With Help Of 5 Computers, Colorado Dems Thwart GOP Attempt To Delay Energy Bill

A reform bill that would put new restrictions on the fossil fuel industry in the state of Colorado was introduced last week and was seen as a “sure thing” for passage due to Democrats controlling both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office.

Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

But Republicans, who have been supported by the gas and oil industry in the past, still wanted to delay its passage any way they could. In trying to do so, they invoked a little-used tactic that had the potential to delay passage for at least several days.

Republican state Senator John Cooke requested the 2,000 pages of a completely separate, non-energy related bill be read aloud on the Senate floor on Monday, a rule that he has the right to request but that was seen as nothing more than a tactic for slowing down the work of the Senate. The separate measure itself had bipartisan support, so invoking the rule to read it was a clear misuse of the rule’s intent, according to reporting from Daily Kos.

The energy bill itself was a mere 27 pages long, reported the Reading Eagle. It would prioritize health and environmental protection for state residents, and give local municipalities some control over where new wells could be developed, rather than forcing them to accept wherever the state said they had to put them. New drilling permits for fossil fuel extraction in the state is also delayed due to the bill.

The reading of the energy bill would have lasted just about a day, so it’s clear the other bill was chosen to produce the greatest length of delay.

After three hours of reading from a staffer, it was clear the energy reform bill wouldn’t be voted on for at least a few more days, if not longer. However, some quick-thinking Democrats had a plan.

Rather than wait around another week to vote on the bill and get back to work in the Senate, Democrats hauled out five computers that read different parts of the bill at the same time, at super fast speeds. The 2,000 pages of legislation were completely read by 5:30 p.m. on Monday evening.

Senate business is set to commence on Wednesday, at which time the energy bill will be given consideration for a vote.

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