Marianne Goodland

Renewables bill fuels big controversy

Rural electric associations, GOP senators, testify against measure
The Colorado Statesman

Legislation to boost the state’s renewable energy standards for certain rural electric utilities is moving through the state Senate this week. But the bill drew howls of protest from the utilities amid concerns it could hike electricity bills for seniors, state facilities and farmers by millions of dollars annually. Friday, the bill was the subject of an eight-hour filibuster, as Senate Republicans tried in vain to garner votes from a few Democrats who might be willing to vote against their Senate President.

Bill would form uniform sales tax base in Colorado

And Jake Jabs’ stress level would go down
The Colorado Statesman

It isn’t often that you see Republicans and Democrats at the state Capitol team up to deal with sales tax issues, but that’s the case with a new bill that seeks to simplify the process for dealing with certain municipal tax districts.

Reps. Kathleen Conti, R-Littleton, and Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills, are the main sponsors of House Bill 13-1288, dubbed the “Establish Statewide Uniform Sales & Use Tax Base” bill.

Legislators learn ABC’s of new school finance act

The Colorado Statesman

The new school finance act, Senate Bill 13-213, survived its first committee hearing last week, but it took three days to do it.

The Senate Education Committee, after 15 hours of hearings stretched over three days, sent SB 213 to the full Senate for debate. Bill sponsor Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver, told The Colorado Statesman he expects the Senate to take up the bill next week, after they finish work on the 2013-14 state budget and a Good Friday recess.

Community colleges strive to expand their access

But to what degree?
The Colorado Statesman

Colorado’s community colleges are seeking permission from the General Assembly to offer four-year bachelor’s degrees, but it’s pitting Democrats in the state Senate against each other, and drawing the kind of opposition from the state’s public universities that one university president likened to a “food fight.”

School Finance Act could be overhauled

Public could ultimately decide possible ballot measure
The Colorado Statesman

Members of the Colorado General Assembly aren’t waiting for a decision from the Colorado Supreme Court in Lobato v. State of Colorado.

Last Friday, Sens. Michael Johnston, D-Denver, and Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, introduced Senate Bill 13-213, a new Public School Finance Act that Johnston says will address some of the issues raised in Lobato.

Lobato lawsuit could have major ramifications for K-12 school finance

The Colorado Statesman

The Colorado Supreme Court last week heard oral arguments on a lawsuit that could dramatically change the system of K-12 school finance in Colorado.

Political power of women and Latinos on the rise

Legislative breakfast highlights progress
The Colorado Statesman

The rise of Latino political power is a seismic change that took centuries to build, according to former Rep. Gloria Leyba, who spoke at Tuesday’s 24th Annual Colorado Women’s Legislative Breakfast.

The annual breakfast is sponsored by a host of groups that focus on women’s issues. Close to 300 attended the Tuesday morning gathering, which also featured a legislative panel that discussed how they got where they are.

House committee passes bill to curb driving under influence of marijuana

The Colorado Statesman

The latest effort to set a standard for driving under the influence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, may finally draw enough support to pass.

Legislators have tried several times previously, including during last year’s special session, to set a limit of 5 nanograms (ng) as a standard for determining when a marijuana user is under the influence while operating a motor vehicle.

This year, the sponsors of House Bill 13-1114, Reps. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, and Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, are trying a different approach.

‘Boots to Suits’ aims to move vets into college

Special to The Colorado Statesman

Military veterans moving from military life to civilian life have gotten another tool to help with that process. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and CU Denver have created a “Boots to Suits” program that will move vets into college and then into a second transition into the business world.

Boots to Suits started just a year ago, part of the university’s Veteran Student Services office. About 60 veterans are already in the program, and another 25 are expected in the spring semester.

Hickenlooper finishes first session bill signings

The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper has finished signing legislation passed by the 2011 General Assembly, meeting the June 10 deadline for action.