DENVER | The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that state Senate Democrats violated the constitution in 2019 when they responded to Republicans’ request that bills be read at length by having computers speed-read the bills in an intelligible garble.
The Colorado Sun reports that in a 4-3 ruling released Monday, the court ruled the speed-reading tactic violated the constitution’s mandate that legislation be read at length upon request.
“There are unquestionably different ways by which the legislature may comply with the reading requirement,” Justice Carlos Samour Jr. wrote in the majority opinion. “But the cacophony generated by the computers here isn’t one of them.”
Minority Senate Republicans were trying to delay Democrats’ attempts to overhaul oil and gas regulations by asking that bills be read aloud — including a 2,000-page measure. When Democrats resorted to computers, Republicans sued. A lower court found for the minority party.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Monica M. Marquez wrote that the court should give direction on how legislation ought to be read in the future.
In 2019, Democrats began negotiating with Republicans to avoid further stalling tactics — and the GOP has since slowed down work on other occasions to force Democrats to make deals.