Colorado lawmaker kicks photographer
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado ” New lawmaker Douglas Bruce brought a Bible to the Legislature on Monday and kicked a photographer for taking his picture during the morning prayer, but he didn’t get the swearing-in ceremony he demanded, with the full House in attendance.
Bruce, the anti-tax crusader who was chosen by El Paso County Republicans to fill a vacant seat, agreed to take the oath of office later when the House wasn’t in session ” standard practice for midterm appointees.
He wanted the House to be in session because he said Democrats accused him of wrongdoing for delaying his swearing-in until five days after the session started.
Bruce said last week he had done nothing wrong and vowed, “It will not be a proceeding in secret.”
House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, a Denver Democrat, refused. “I’m not willing to delay the business of the House to indulge anyone’s vanity,” he said Friday.
Fellow Republicans threatened to give the open seat to someone else if Bruce didn’t take the oath by the end of the day Monday. It wasn’t clear whether that was a factor in his decision to back down.
Bruce went to the House floor Monday as a guest of Rep. Kent Lambert, a fellow Republican from Colorado Springs
Bruce got upset when a photographer from the Rocky Mountain News took his picture during the traditional prayer to open Monday’s brief session.
“Don’t do that again,” Bruce said, then brought down the sole of his shoe hard on the photographer’s bent knee. Bruce offered no explanation or apology as the photographer left.
Rocky Mountain News Editor John Temple said the photographer had a right to take Bruce’s picture. Temple said he would discuss the incident with House leadership.
“The House floor is a place where journalists are allowed to operate. It’s outrageous for Mr. Bruce in a public place to assault a photographer,” Temple said.
Midterm appointees typically are sworn in shortly after their appointments during private ceremonies usually presided over by the chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. A swearing-in while the House is in session would cause a delay of about 15 minutes.
Bruce was chosen last month to fill a vacant House seat but waited to take the oath until Monday ” when the unexpired term will be more than half over ” so he will be eligible to serve eight more years under term limits, instead of six.
Bruce said the delay was recommended by a judge during a previous court challenge to term limits.
Romanoff has said Bruce should have taken the oath within 10 days of his appointment.