(Denver, CO) -- Representative Ty Winter explains the minority in the house feels silenced after the majority invoked Rule 14 this weekend. Winter explains the rule put into play means debate on bills is limited to one hour. It's an effort to prevent a filibuster but Winter explains he feels it takes away your voice because it silences theirs. Winter says they cannot represent the people who voted them in if they cannot have debate on important bills.
It's ironic, explains Winter that many Democrats ran their campaigns on protecting Democracy and then they seek to silence the voices of Republicans. "On the invoking of rule 14, it is a travesty when the super majority invokes rule 14, if they're not going to bargain in good faith, they can sit there and listen to us."
According to rule 14, Limiting Debate, Upon the affirmative vote of a majority of all members elected, debate may be closed at a time not less than one hour from the adoption of a motion to that effect, and such motion having been made, no other motion expect to adjourn or to take recess shall be entertained until the motion to close debate and fix an hour for the vote upon the pending question shall have been decided.
The rule was invoked concerning the debate on Senate Bill 170, the bill's summary is as follows:
The bill repeals and reenacts the statutory article related to extreme risk protection orders.
Under current law a family or household member and a law enforcement officer or agency can petition for an extreme risk protection order. The bill expands the list of who can petition for an extreme risk protection order to include licensed medical care providers, licensed mental health-care providers, licensed educators, and district attorneys.
The bill requires the office of gun violence prevention to expend funds annually on a public education campaign regarding the availability of, and the process for requesting, an extreme risk protection order.
Other house members went to Twitter to show their feelings on the action:
"They just limited our ability to represent the constituents that voted us in office to fight for their rights!” -Rep. Bradley
“It is no surprise that the super majority did not like the overwhelming fight of the 19 Republicans in the house and had to invoke Rule 14 to silence us.” -Rep. Wilson
“The difference between a democracy & a republic is that a republic will protect the individual from the mob, a democracy will feed him to the mob. Tonight we’ve learned how the the majority holds in disdain the 2nd, 5th, 14th, and now the 1st amendment.” -Rep. DeGraaf
And Rep. Hartsock tweeted the following:
This evening, the Dems invoked House Rule 14 that limited debate to one hour on gun bills: SB23-170 & SB23-168. Instead of continuing debate over controversial issues, the GOP has been muzzled. Debating these issues are difficult but necessary. We are now in uncharted territory.
Concerning the decision to invoke rule 14, Colorado House Democrat Rep Steph Vigil had this to say,
"The CO House has rules for a reason, and one of those rules allows a majority to limit debate on a bill. This decision was not made lightly, but let's be perfectly clear: it is in the rules. We had an election and the people have spoken. It's time to get on with our work."
Earlier on Sunday, The majority went to social media to say they were starting a day of debating gun violence prevention bills to keep communities safer from gun violence.
"We're fighting to pass bills to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals & allow gun violence victims to gun manufacturers accountable."
Another tweet on the CO House Dems Twitter account stated:
“Coloradans are demanding action, not delay tactics. An overwhelming majority of Colorado voters elected us to govern responsibly because we made clear commitments to prevent gun violence, make housing more affordable, protect access to abortion and reproductive care, …
When we spoke to Representative Ty Winter he explained he wrote an amendment to the bill that would remove Mental Health Care Provider from the people who could report a person under the Emergency Risk Protection order bill. He said there's already a stigma surrounding mental health but if his constituents thought there was a chance a counselor might be able to turn them in and their guns taken, they would not go to see them.
Speaking from the well on the bill Sunday, Winter said.
"And I'm scared, and I hope not, like the rep from Denver said, we hope there's no ill intended consequences from this and we're not preaching that from this podium, but I'm scared there will be."
"We talk about saving lives, there all lives. In rural Colorado I'm afraid it's going to have an ill effect, I wouldn't be up here pouring my heart out to you all if I didn't. The code of going it alone, there's been a code out here for as long as anybody can remember, your problems are yours alone and that way of thinking can feed the invisible beast that gnaws away at people's emotional well being."
He said the tough times of blizzards, drought and a bad market add to the mental stress that faces people in rural parts of Colorado.
He added to remember there's always butterfly effect to law. He said he understands the meaning behind the bill that they want to save people and added.
"The people you're trying to save aren't any more important than these people right now."
He finished by saying he thinks people will stop going to see mental heath counselors with the threat of having their second amendment rights taken.
Winter's amendment was lost.
Senate Bill 23-170 passed on a third reading. It will now head to Governor Jared Polis desk for signature.