Peter Marcus

Senate approved increase in per diems for rural legislators

The Colorado Statesman

The debate over whether some state lawmakers would be receiving a 22 percent pay increase, or simply an increase in living expenses, came to an end Wednesday after the Senate approved a per diem increase for 41 lawmakers who live outside the Denver metro area.

Bradford moves on — but worries another shoe will fall

The Colorado Statesman

Embattled Republican state Rep. Laura Bradford wants to know what’s next.

In an exclusive interview with The Colorado Statesman this week, a shaken Bradford poured her frustrations over a string of controversies and personal turmoil over the last month that has left her fighting for her career and family.

Credit report bill discussion erupts into partisan name calling

The Colorado Statesman

A simple piece of legislation aimed at ending the use of credit reports by employers who make hiring decisions turned into one of the most personal and partisan attacks yet this year on the Senate floor.

Senate Majority Leader John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, riled Republicans into the attacks on Tuesday during debate of Senate Bill 3, which ultimately passed the Democratic-controlled Senate on final reading with a party-line vote of 20-15. The vote brought to an end two straight days of debate.

Legislator spikes his own bill

Cites pressure from PERA
The Colorado Statesman

Republican Rep. Chris Holbert of Parker shocked observers on Thursday when he asked the House Finance Committee to kill his own bill. Critics said it would have reduced employer contributions to the Public Employees’ Retirement Association health care fund in such a way that health care subsidies provided to retirees would have been eliminated.

Holbert had come under fire from more than 1,200 PERA members over House Bill 1250 and he told the Committee that he could not move forward with the legislation.

Counties lose in attempt to regulate oil and gas practices

The Colorado Statesman

A series of bills aimed at balancing local versus state control of oil and gas regulations in Colorado were quickly drilled to their demise by the Legislature this month, along with legislation seeking to tighten controls over hydraulic fracturing practices by the industry.

The most recent attempt at defining whether local governments should be given the authority to regulate oil and gas practices was killed Monday on a Republican party-line vote of 6-4 by the House Local Government Committee. Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, was absent from the vote.

Gessler has active legislative agenda

The Colorado Statesman

Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler has proposed a suite of at least a dozen separate pieces of legislation this year that run the gamut — everything from the mundane, including clearing up ballot title language and allowing notaries public to register online to the more controversial, such as cutting short the number of days early voting centers are required to stay open.

Bill pushed by medical marijuana industry goes to pot

The Colorado Statesman

Medical marijuana proponents watched in earnest on Tuesday as their only hope this year for a formal banking and payment system went up in smoke.

Senate Bill 75, sponsored by Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, would have created the authority for licensed medical marijuana stakeholders to form an exclusive financial cooperative specific to the industry, but the Senate Finance Committee killed the legislation on a 5-2 vote.

Embattled Bradford considers leaving GOP

The Colorado Statesman

The Legislature was thrown into turmoil this week after an embattled Republican lawmaker who was stopped by Denver police last Wednesday on suspicion of drunk driving threatened to leave her party over frustrations with leadership.

Rival pro-gun groups’ explosive relationship triggers political hits

But Kerr says knife wounds in his back were real cause of vacancy committee dis
The Colorado Statesman

State Rep. Jim Kerr says it’s not bullet holes, but knife wounds in his back that hurt him following a Republican vacancy committee in which the veteran lawmaker from Littleton was passed over for a promotion to the upper chamber a few weeks ago after infighting within the gun community.

Tuition equality bill ok’d by committee

Whether it’s a real ASSET remains to be seen
The Colorado Statesman

The Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow (ASSET) bill, the centerpiece of immigration reform facing the legislature this year, passed out of the Democratic-leaning Senate Education Committee 4-3 on a party-line vote Thursday, but the fate of the controversial legislation providing tuition equity for undocumented students remains unclear.