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Legislation introduced Tuesday to permit independent liquor stores to amass more than twice as many licenses as last year’s landmark compromise allows has groups representing smaller merchants warning the move will devastate Colorado’s mom-and-pop retail landscape, but the bill’s sponsors and supporters say it’s simply an attempt to level the playing field.

Twenty Years Ago this week in The Colorado Statesman … Republican Secretary of State Victoria Buckley found herself under a bit of a microscope with the legislative branch. Buckley was forced to defend her campaign’s actions, coming under fire by the Colorado General Assembly’s Audit Committee. The state auditor had released a report finding that Buckley had accepted campaign contributions from organizations and individuals the secretary of state’s office was responsible for regulating: bingo and raffle operators. Serving her first term at the time, Buckley took issue with the auditor’s recommendation that she not solicit or accept contributions from people she regulated. Neither the state constitution nor Colorado election laws prohibited such things, Buckley said. In her opinion, this included the incident she was being criticized for: accepting proceeds from a $500-per-couple fundraiser thrown by lobbyist Freda Poundstone. Some of the people Poundstone had invited to the event were bingo and raffle operators as well as the landlords of properties where those games were played.