT OF MONEY APPROPRIATED FROM THE FUND EACH YEAR FOR THE PROGRAM IS USED TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO UNDERSERVED VETERANS.THE ADJUTANT GENERAL SHALL DEFINE “UNDERSERVED VETERANS” IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS’ GUIDELINES AND TO MEET EMERGING STATE AND LOCAL NEEDS AND PRIORITIES, WITH A FOCUS ON INCLUSIVE CRITERIA THAT ENCOMPASSES DIVERSE GROUPS, INCLUDING WOMEN VETERANS.

State Rep. Ken “Skin” DeGraaf tries, and fails, to explain his opposition to a bill extending a grant program to help veterans. Seriously, what does this even mean?

The objection from House Republicans was essentially that veterans benefits should not be prioritized — sort of a bastardized version of the “all lives matter” retort during the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Nevermind that it is the position of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), the IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America), and the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) that these sort of benefits be prioritized for underserved veterans — namely, women. House Republicans know better than these organizations!

When Colorado Republicans are once again getting hammered at the polls in November, perhaps someone will remind them that voters generally find it disagreeable when lawmakers refuse to stand up for sex abuse victims and veterans.

This ain’t rocket surgery…even for Ken DeGraaf.

Comments

4 thoughts on “Colorado Republicans Vote Against Veterans AND Sex Abuse Victims in 24 Hours

  1. What are the odds CO Dems can flip one more seat in the state Senate this year considering how dominant they already are? Can they tip it to 24-11 realistically or are they at the zenith of how the districts are drawn will realistically allow?

    1. Past results are no guarantee of future performance, of course. But the Senate races of 2020 did have a few narrow wins.  Winners with less than 60% of the vote were:

      District 8 Republican Bob Rankin (WINNER) 50.58%
      District 25 Republican Kevin Priola (WINNER) 50.84%
      District 23 Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer (WINNER) 55.14%
      District 27 Democratic Chris Kolker (WINNER) 55.30%
      District 10 Republican Larry G. Liston (WINNER) 56.37%
      District 12 Republican Bob Gardner (WINNER)
      District 19 Democratic Rachel Zenzinger (WINNER) 59.17%

      On the whole, I think Democrats would have a shot of flipping one.

      Still can’t import a table. The draft mode SHOWS a table, but when I save and the “comment loaded successfully” message is back, the format is broken.

  2. There are various victims' advocacy groups along with the Colo. Trial Lawyers Assoc. which should start collecting signatures to put this on the ballot.

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