(May 3) – The House gave voice-vote approval today to a bill to protect rape victims from their rapists, closing a tawdry episode in which the House Republicans chose to invent scenarios and fire political cheap shots instead of buckling down and working to address actual policy issues.
SB13-227, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Westminster) and Rep. Lois Landgraf (R-Fountain), allows the termination of a rapist’s parental rights when the attack causes a pregnancy.
Rep. Jenise May (D-Aurora), a former deputy director of the Department of Human Services who has worked in child welfare for more than two decades, noticed there was no language in the bill to address child support obligations of the rapist/father whose parental rights are severed.
On Thursday, Rep. May approached Rep. Landgraf with her concerns but was rebuffed. After Rep. Landgraf refused to work with her Democratic colleague, Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) laid the bill over so Rep. May could work with Sen. Carroll on amendments.
In response, the House Republican communications office sent out a press release and numerous tweets accusing the Democrats of playing games with rape victims and refusing to bring the bill up for debate.
“I noticed a real policy hole in the legislation, and my only intent was to fix it and make this bill even better for rape victims and their families,” Rep. May said. “There were no political games, only real policy concerns. It was disheartening to see my good-faith efforts to protect rape victims turned into political cheap shots. I expected better from my Republican colleagues.”
Today, Rep. May introduced her amendments, which were warmly welcomed by Rep. Landgraf. The amendments, and the bill, passed this afternoon without audible opposition.
“I’m glad it all worked out, but I thought it was reprehensible how the Republicans tried to distort our policy questions and twist them for political advantage,” Majority Leader Hullinghorst said after the vote. “To be accused of playing games with an important piece of legislation with broad bipartisan support is ludicrous. Our only goal was to make this the best piece of legislation possible to protect rape victims and children. It’s shocking the Republicans would resort to lying about the process when real consequences for Colorado families are on the line.”
Copy & pasted below is the press release from the Colorado House GOP office
Democrats play games with rape victims and their children
DENVER—Democrats in the House of Representatives refused to bring a bill up for debate today that would protect rape victims and their children from custody battles with their attacker. Only three days remain for the body of lawmakers to consider Senate Bill 227 before it dies on the calendar.
“It’s atrocious,” said state Rep. Lois Landgraf, who sponsors the measure in the House. “The Democrats are playing politics with rape victims and their children.”
Senate Bill 227 is a bipartisan bill that would force convicted rapists to forfeit their parental rights for any children conceived from their crime. It already passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously earlier this week.
At the start of debate this afternoon, Democrats in the majority party chose to layover Landgraf’s bill along with every other Republican-sponsored bill scheduled to be heard. Democrats eventually brought other Republican bills back up for debate but left Landgraf’s bill off the calendar.
“These are real lives and real people that will be affected by the Democrats’ games,” Landgraf, R-Fountain, continued. “Democrats are abusing the process at the expense of rape victims and their children.”
Allowing SB 227 to die on the calendar, however, means Colorado would not join the 31 other states in the nation that have passed similar measures to protect rape victims from custody battles with their attacker.
The last day the bill can be heard for debate in the House before it dies on the calendar is Tuesday, May 7.