GOP can’t kill Colorado electoral reform bill
Associated Press Writer
DENVER, Colorado ” Republicans in the Colorado Senate pulled a fast one Wednesday as they tried but failed to kill a bill to change the way Colorado’s presidential electoral votes are cast.
They also wanted to rattle majority Democrats as lawmakers rush to pass bills with just a week to go in this year’s session.
House Bill 1299 on presidential elections has been awaiting a vote for about a month, raising questions about whether there’s enough support to pass it.
On Wednesday, it was the at the top of the list of bills up for their first full vote in the Senate. Right after the acting chairwoman, freshman Democrat Linda Newell of Littleton, banged the gavel, Republican Sen. Mike Kopp of Littleton rushed to the podium and was recognized.
Usually the Senate’s majority leader, Sen. Brandon Shaffer, is called on first because the majority party controls which bills get heard when.
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Kopp moved to lay over the electoral college bill until May 25 ” long after lawmakers are set to adjourn ” which would kill the bill.
Newell called for a vote and after Republicans shouted “aye” Shaffer jumped in to try to offer another motion. Republicans protested it was too late because a vote was already under way. After a few minutes, Shaffer just asked lawmakers to vote no on Kopp’s motion.
Even though they were in the middle of the vote, Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, asked for some “senatorial courtesy” so he could have a chance to defend his bill.
“I don’t know finally when and how I’m going to run this bill but I don’t think it’s appropriate for the minority to come up and make a motion to kill my bill without giving me the courtesy of a heads up ahead of time,” he said.
The voting continued and Newell ruled that the shouted no’s outweighed the aye’s.
Republicans realized that their ploy wouldn’t have stuck even if Democrats hadn’t caught on in time. The chair always has discretion to decide who wins a voice vote. And, after a bill’s first vote, lawmakers have a second chance to try to undo it later in the day.
“Just a little reminder that they can’t take a nap during the last 10 days of the session,” Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, said later.
Kopp said he had planned the move before knowing that a freshman lawmaker less familiar with Senate rules would be in the chair. He said he also wanted to catch Democrats’ attention and show his opposition to the bill, which he said is “against every federalist principle that our country was founded on.”
Under the bill, Colorado’s nine electoral votes would go to the candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill now goes to the Senate.
The current system awards all of Colorado’s electoral votes to the candidate who wins the statewide vote.
The law would take effect only when enacted by enough states to reach a majority of the electoral vote.