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Topics In the News
More Republican Chicanery in Colorado
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 05/14/12
Last updated on: 05/15/12
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Speaker of the House Frank McNulty.

In the special session of the Colorado legislature called by Governor Hickenlooper to deal with civil unions, the Republican Speaker of the House Frank McNulty, who used stalling tactics to kill the bill in the regular session, spitefully referred it to a committee that killed it.

During the regular session of the legislature, the civil unions bill passed the Senate and was then unexpectedly voted out of a crucial house committee and seemed to be on its way to adoption in the House and then to be signed into law by the supportive governor.

However, conservatives were enraged by the turn of events and lobbied Speaker of the House McNulty and House Majority Leader Amy Stephens to use every procedure to kill Senate Bill 2.

Consequently, McNulty and Stephens simply stalled, and finally time ran out. The bill died on the House calendar on May 8, 2012, taking down more than 30 other measures with it. McNulty abruptly adjourned the House as Coloradans watching in the gallery started chanting: "Shame on you! Shame on you!"

At least five Republicans had publicly said they support the measure, meaning that had it been voted on, it would have passed, which is why the conservatives resorted to the filibuster.

Democratic Senator Pat Steadman of Denver said that the Republicans who filibustered the bill "have brought dishonor and ill repute to the House. They ought to be ashamed."

In response to the procedural antics of the Majority Leader, Governor Hickenlooper announced that he would call a special session of the legislature to resolve the civil unions bill, as well as several other bills that were left pending. "We owe it to the people we serve to do better," Hickenlooper wrote in a letter delivered to lawmakers.

As Tim Hoover and John Ingold report in the Denver Post, however, Speaker McNulty has assigned the civil unions bill not to the committees that passed it during the regular session, but to the House State Affairs Committee, where it was killed.

Ironically, in doing so the bigoted Representative accused the Governor of "playing politics," saying "Make no mistake about it. Gov. Hickenlooper has called this Legislature into an expensive special session for the sole purpose of dividing Coloradans."

McNulty pretends to be unaware that large majorities in the state are in favor of civil unions. He and his conservative colleagues are the ones playing politics with the bill. Indeed, their unfair tactics provides evidence of the failure of democracy in this country.

House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino of Denver was not surprised by the Republican chicanery. "Given the games and the lengths the speaker went to on Tuesday night to kill civil unions, I don't have high hopes for today. I expect the same kinds of games," he said.

About 200 supporters of civil unions rallied at the Capitol on May 14, 2012, hoping to pressure McNulty into giving the measure a vote of the full House. "What we're asking for is a process," said Maria Garcia Berry, a prominent political consultant.

"It's no secret," said Brad Clark, the executive director of One Colorado, "that in this building this bill has more than enough votes to pass. . . . It just needs a fair hearing."

Civil unions activists were joined at the rally by several community and business leaders, including University of Denver chancellor Daniel Ritchie and Jeremy Shaver, the head of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado.

In the video below Denver Mayor Michael Hancock speaks at a rally in favor of the civil unions bill on May 3, 2012.

In the video below, Representative Ferrandino speaks after the committee actually killed the civil unions bill.

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