Legislative News

Renewables bill signed by Governor

... but Hickenlooper sets up advisory committee that can tweak bill next year
The Colorado Statesman

Governor John Hickenlooper Wednesday signed into law the controversial bill requiring certain rural electric utilities to double their use of renewables by 2020. But unlike the gun control bills signed earlier this year, whether Hickenlooper would sign the bill remained a mystery up until the last day before the deadline.

Senate Bill 13-252 applies to rural electric providers with at least 100,000 meters. That’s just two electric co-operatives: Tri-State Generation & Transmission and its 18 member co-ops in Colorado, and Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA).

Regulation of pot one step closer

The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper put his signature this week on a package of bills that establish a regulated marijuana market for adults, but implementation of the new rules and regulations has barely begun.

The legislature’s job was to craft a regulatory framework for Amendment 64, which voters passed last November by over 55 percent. Hickenlooper on Tuesday signed the majority of those bills related to its implementation.

Two bill signings mark dog day at the Legislature

The Colorado Statesman

Legislators on Monday howled for perhaps the most bipartisan legislation of the entire session when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two bills aimed at the state’s furriest friends.

The governor — accompanied by his own dog, Skye, at the state-of-the-art Denver Animal Shelter — signed Senate Bill 226, which aims to curb a rash of dog shootings by law enforcement, and Senate Bill 201, designating shelter pets as the official state pet.

ABCs of the new school finance act

The issue will be tested at the polls
The Colorado Statesman

On Tuesday, May 21, Gov. John Hickenlooper is scheduled to sign Senate Bill 13-213, the new public school finance act passed by the General Assembly earlier this month. And then the real work begins: getting Colorado voters to approve a $1 billion income tax hike that will restore much of the funding cut over the last few years.

Expanded Medicaid could have $4 billion in impact

The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday, surrounded by fellow Democrats and health care professionals, signed a bill that expands Medicaid rolls in Colorado by an estimated 160,000 adults.

Senate Bill 200, sponsored by Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, will expand Medicaid coverage for low-income Coloradans up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level beginning Jan. 1, 2014, up from 100 percent. The coverage will include families making up to $31,322 and individuals making up to $15,282.

Oil & gas regs slip by lawmakers

The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper avoided painful decisions on strict oil and gas regulations proposed by fellow Democrats in the state legislature after his administration’s lobbying efforts resulted in bills that didn’t have the votes, or were so watered down that they were no longer controversial.

Legislators approve regs for legal marijuana use

But voters will have the final say in November
The Colorado Statesman

Lawmakers this week had their last dance with Mary Jane for the legislative session after passing three bills to tax and regulate the budding marijuana industry, ending a tumultuous and trying six-month process.

The two chambers sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper House Bill 1318, sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, and Sen. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge, which asks voters to approve a 15 percent excise tax and a separate 10 percent special sales tax this November. Cannabis will also be subject to a 2.9 percent statewide sales tax and any local taxes that might be imposed.

House GOP gets playful payback with this year’s edition of Hummers

The Colorado Statesman

It was at times blue, and off-key, but throughout it was funny.

House Republicans, scolded by voters in the November election and facing the pains of being in the minority, gave a small measure of good-natured payback on Tuesday, with the annual presentation of Hummers.

State can invest in Israeli bonds

The Colorado Statesman

Senate Minority Leader Mark Scheffel, R-Parker, didn’t mince any words on May 5 when he acknowledged that the recent legislative session has been described as “contentious, difficult, and extraordinary long.” It’s that much more compelling, he told an audience at the conclusion of the annual AIPAC meeting at the Grand Hyatt Denver, that the nation state of Israel brought together Colorado Republicans and Democrats to pass Senate Bill 176. “This bill, more than anything, represents bipartisanship and teamwork,” Scheffel lauded.

Fate of oil bills rests with Guv

The Colorado Statesman

The legislature this week made significant progress advancing several key pieces of legislation addressing the energy sector. Proposals include increasing fines, reducing conflicts of interest on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, stricter accident reporting requirements, creating a statewide groundwater testing program, beefing up inspections at wells, and raising the rural renewable energy standard.