Colorado State Representative Douglas Bruce was no longer recognized to speak in the Colorado legislature after he called Mexican workers "illiterate peasants." Bruce was previously reprimanded for kicking a photographer.

The Denver Post reports:

"We don't need 5,000 more illiterate peasants in the state of Colorado," Bruce, R-Colorado Springs, said during debate on a bill to speed up a temporary seasonal worker program.

Audible gasps and cries of "no" filled the House chamber before Gunnison Democrat Rep. Kathleen Curry, in charge while the speaker handled other business, took the unusual step of banning Bruce from further comment on the bill.

"How dare you?" Curry asked him.

Bruce stood by his statement afterward, saying his colleagues are "offended by the truth" and contending the term was technically accurate. He said he'd been planning the bill-related speech — at least two pages, single-spaced — for about a week.

"I was trying to make illegal immigration an issue for the House," Bruce said. "They just don't want anybody to disagree with a bill that they like."

Premeditated bigotry is what Rep. Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, called it. He said that, as a descendant of "illiterate slaves," he believes that Bruce's comment warrants ethics hearings that could result in reprimand, censure or expulsion from the legislature.

This video is from KWGN, broadcast April 21, 2008.

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