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DENVER — Colorado's 2012 Legislature may not have achieved greatness. It may not have risen above partisan divide to solve complex problems and unify a state. It may not have addressed the state's economic malaise or found a way to reliably fund education for the long term.
Colorado legislative debate this year on education, gay rights and women's health policies reflected larger well-worn national political back-and-forths, where showy speeches on immigration "illegals," "traditional marriage" and religious freedom often sidetrack efforts to serve the public good.
The bill was never really debated in the Senate where it was introduced, then it was tacked on to a House bill amid the blizzard of activity that marked the last days of the Colorado legislative session. Government watchdog and elections groups on the right and left are now asking Gov. John Hickenlooper to veto it, arguing the bill would deny citizens the right to inspect voter ballots and "gut" the state's Open Records Act.
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.
As the special session of the Colorado legislature launches today centered around gay-rights civil unions legislation, national media outlets are circulating a memo written by a high-profile Republican pollster advising GOP candidates and operatives to embrace equal rights for LGBT Americans. The arguments made in the memo reflect arguments in favor of civil unions made over the past five months by conservatives in Colorado.
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-- "Let them vote! Let them vote!" chanted the crowd gathered on the west steps of the capitol here this morning, urging Republican House leaders to bring a controversial civil unions bill to the floor for consideration.
Conservative Rep. B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, voted to advance a state civil unions bill that would recognize same-sex partnerships last week in large part because she had come to believe the legislature, not the ballot box, was the best place to weigh civil rights questions.
DENVER-- Supporters rallied today on the steps of the Denver City and County Building in support of a state civil unions bill scheduled for crucial consideration this afternoon by the House Judicial Committee.
On the one hand, you have Jared Polis, an openly gay, socially progressive multimillionaire as the incumbent Democrat in Colorado's Second Congressional District. On the other hand you have two very different Republicans running for the chance to run against Polis. You have current Colorado State Senator Kevin Lundberg, an arch social conservative who has been among the legislature's leaders in fighting against civil unions legislation.