DENVER — Stalling at the State Capitol won't necessarily stop the bills that are prompting the delays.
Colorado's House and Senate Republicans are using the rules to their advantage to slow down the debate and votes on controversial bills.
Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) has repeatedly called for the previous day's Senate journal to be read aloud to stall the debate on the red flag legislation.
That passed its second reading on Friday and has one more vote before it is through the Senate.
Now that the oil and gas reform bill in the House, House Republicans have started requesting bills to be read out loud, to stall the calendar enough to delay the debate on oil and gas.
On Wednesday morning, House Republicans tried to have the House journal read out loud, but the House rules are different and don't require that when asked. Instead, two lawmakers, Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) and Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone) used their 10 minutes at the microphone to read the journal themselves.
The day's calendar was delayed and pushed until tomorrow.
"When it comes to the calendar and which bills come up when, I'm in control of that," said House Majority Leader Rep. Alec Garnett (D-Denver).
Initially, the oil and gas bill and the remainder of the calendar were going to be debated after 5:30 p.m., but that got delayed until Thursday morning.
Democrats and Republicans were still discussing possible oil and gas bill compromises on Wednesday afternoon.
Garnett and House Minority Leader Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) appear to have a friendlier relationship than the Senate majority and minority.
"I go into his office enough to know that he's out of watermelon Jolly Ranchers and he needs to stock up again," said Garnett.
Since he controls the calendar, Garnett has a say in which bills are heard first.
"If you look at the House calendar there isn't a ton of working that's sitting on the calendar," said Garnett, in defense of Wednesday's complete calendar delay.
Let's say there are multiple "tame" bills on the calendar prior to something controversial like the oil and gas bill. He could call them in order, and Republicans could stall by having them read at length and then create long debates on the bills. Garnett could also call the oil and gas bill out of order, starting debate immediately. Republicans could still have that bill read at length. Democrats could put a time limit on debate, but if they didn't, the debate could last up to two days before a vote is required.
After that debate is complete, Democrats will still pass the oil and gas bill onto third reading. That means the next day (or whenever Garnett calls for it), the bill is debated on last time. All 65 lawmakers would be allowed two different 10-minute opportunities at the mic. Assuming only the 24 Republicans would utilize the full 20 minutes, that would be at least eight more hours of debate.
The controversial bills will be debated and voted on, it's just a matter of when.
The bills that might be impacted more are the ones that are not controversial and pushed off because of the calendar delays. Bills like increasing the fine for passing snow plows in a diagonal "echelon" formation or the creation of a Mesa Verde license plate.