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Ethics Tutorial - Colorado General Assembly

- Legislative Ethics Complaint Process - 23 of 25

Background

Pursuant to Article V, Section 12, of the Colorado Constitution, each house of the Colorado General Assembly has the power to adopt rules governing its proceedings and providing for punishment of its members for contempt or disorderly behavior in its presence. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have adopted rules establishing a process for filing and investigating an ethics complaint against a member of its respective house for misconduct involving legislative duties.

Hypothetical

Statements made in legislative debate

As a member of the House of Representatives, you are involved in the debate of a very controversial bill on second reading.  You strongly oppose the bill and, in the heat of the floor debate, you lose your temper and berate the two joint sponsors for introducing the bill.  Despite your subsequent private and public apologies to your two fellow House members, one of the members files an ethics complaint against you alleging that your comments during the bill's debate constitute misconduct in the performance of your legislative duties.

Question


Can an ethics complaint be filed against you for your comments made during the floor debate on the bill?

Select No, your comments are protected speech since you were exercising your constitutional right of free speech.

Select No, since you apologized both privately and publicly to the House members you berated.

Select Yes, any person may file an ethics complaint against a member of the House of Representatives alleging misconduct involving the performance of legislative duties.

Select No, you have absolute immunity for any comments you make during legislative proceedings under the Colorado Constitution's speech or debate clause.


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Last updated: 09 OCT 2015


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