DENVER – Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman ripped the mask off of Senate President Morgan Carroll’s pledge for a bipartisan legislative session on Tuesday, after Democratic leaders yanked a bill seeking to repeal a controversial gun control measure approved last year.
“Before the opening day remarks were dry on the newsprint, the rules in this chamber were broken,” declared Cadman (R-Colorado Springs).
“They were violated… before the ink was dry on Wednesday’s rhetoric,” said Cadman. “On Thursday, one of our bills from a brand new Senator from Pueblo was forcefully delayed by the majority party until April 16.”
The maneuver, Cadman explained, violated rules that “protect the members of both sides, and more importantly the voices of those who sent us here.”
Sen. George Rivera (R-Pueblo) had filed a bill to repeal the universal background check to purchase or transfer guns and the associated fees.
Rivera was elected to Senate District 3 after Democrat Sen. Angela Giron was recalled in September by district residents put off by her liberal legislative record and her support for the controversial gun control measures.
Though Rivera met the deadline to file bills, Cadman said, the Senate Democrat leadership deliberately derailed it and treated it as a late bill.
Cadman read the rules, which had been approved unanimously by the Senate, that require a bill to be given a number, assigned to a committee and formally read in the chamber within three working days.
“You can’t shred it. You can’t throw it away. You can’t disregard it, You can’t say, ‘Even if I don’t like it, no one is ever going to see this (bill),’” he said. “And you can’t postpone it.”
“Abusing the rules does not show strength; it shows weakness,” Cadman admonished Carroll and the Senate Democrat leadership.
“Madame President, this institution has been damaged by this violation,” declared Cadman. “It is up to you to fix it.”
Instead of responding, Carroll glibly asked, “Are there other announcements?”
“Would this be an appropriate time to move SJR 002, the civility pledge resolution?” asked Sen. Ted Harvey (R-Highlands Ranch).
“Um, Senator Harvey, no,” responded Carroll.
For the third time, the Senate majority postponed the traditional civility resolution until next week.
Sen. Mark Scheffel (R-Parker) was granted a “Senatorial five” in an attempt to rectify the dispute over Rivera’s bill, but the out-of-earshot discussion did not change the Democrat leaderships’ position.
“Obviously passions are running high,” said Scheffel. “There’s an issue that needs to discussed and resolved. And this is when this body needs to rise to the occasion.”
The Democrats decision to sabotage a Republican bill followed Carroll’s opening day speech laced with bipartisan platitudes and pledges.
“Our friendships across the aisle here, at home, among our friends is best path to forego the scorched earth politics, and see the basic humanity in each other and in our differing communities,” said Carroll on Jan. 8.
“People expect us to put politics over policy, let’s instead put good public policy over politics and leave the campaigning and electioneering for after the legislative session and outside of the Capitol,” she implored. “People expect us to stall, delay and obstruct, let’s instead move at a deliberate, thoughtful pace with timely results that serve the people of Colorado.”