The Senate on Thursday backed sweeping elections reform legislation that has polarized the legislature, resulting in marathon debate that kicked off Tuesday when Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, moved for the entire 126 pages to be read at length. The Democratic-controlled Senate passed House Bill 1303 by a party-line vote of 20-15, despite the stall tactic. Amendments were later approved by the House, which sent the bill to Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, for his signature. Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, and House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst of Boulder and Assistant Majority Leader Dan Pabon of Denver sponsored the measure. Senate Reading Clerk Max Majors on Tuesday during second reading read the bill for about two and a half hours, with help from staff. Long-time Capitol observers could not remember another time when such a long bill was read at length. During the redistricting debate of 2003, the reading clerk was asked to read Senate Bill 352, but the measure was only 20 pages. Republicans, who debated the bill on Tuesday into Wednesday morning for nearly seven hours, view its passage as a power grab. One by one they took to the well, drawing out debate on the measure, while Democrats mostly sat at their desks, choosing not to speak during the Republican filibuster.
At one point, Harvey moved a technical amendment to the bill that simply corrected a typo. He pleaded with Democrats to speak to the amendment.
“The majority caucus has locked down on any amendments to this bill. What about a drafting error?” he asked.
“Let’s talk about this for 10 minutes. Ten minutes on a drafting error. Since not one single Democrat will come up here and say why they’re going to vote ‘no’ on every single amendment that’s come up here, let’s talk about why they shouldn’t come up and vote for a drafting revision,” Harvey continued.
“Where’s the majority party going to be on this?” he began shouting from the well. “Where are they? Come up here and defend yourself. Please come up here and vote. Tell me why you’re not going to vote for this.”
Democrats quickly called the revision a good amendment, and backed the technical change.