Marianne Goodland

Republicans leverage JBC, Senate stances for policy maneuvering

The Colorado Statesman

Senate Republicans flexed their muscles this week in a big way, shooting down a supplemental bill for the Department of Public Safety that seeks to provide more funding for background checks.

Legislative rural caucus kicks off 2015 with first meeting

The Colorado Statesman

The General Assembly’s rural caucus began its 2015 activities Wednesday, hosting a meeting with the Colorado Ag Council to find out how they can help the ag community in the coming months.

Concurrent committee hearings kept some rural members from taking part in the Feb. 18 lunch meeting, although a dozen legislators were able to attend, some for the entire meeting and some for just a few minutes. One-third of the legislators are new members this year.

Construction bill would curb lawsuits

The Colorado Statesman

What is expected to be the landmark bill of the 2015 legislative session was introduced Tuesday. Senate Bill 15-177 would amend Colorado’s construction defects law, first passed in 2001. Supporters, including four bipartisan lawmakers, say the bill will help address a dearth of affordable middle-class housing in Colorado, primarily in the condo market.

SB 177 is the third attempt in as many years to address what supporters claim is an inability of developers to build affordable condos because of fear of class-action lawsuits.

Credit card transaction bill aims to reduce fees for small businesses

The Colorado Statesman

A bill to reduce the burden on small businesses that handle credit card transactions is pitting businesses against credit card companies, banks and the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce.

House Bill 15-1154 is sponsored by Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, and Rep. Alec Garnett, D-Denver.

Current law requires businesses to send sales tax to the states. When those businesses accept credit cards, they are charged a percentage, usually 2 to 3 percent, as a fee by the credit card companies and banks. That fee is charged not only on the purchase but on the sales tax as well.

Senate childcare bill faces uphill struggle

The Colorado Statesman

An effort to deregulate licensing requirements for childcare providers who serve up to nine children has run into trouble in its first committee in the Senate.

Thursday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee reviewed Senate Bill 15-070, sponsored by its chair, Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud.

The bill would remove licensing, registration and other regulatory requirements for childcare providers who serve fewer than 10 children. Current state law caps the number of children cared for by an unlicensed provider at four or fewer.

New pols look at gun laws from other side

The Colorado Statesman

This week, the General Assembly began the process of dealing, once again, with legislation that seeks to repeal some of the controversial 2013 gun control laws.

Six legislators in the 2015 session can tie their 2014 elections either directly or indirectly to the 2013 gun debates. All of them own guns, some with lifelong histories with firearms, and three were part of Monday’s hearings in the House and Senate.

Rural Caucus to meet Feb. 18

The Colorado Statesman

Two-thirds of the Colorado General Assembly live in the state’s population centers along the Front Range. Over the last several years, rural legislators outside the Front Range have complained that some of their urban cousins don’t understand the rural way of life, which has led to heated battles over gun rights, energy and agriculture. It has also led to the formation of a caucus that, its members hope, will lead to a better understanding of rural issues.

Bill could ban water-polluting microbeads

The Colorado Statesman

It’s always about water in Colorado, and the present Legislative Session is no exception. A bill headed for the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee will attempt to make sure Colorado doesn’t wind up with the same water pollution problem as other states.

House Bill 15-1144 will be heard on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 1:30 p.m. in the public health committee. Its sponsor is Rep. Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield, the committee’s chair.

CenturyLink files suit against PUC over funding mechanisms

Rural broadband could be affected
The Colorado Statesman

A deal to deregulate CenturyLink and get broadband services into unserved areas has hit a snag: the Public Utilities Commission.

CenturyLink filed a lawsuit against the PUC earlier this month, challenging the way the agency decided to allocate funds tied to two of five telecommunications reform bills passed by the General Assembly in 2014.

New higher ed funding model out of the gate

The Colorado Statesman

Next week Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia will sit down with the joint House and Senate Education Committees to explain how the General Assembly will fund higher education for the foreseeable future.

The conversation will deal with House Bill 14-1319, which changed the decade-long funding formula that some claimed lacked transparency and didn’t meet state policy goals.