Saturday, January 19, 2008

Committee: Censure Bruce

The special committee formed by House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D-Denver) to investigate "the kick" recommended that Rep. Douglas Bruce (R-Colorado Springs) be censured and required to apologize to the Rocky Mountain News photographer he assaulted.

The incident, which happened in the House chamber last Monday morning before Bruce was sworn into office, has been the talk of the Capitol all week. Bruce was apparently praying during the chamber's opening convocation when the photographer kneeled in front of him to take a picture. Bruce then appeared to kick (or, as Bruce described it, "nudge") the photographer's knee.

The hearings indicated that Bruce has little sympathy for his argument that the photographer was invading his privacy and being rude and that the rookie Republican from El Paso County was "trying" to "protect" the "honor and decorum" of the House by kicking the photographer.

Committee co-chair Rep. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, pointedly rebuked Bruce.

"I cannot justify in my mind that you have more power or authority than say the pope or the president or the Rev. Billy Graham, that you can decree that no one will photograph you during prayer,” King said. “And rather than showing your spirituality to the public, you showed violence. In that regard, Republican or Democrat, sir, I will show you no quarter on that.”

King also said his 13-year old son would have been fined and expelled from school if he had done a similar deed on the campus and that he would not hold his son to a higher standard than a state representative.

If the full House adopts the recommendation, it appears Bruce will become the first member censured in the 131-year history of the General Assembly.