Colorado Democrats Slam Leaders on Bills, Social Posts


Progressive House Democrats in Colorado didn't wait until the session's last day, as they did last year, to voice their frustrations with caucus leaders for delaying key legislation and being overly accommodating to Republicans. This year, they particularly criticized Rep. Brandi Bradley, R-Roxborough Park, calling her a "bully" for her treatment of fellow members.

During the session's final day last year, a progressive Democrat publicly criticized House Speaker Julie McCluskie for failing to adequately defend Black lawmakers and for not addressing offensive comments from Republicans.

This year, the Democratic leaders refuted the notion that their party was faultless.

At a Wednesday meeting, tensions rose when 13 Democrats, predominantly lawmakers of color, confronted McCluskie and Majority Leader Monica Duran in a closed session—unannounced to the media but attended by reporters from Colorado Politics and The Denver Post.

The meeting centered on the leaders' decision to postpone the discussion of two bills—House Bill 1460 on police misconduct and House Bill 1373 on alcohol beverage licenses—both removed from that day's agenda.

Duran explained the need for more time to review HB 1460, citing a recent conversation with her district attorney. However, her explanation did little to mollify the group, who demanded greater accountability and clearer communication.

"This is the hardest part of the session," McCluskie responded, urging patience and continued dialogue on the pending bills, stressing the scarcity of time.

Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, expressed the emotional toll on her colleagues, urging leaders to show more support. In response, Duran anticipated imposing House rules to limit debate on HB 1460, a move that seemed to contradict a prior agreement with House Republicans.

Feeling besieged by the critiques, Duran defended her actions, while Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver, stressed the urgent need to address these legislative issues, not as a critique of leadership but as a necessity given their implications.

McCluskie reassured her commitment to ongoing work despite the challenges, emphasizing the importance of perseverance.

Rep. Naquetta Ricks, D-Aurora, a sponsor of HB 1373, made a heartfelt plea for her bill, highlighting its importance for minorities, small business owners, and her constituents. She feared time constraints might jeopardize the bill's passage and significantly impact the alcohol industry.

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