ADL Deeply Disturbed by Colorado State Lawmaker’s Disruption of Special Legislative Session

Denver, CO, November 21, 2023 … The Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region is deeply disturbed that a Colorado state lawmaker attempted to redirect debate on a summer food program for students into a monologue on the Israel-Hamas war and then shouted down a Jewish member of the legislature attempting to respond to her remarks.

Colorado State Representative Elisabeth Epps tried twice during the special session that ended Nov. 20 to introduce an amendment to the bill to provide food benefiats to students from low-income households during summer months. Epps’s amendment would have prohibited using funds to purchase food that originated in the so-called “occupied territories.” Epps used the amendment to call for a ceasefire and to accuse Israel of engaging in genocide and ethnic cleansing. She concluded her remarks on Nov. 20 with the words “Free Palestine.” When House leadership provided Representative Ron Weinberg, who is Jewish, an opportunity to speak, Epps shouted down her colleague while sitting in the House gallery with pro-Palestinian protesters.

ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott Levin issued the following statement:

“It is outrageous that a Colorado state lawmaker would divert time and taxpayer resources to force debate on an issue outside the purview of Colorado state government. It is appalling and unacceptable that the same lawmaker would heckle a fellow lawmaker, who is Jewish, while he spoke about being a descendant of Holocaust survivors and explained how the failed amendment impacted him. There is a time and place for sincere conversation and debate on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. A special session on property tax relief is not that time and a state legislative body is not that place.”

The ADL Mountain States Region encourages Colorado House leadership to review its rules and procedures to ensure this type of inappropriate attack and interruption by a member of the House does not take place in the future.

ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all. ADL’s Mountain States Region covers Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. More at https://mountainstates.adl.org/.

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