All eyes are on Colorado to see whether the special session ordered by Gov. John Hickenlooper will push the state to join five others that have legalized civil unions. If party lines hold the same weight they did last year when a similar bill died then the bill may be short-lived, but Colorado's legislature this year has exhibited some surprises.
The bill has already passed three Republican-led House committees with the help of one Republican vote to propel it forward. By comparison, last year's civil unions bill died in its first committee hearing on a party-line vote.
Monday afternoon State House Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch assigned the civil unions bill to the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee where it is being widely speculated it will die. There are nine members on the committee, three of whom have already voted "no" upon hearing the bill in committees last week.
On the second to last day of the session, Republicans denied they were filibustering but never got to the bill.
From the Colorado Independent:
Republicans had been denying for hours that they were filibustering, even as Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, read whole sections of text into the record, calling out punctuation marks, and Rep. David Balmer, R-Centennial, railed theatrically about how school lunch regulations amounted to a step on the road to Nazism.
“Why, you ask, why do I go on like this about a small amendment?” Gardner said winkingly at one point during a speech on the school lunch bill. “Because it’s a small amendment but a large issue.”
For its fourth committee hearing, the bill will again need just one Republican vote to make it to the House floor where House Democratic leader Mark Ferrandino estimates it will pass with between six to 10 Republican votes.
"Gov. Hickenlooper's special session will not result in one more job being created, or making gasoline any cheaper," McNulty told reporters before the start of the special session. "Unlike President Obama, Gov. Hickenlooper and their campaign operatives, Colorado families aren't preoccupied with promoting a divisive social agenda -- because they have more pressing concerns."
During his address, McNulty again chose to call the bill "same-sex marriage" rather than "civil unions."
McNulty also said that he assigned the bill to the State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee to push the special session to end Wednesday, alleging that the governor is spending taxpayer dollars on a President Barack Obama-backed "campaign stunt."
Ferrandino, however, is calling it a "kill committee."
"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.”
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