(April 15) – House Republicans embarrassed themselves this morning with a failed coup attempt against Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst that was covered with the fingerprints of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, an extremist special interest group that has clearly taken control of House GOP floor strategy.
The attack took the form of a never-in-memory procedural motion by Rep. Justin Everett, R-Littleton, to amend the House journal to reverse a 7-6 vote by the State, Military & Veterans Affairs Committee Monday night killing SB15-175, a bill to do away with all limits on the capacity of ammunition magazines bought and sold in Colorado.
Actions of committees are deemed final, and the speaker routinely approves the reports of the various committees and enters them in the House journal to codify the work of those committees. Rep. Everett moved to amend the journal to overturn the work of the committee and show that SB15-175 passed. The rules of the House do not address an amendment to the House journal, leaving the decision up to the speaker, per the rules of the House. Speaker Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, ruled the motion out of order and came to the well to explain her decision.
“The issue here is whether or not by amending the journal you can change the action of a committee,” she told the chamber. “There is no specific rule that says you cannot amend the journal to say that a committee didn’t do what they actually did. I think the reason that there isn’t a rule is that is pretty common-sense. When there is no rule, according to the rules, the speaker decides. And my decision is that we will always, in this body under my rule of order, consider the action of a committee and the vote of a committee as final.”
“Therefore amending the journal to say that the committee didn’t do what it did is out of order.”
Despite being ruled out of order, and disregarding institutional process and tradition to ensure that committee votes are final, Rep. Everett continued to press his challenge to the authority of the speaker and asked for a recorded vote on his motion. The motion failed on a 39-26 vote, despite the support of the entire House Republican minority leadership, including Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland, and Assistant Minority Leader Polly Lawrence, R-Littleton.
RMGO quickly sent out a Facebook post turning the procedural vote into a litmus test on gun rights. “Did Your Rep Vote Anti-Gun?” it asked, over an image of the recorded vote on Rep. Everett’s motion.