Shackling bill on the Senate floor UPDATED

    The anti-shackling bill, which some of you are calling Megan’s Law in honor of Megan Rawlings from Unlawful Contact, goes to the floor of the Colorado Senate for debate today. I’m pretty certain it will pass second reading today and third reading tomorrow.

    Here’s the only hitch: The bill has drawn the attention of people on both sides of the abortion debate, both the pros and the antis, so I expect a bit of a tussle in terms of the bill’s language, which is neutral.

    I’ve tried hard to shelter the bill from this issue, because this is not what it’s about. But when people feel they have a chance to beat their drum, that’s apparently what they do. I feel like I’ve said a hundred times: “This bill is not about abortion.” And I’ve said to people on both sides. But they’re all too busy trying to score points for their side to listen.

    Hopefully, this little tussle won’t hold the bill back. It did delay the completion of the draft of the bill because there was bickering over language. Drove me nuts! I kept having to say, ”This bill is about unchaining women who are in labor.” Fortunately, the senator carrying the bill totally gets that.

    UPDATE: The bill passed second reading on a unanimous voice vote after about 15 minutes of robust debate centered, unfortunately, around the abortion debate. This bill has nothing to do with abortion, of course. Fortunately, everyone seems to realize that at some level.

    Tomorrow it goes back to the Senate for a final vote. I expect it to pass with strong bipartisan support. Then it's on to the House, where it will be pushed through quickly before the session ends.

    And then change will have happened!

    And all the women who end up in prison pregnant from now on will face a different set of circumstances than fictional Megan and all the real, live women she represents, women I've met and interviewed.

    I cannot tell you how happy that makes me!

    I watched the debate live via the Internet (I'm supposed to be working), and it was mightily strange to hear my name mentioned four times during the floor debate. Whoa! I think my face turned red.

    Today’s discussion question: What have you all been reading? Any good books lately?

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