The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee axed three Republican immigration bills Monday. Like many times this session, the committee, on a party-line vote, turned down legislation that targeted voting accessibility and immigration concerns. Also killed was a bill ridiculed by some as a “birther bill.” That legislation would have required elected officials to present proof of citizenship upon taking office.
“A lot of people come down here to work on making good government and building a better society,” Rob DuRay of the progressive leaning New Era Colorado, told the Colorado Independent. “So, to bring forward a ‘birther’ bill is offensive and cynical. We have people working very hard and it is distracting from other problems.”
SCR 003, requiring proof of citizenship from elected officials before they can take office, caused a stir among Capitol watchers and inspired a flurry of Twitter tweets that ridiculed the bill. Sponsored by Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, and Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, the bill would have had no affect on those elected to national office but instead would have targeted those elected to Colorado office.
“This will not affect any federal candidates,” Lambert said.
The bill was killed on a quick party-line vote with Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, jokingly saying it came about too late.
Two other pieces of legislation also died in the committee Monday. Each was a bill that had already been shot down earlier this year, but which crept back to life as Republican sponsored Senate concurrent resolutions.
Democrats re-buried legislation initially proposed by Secretary of State Scott Gessler. The resolution would have required the secretary of state to check voter records with state and national databases to look for discrepancies in legal voting status. Those determined by the secretary of state to likely be on the voting roll illegally would have been asked to provide proof of citizenship within 90 days or lose the ability to vote.
Democrats then closed the coffin lid on SCR 4 but not quite as tightly as the other Lambert sponsored pieces of legislation. The bill would have required all employers to use the E-verify national database system in order to ensure that those applying for jobs were legally allowed to work in the United States. While Democrats voted solidly against the bill after raising concerns that E-verify has been shown to be inaccurate in some cases, some said once those problems were fixed they could be a ‘yes’ vote. Both Senators Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, and Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, expressed their interest in voting for a more accurate E-verify system later down the road.
“Maybe the time will come before I leave this legislature that I can vote yes on this bill, but not this time,” Boyd said.
After the legislation was killed Lambert charged that Democrats were against curtailing illegal immigration.
“Democrats claim we need to send a message to Washington to deal with illegal immigration, but their solution is to give in-state tuition to ‘undocumented’ aliens. They cannot even agree that voters and elected officials should provide proof of citizenship,” Lambert told the Senate minority office’s “news agency.”
“Senate Democrats continue to thwart the will of the people by refusing to stem the tide of illegal immigration while simultaneously rewarding illegal behavior,” said Lambert. “With 9.2 percent unemployment in Colorado, when will they understand they are killing jobs for American citizens and legal foreign workers?”