DENVER — As Republicans in the Colorado State Senate try to slow down Democrats, the voice of a non-partisan Senate staffer is speeding up.
Thursday, Andrew Carpenter had to read three bills at length, as well as Wednesday's Senate Journal, at the request of Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs).
The journal, notating the Senate's actions from the day before, took 27 minutes to read. In all, he was reading aloud for more than an hour.
"I said Andrew, thanks for doing this, thanks for stepping up to the plate and helping us with this whole process. I brought some water, (asked) do you want coffee? Do you want tea? Anything you want, man," said Hill.
Hill said he volunteered to read part of the bills out loud. It's part of the Republicans' stall tactic, just about their only effort to delay the Democratic agenda at the Colorado State Capitol.
"If someone doesn't want to do something, the only way to get them to see that and hear the voice of the people of Colorado is to create tension, so I understand we're creating tension," said Hill.
On Tuesday, a Denver District Court judge ruled in favor of Republicans who sought an injunction against Democrats for using multiple computers to read a 2,000-page bill, when it was asked to be read aloud. The judge determined that the Senate must "employ a methodology that is designed to read legislation in an intelligible and comprehensive manner, and at an understandable speed."
Senate Republicans told Next that they will continue to use their only stall technique until Senate Democrats agree to talk with them about two key items they are requesting:
- Changing the oil and gas legislation to include a "petition clause" instead of a "safety clause."
- Amending the red flag legislation to get a person deemed a threat help, instead of seizing their weapons.
A petition clause would allow for voters to sign a petition in the 90 days following the legislative session, to try to get an issue put on the ballot that could overturn oil and gas decisions made by lawmakers. A safety clause puts the legislation into law once it is signed by the governor.
The red flag legislation would allow a judge to order that a person's weapons may be temporarily seized if they are deemed a threat.
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