DENVER – Democrats in the Colorado House of Representatives came under fire Tuesday from their Republican counterparts for assigning several bills to a committee with a reputation for being the place where legislation is sent to die.
A release from the House GOP said, “House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, has already departed from her bipartisan commitment by sending seven Republican-sponsored bills to the heavily Democrat-weighted House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee – better known as the kill committee.”
The list includes bills that focused on Second Amendment rights, free exercise of religion and several that govern tax exemptions in Colorado.
In response, Duran said, “every bill introduced this session, in every committee, will get a fair hearing and get an up or down vote.”
The Republicans said the bills are assigned to a committee that does not fit their content, said House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Franktown.
Normally, bills are assigned to committees based on the issues they address, and bills headed to the State Affairs Committee should revolve around “matters concerning elections, campaign finance, military and veterans affairs, and other subject areas related to state government,” according to the Colorado Legislative website.
Republicans said this is no longer the case.
“In recent years, the House State Affairs Committee has simply become a repository for bills the Speaker deems unfit for a fair hearing,” Tuesday’s release from the GOP said. “Speaker Duran only allotted three Republican seats on the Committee compared to six Democrats.”
The targeting of bills is something the Republicans said they have seen in the past from the House Democrats.
“It’s been a theme where these bills get sent to the committee and they’re predestined to be killed, that’s why they call it the kill committee,” Neville said.
The action is contradictory to Duran’s commitment to giving every viewpoint a fair hearing, he said.
“For them it just seems like it’s a little bit at odds with what they’ve been saying, what they’ve been pledging, that ‘we’re going to be bipartisan, that we’re going to be open to all ideas no matter where they come from.’”