If this were a horror movie, we could call it: "The Night Of The Living Dead Bills." Or maybe: "The House That Kills." But unfortunately it's not a horror movie, but it is tremendous waste of time and resources. The GOP-controlled House stalled, ran out the clock and in the process killed more than 30 bills last night--including Colorado's same-sex civil unions bill--in the second to last day of the legislative session.
Hickenlooper announces he will call a special session:
Eli Stokols put it best when he wrote, "House Speaker Frank McNulty chose the nuclear option" last night.
But it wasn't just civil unions that was killed, there were bills that funded statewide water projects, readdressed discipline procedures in public schools, would create a standard for driving while stoned and many more. 7News has a complete list of all 31 bills that were casualties of Tuesday's session here.
So, now with one day left in the session, what's next?
The Denver Post reports that Democratic lawmakers will likely try to tack on some of the bills that died Tuesday onto measures that are still alive today. Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) said to The Denver Post, "We'll try to be the adults in the building, but we won't be able to save everything."
But that may not be the only option. There has been some speculation that Gov. John Hickenlooper could call a special session to give lawmakers more time and to readdress the bills that were killed by the clock on Tuesday.
During a civil union debate on 9News, Aurora city council member Ryan Frazier thought a special session could be possible, but it would have to encompass more than just a readressing of the civil unions bill. "Given the state of economic affairs, so many people looking for jobs, I think for Gov. Hickenlooper to call a special session just on civil unions -- he'll be hard pressed," Frazier said.
Andrew Romanoff who also appeared on the 9News debate panel was not confident Hickenlooper would call a special session either saying, "I'm not sure. The governor can't force the Republicans in the House to adopt this legislation. He can call a session and put it on their agenda. On the other hand, the Republicans in the House who made this decision last night said they did so because they didn't have enough time to debate the issue -- a special session gives them all the time in the world, but the meter will be running."
Meaning if Hickenlooper calls a special session, there's no guarantee the same kind of stalling won't happen again. And special sessions don't come cheap as Lynn Bartels pointed out on Twitter:
So, what's worse than wasting the last three days of the legislative session with stalling out and killing bills on the clock? Calling a special session where the same thing happens.
Many supporters of the civil unions bill have taken to the governor's Facebook page calling on him to call for a special session. Joey Cordova from Denver wrote: "Call a special session to pass civil unions please! There is no greater issue than LOVE."
Debra Faber from Bellvue wrote:
Governor Hickenlooper, I am writing today to request with my whole heart that you open a special session of Congress so our state congress people can do their jobs and finish the important legislation which they have begun, particularly in regards to same sex civil unions. I have been married to my husband for sixteen years and am deeply troubled when a segment of our population does not have the same rights as I to enjoy the many benefits of a civil union. While I understand the critical nature of budgets and the other important work done by our congress people, the rights of citizens are equally important and must be addressed. The groundwork is laid, please let's not stop now. Thank you.
At the time of publishing, more than 50 people had written to Hickenlooper on Facebook pleading with the governor for a special session.
But Gov. Hickenlooper may have already done all that he can do. He went back to the Capitol late Tuesday night in an attempt to keep the House bills moving -- he even shared a whiskey with Rep. McNulty on the House lawn, as Fox31 reported. He then spent some time with Rep. Mark Ferrandino, the bill's sponsor from the Senate. But, in the end the "Hickenlooper magic," as Ferrandino calls it, was not enough. "He tried his darndest to get this done," Ferrandino said about Hickenlooper. "[He] has been very engaged."
The House is scheduled to reconvene around 1:30 today to finish the legislative session.