DENVER — Colorado Republicans are demanding bills be read at length in an effort to delay Democrats’ rapidly moving agenda.
For the second day in a row Friday, Republican Sen. Owen Hill demanded the Senate journal be read at length, lasting 45 minutes. Hill also requested the 33 page red flag bill be read at length after ten hours debate on the subject.
— Kerry Donovan (@KerryDonovanSD5) March 23, 2019
Hill deployed the same tactic on Thursday when he asked for the journal as well as a series of other bills to be read at loud.
Traditionally, the Senate Journal is never read at the State Capitol as it is merely the minutes of the previous day.
Hill acknowledged on the floor he was trying to “slow down” the process in the State Senate as Democrats have been attempting to pass bills, in Hill’s opinion, at rapid speed.
I’m surprised to hear that you say it’s a waste of time to read the bills. That is the problem I am fighting #constitution
— Owen Hill (@owenjhill) March 21, 2019
Democrats are not appreciating the delay tactics however.
A Denver judge ruled earlier this week they could only use computers for public readings if the reading was clearly audible. Democrats attempted to have multiple computers read bills at the same time last week.
Judge Goldberg ruled the computers were reading the material so quickly, it could not be understood.
As a result, Senate reader Andrew Carpenter has read most bills and journals this week.
“It is absolutely a waste of taxpayer dollars,” Sen. Steve Fenberg (D-Boulder) said.
Fenberg is the Senate Majority Leader and says if GOP tactics don’t improve, weekend sessions could be called.
“We are allowed to use weekends as legislative days to get the work done. We will do that if we have too,” Fenberg said.
Republicans defended the delay practice this week.
“The Colorado Constitution respects the interests of the minority,” Republican Sen. Chris Holbert said.
Holbert leads Republicans in the Senate.
“I think this is the one tool. We can raise our hand as the minority and say, ‘Slow down,'” Holbert added.
Delay tactics are expected to continue next week. A 600-page budget bill could be read at length to further delay debate.
It should be noted the computer reading debate is costing taxpayers money. Republicans used attorneys paid for by the State GOP. Democrats have appointed outside counsel through taxpayer resources.