12:38pm

Mon May 14, 2012
Special Session

Special Circumstances, Special Session at Colorado Capitol

A civil unions measure is the primary focus of a special legislative session that began Monday morning. Hundreds of gay rights activists are rallying at the capitol in hopes of persuading lawmakers to approve the bill, but many are skeptical the measure will get a fair shot the second time around.

Update 8:05 p.m.: Via Kirk Siegler on Twitter.

 

Update 5:56 p.m.: The bill is still in commitee. Opponents of the civil unions bill are now testifying. The representative from Alliance Defense Fund is the first to testify.

 

Update 2:51 p.m.: Via Kirk Siegler on Twitter.

Update 2:38 p.m.: Audio has been added from Kirk Siegler, who is on site at the capitol today reporting on the session.

Update 11:45 a.m.: The Denver Post is reporting that Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty has assigned the civil unions bill to the House State Affairs Committee, where it is likely to die.

John Straayer, a professor of political science at Colorado State University, says the special session puts Republicans in a tough place. They’re not likely to face too much of a fallout with the general electorate if the civil unions bill makes it to the floor and passes.

“But there’s a partial downside there, too, because the core – the base - of the Republican Party is adamantly opposed to this,” Straayer adds. “So they’re subject to attack and dissatisfaction from their base."

Straayer says he doesn’t see much of a downside for Governor Hickenlooper. Regardless of whether civil unions or any of the six other bills on the agenda pass, at least he’s seen as trying to get things done.

Further reading:

A rundown of all the bills on the agenda [pdf] from Governor Hickenlooper's office.

Here's a compelling commentary from Dominic Dezzutti of Colorado Public Television about the politics of the special session.

Speaker McNulty made it clear on Tuesday night that he is willing to do what it takes to kill the bill.

To be any clearer about his intentions on Tuesday night, he would have had to don a Gandalf costume, complete with a staff, march to the center of the House floor and bellow, “It… Shall Not… Pass!!”

Ed Sealover wrote about several bills in the Denver Business Journal, including changes to Colorado's unemployment insurance program and the designation of benefit corporations.

Also on the agenda - a measure to repeal unconstitutional provisions.