The 2013 legislative session will go down as one of the most contentious and gaffe-prone in recent memory. Here are five moments that stand out in our minds as among the most memorable:
Channeling Their Inner Akin
State Senator Evie Hudak (D-Westminster) and State Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) demonstrated that Republican politicians aren’t the only ones dumb enough to strike up a debate on rape. Salazar famously suggested that women “don’t know” when they are going to be raped, and Hudak debated the survivor of a campus sexual assault (who possessed a concealed weapon permit but was not carrying at the time of her attack because she was inside a “gun free zone”) over whether having a gun might have given the victim a fighting chance. Both lawmakers made the comments during debate over legislation that sought to ban concealed weapons on college campuses, and which was ultimately sidelined by Democrats.
Left Hanging on Gun Control
Hudak and Salazar may have inadvertently killed one gun control bill, but several others were enacted by Colorado’s one-party government at the urging of the Obama Administration. Governor Hickenlooper and the Democrats rushed to enact the restrictions as part of a national White House push for gun control. That push fizzled, however, proving too extreme for many Democrats – including Colorado’s two U.S. Senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, who voted against enacting a federal ban on so-called assault weapons.
Watermelons and AR-15s
Speaking of assault weapons, Adam Eichberg, the Colorado-based lobbyist for billionaire gun control backer Michael Bloomberg’s cause, found himself in hot water after a photo of him firing one of the assault weapons he was seeking to ban became public. The photo, taken at what sounds like a pretty cool gathering hosted by watermelon farmer and State Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray), gave Republicans a powerful, full-color illustration of what liberal hypocrisy looks like – and Eichberg a valuable life-lesson on the importance of practicing what you preach.
Death Penalty Lives On
In addition to adopting some of the most draconian gun control laws in the nation, Democrats also took a crack at repealing the state’s death penalty. The vast majority of Coloradans support capital punishment according to a poll conducted earlier this year. Two Democrats ultimately sided with Republicans in a House Committee to defeat the controversial proposal in March, but you can bet that liberal ideologues will be back with the idea — which failed by a single vote a few years ago — very soon.
Tweeting for Dunlap?
Governor Hickenlooper’s Chief of Staff Roxane White raised eyebrows last week when she sent out Twitter messages suggesting that the death penalty is inhumane and racist – from an execution hearing for convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap. Dunlap executed several four of his former co-workers in 1993, including three teenagers and a 50-year old mother. White’s unseemly social media crusade on Mr. Dunlap’s behalf prompted Governor Hickenlooper’s office to clarify that Ms. White was only tweeting her own thoughts, and that the governor himself remains “undecided.” Given that Mr. Dunlap is slated to pay for his crimes in August, the governor will have to come down off the fence soon. Mr. Hickenlooper’s recent statements suggest he may intervene on Dunlap’s behalf … just as Ms. White’s “personal” Twitter messages imply.