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DENVER -- It wasn't a gun bill, but it sparked the kind of heated exchange that characterizes gun-bill debates in Colorado.
DENVER-- Opposition to a gay-rights civil union bill defeated here last month was directed in large part by Colorado Springs-based evangelical empire Focus on the Family and the Colorado Catholic Conference. The Christian-right campaign, however, also reenergized a leading anti-gay rights activist organization of the 1990s, influential rough-and-tumble group Colorado for Family Values.
DENVER-- The gay-rights civil unions bill at the center of a special legislative session called by Gov. John Hickenlooper died as expected on a party line vote Monday in the Republican-controlled House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
DENVER-- Outmaneuvered over the last six days in a legislative chess game centered on a gay-rights civil unions bill here, the Colorado Speaker of the House on Tuesday, the second-to-last day of the session, effectively turned over the board. Frank McNulty, a Republican from Highlands Ranch, walked out of the House at roughly 9 p.m. and stayed away for more than two hours, letting a recess run all the while and killing the civil unions bill and nearly 40 other bills in the process.
DENVER-- The House Judiciary Committee voted Thursday evening to advance a state civil unions bill that would grant legal recognition to same-sex couples. The bill died in the same Republican-controlled committee last year but on Thursday won the deciding vote of Loveland Republican Rep. B.J. Nikkel.
The Colorado Legislature acted quickly and in bipartisan fashion today to require biweekly campaign finance disclosures in advance of this year's primary elections in June.
Survey results released by Public Policy Polling this week underline broad support in Colorado for some form of legislation that would grant gay couples equal partnership rights. Although Republican members of the House Judicial Committee last year quashed a popular civil unions bill, PPP found that even among Colorado Republican voters, support for civil unions-style legislation is now nearing 60 percent.
In the end, it came to the sort of calculation payday lenders might understand. After spending political capital fast and furiously in the last hours of the legislative session Wednesday, Colorado House Republicans seemed to accept that spending any more in the service of the payday loan industry would end in more loss than gain. They did the smart thing and just stopped spending altogether. They decided to withdraw the amendment they had attached to the annual rules bill on Tuesday that would have rolled back payday fee regulations put in place last year.
DENVER-- On Tuesday afternoon, Colorado Springs Republican Rep. Bob Gardner set off a firestorm on the House floor and in the Twittersphere when in the last hours of the 2011 legislative session he amended the annual rules bill to strip out regulations passed last year on payday lending. It was a surprise move sure to generate rancor and just the latest battle in the ongoing war over payday lending in the state.
Denver Democratic Rep. Mark Ferrandino this morning told radio host David Sirota that Coloradans should demand state Republican Speaker of the House Frank McNulty strip out the last-minute amendment his caucus added to the annual rule-making bill in order to roll back payday loan fee regulations put in place last year. Ferrandino said Republicans were playing chicken with billions of dollars in Colorado business revenue just to cater to one special-interest group.