Colorado Judge Bars Speed-Reading of Senate Energy Bill

The Colorado statehouse. (Chris Marshall/CNS)

DENVER (CN) – A Colorado judge on Tuesday blocked state senators from using computers to read a lengthy bill at high speed.

Per Denver Judge David Goldberg, state Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, is prohibited from “refusing to read legislation, including HB 1172 in an intelligible fashion absent the unanimous consent of all members present.”

State Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Douglas, requested the 2,000-page “Title 12 Recodification and Reorganization” bill be read on Monday. It is estimated reading the bill will take senators some 60 hours – stalling the vote on another controversial bill backed by Democrats in the Legislature and Governor Jared Polis, also a Democrat.

Colorado Democrats, which hold the majority in the state Senate, introduced the “Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations” bill on March 1. If passed, the bill would overhaul how the state regulates the oil and gas industry.

The bill moved to the Senate floor after passing the transportation and energy committee.

Bound by the legislative rules to read the bill, Democrats read for nearly four hours Monday before resurfacing with a new plan: Why read when a robot can be programmed to do the same but faster?

They then used five laptops to read the bill at an incomprehensible 650 words per minute, completing the task in a single day. The entirety of legislative day 67 can be viewed on YouTube.

Holbert and state Sens. John Cooke, R-Weld, and Robert Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, sued Tuesday to force Democrats to allow the entire bill to be read at a normal rate.

In addition to siding with the Republicans, Judge Goldberg prohibited voting on the bill until it has been read “out loud on two consecutive days absent the unanimous consent of all members present to dispense with such reading.”

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