“Thunderdome 2015” is The Colorado Independent’s wrap-up series on the 2015 legislative season. For a series overview, check out “Thunderdome 2015: 120 days under the gold dome.”
It was a learning session for the former Navy chaplain turned Internet preacher turned House representative from Colorado Springs. “Dr. Chaps” made a splash at the Capitol not for dynamic lawmaking or bipartisan bridge building. He made it for doing what he was bound to do: uttering outlandish ideas motivated by his reading of scripture.
In March, he went too far even for the conservative leadership in the House when he said a horrific assault — in which a fetus was carved out of the womb of 26-year-old Longmont woman — was tied to a “curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb.”
House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso sanctioned Chaps by removing him from the chamber’s health committee. But the freshman lawmaker bounced back. He prayed and fasted and has decided to run for the Senate.
Here are the five bills Rep. Klingenschmitt sponsored this year. One of them drew Democratic co-sponsors.* Not one made it beyond an introductory committee hearing.
– 1127: A bill to remove all legal responsibility from businesses for disasters large and small brought on by policies that allow customers to bring in their firearms with them.
– 1044: A bill that seemed to be about doing away with regulations without having to actually win support from the majority of voters in an election to get it done. The bill drew no co-sponsors and was killed by the House State Affairs committee.
– 1161: A quirky religious freedom bill. It seemed mostly inspired by the war of the wedding-cake bakers of Colorado. Critics said it would have given businesses a license to discriminate and that it also would have put the state in the impossible position of deciding what constitutes genuine religious conviction and what constitutes artistic expression. Killed by the State Affairs committee.
– 1163: Anti-Obamacare bill that would repeal laws setting up the Colorado health insurance exchange. Killed by the House health committee.
– 1208: This was a “We hate Common Core. Let’s localize school standards and require less-testing” bill. It was convoluted. The summary was eight-paragraphs long. Killed by the House education committee.
Read “Thunderdome 2015: 120 days under the gold dome,” for the rest of the series.
*Correction: The original version of this story reported that none of Rep. Klingenschmitt’s bills drew a Democrtaic co sponsor. That is wrong. As Dr. Chaps points out, his “pro-gun, pro-business bill HB15-1127 had 4 Democrat co-sponsors.”
Photo Credit: Gordon Klingenschmitt takes the ice-bucket challenge.