Republicans halt work in Colorado Senate with 2,000-page reading

All work in the Colorado Senate came to halt Monday morning thanks to a procedural maneuver invoked by a ranking Republican.

Committee hearings, floor debates and votes were all delayed as House Bill 1172 – a 2,000-page bill revising Title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes – was read in its entirety.

“I‘m just following the rules,” Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, said with a smile when asked about his request to read the whole bill. “We keep saying we want things slowed down, and this is the only thing we have in our arsenal.”

What Cooke wants to slow down is the hearings and votes on the bill to repeal the death penalty and the omnibus bill of changes to how the oil and gas industry and its oversight board operate in Colorado. Cooke said he talked with Democratic leadership last week about delaying the oil and gas hearing, but he said he was dismissed.

Some estimated it would take 60 hours for a human to read the bill, but Monday afternoon Democrats used a maneuver of their own to cut that time drastically: After a Senate staffer read for three hours, they brought in five computers to read the bill simultaneously at a speed far faster than humans can understand.

The machines finished their work at 5:30, and Senate hearings scheduled for Tuesday will proceed as planned.

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