To set the first issue up, remember, all bills are to be read in their entirety twice in each chamber, unless “by unanimous consent” they may be read by title only.
Reading titles only has become the common practice and makes sense. If you aren’t familiar with a bill by the time it comes to the floor there is little chance you can cast an informed vote by having someone read it to you.
So, to “ask that a bill be read at length” is a rare thing and when it happens, everyone is paying attention. The longer the bill, the more it gets everyone’s attention. However, once the reading begins no one is actually paying attention because what this has become is a tool used by the minority to slow things down when they feel their voice is not being heard. In Washington, D.C., this could be called filibustering.
The minority asked for a 2,000-page bill to be read at length in protest over the speed at which the majority was rushing through some very high-profile, controversial and impactful bills.
Majority leadership, through the magic of technology, found a way to have five computers read different parts of the bill at 625 words per minute. One computer reading at that speed is incomprehensible; five at the same time was just noise.
Republicans sued, and on Tuesday the judge ruled that a bill being read at length must be read by one reader (human or computer) at a speed that is comprehensible to the human ear.
The winner here was not one or both parties but the Colorado Constitution, as the intent of the Constitution was upheld.
On Friday the first 10 hours of the session were spent on the Extreme Risk Protection Order, otherwise known as the Red Flag Bill. here are lots of amendments, some to shift the focus back to the underlying problem of mental health.
However, when one of the sponsors of the bill said, at the microphone, “This bill is not about mental health but about removing guns,” that kind of set the tone for the day.
It passed on a party-line vote. It goes to a conference committee to iron out the differences between the House version and the Senate version.
From there, it will go to the Governor, who has indicated he will sign. I predict the next stop after that will be the courts, as it is challenged for being unconstitutional. I haven’t talked to anyone who wants people with the serious mental health issues to have access to guns, but let’s do it without violating the Constitution.
I welcome your thoughts and comments on the happenings here at the Capital.
There are lots of ways to stay in touch: office phone 303-866-4877 or mobile phone 719-351-2121, my email is SenatorHisey@gmail.com.