Legislative News

Legislature approves civil unions

Bill gets bipartisan support in House of Representatives
The Colorado Statesman

The state House of Representatives on Tuesday gave final, bipartisan approval to civil unions despite complaints from Republican lawmakers that the legislation failed to protect those who object to same-sex couples on religious grounds.

“This bill is about three simple things: it’s about love, it’s about family, and it’s about equality under the law,” said House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, the chamber’s first openly gay leader and one of the bill’s chief sponsors.

Mid-session at Capitol fosters finger pointing

The Colorado Statesman

Legislative leaders were quick to point the finger at their political counterparts as the midsession approached on March 7, with each party arguing that the other is out of touch with the will of Colorado voters.

Democrats first defended their ambitious agenda so far this session, which has included a comprehensive package of gun control legislation, and controversial measures to support same-sex civil unions and provide in-state tuition to undocumented students.

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.

House approves ASSET after six prior attempts

Tuition bill for undocumented students heads to Governor’s desk
The Colorado Statesman

Undocumented students and their supporters embraced in warm hugs with tears of joy streaming down their eyes Friday morning as the House took a historic final vote on providing in-state tuition to the paperless residents.

Gun bills trigger explosive testimony

Five of seven controversial gun bills get initial approval in state Senate
The Colorado Statesman

The most emotionally explosive week yet at the state legislature concerning gun control ended with only five of seven bills in a Democratic legislative package receiving initial approval by the Senate late Friday night.

Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, stunned observers when he decided to kill his own measure, Senate Bill 196, which would have held manufacturers and sellers of assault weapons liable for violent incidents that take place with those weapons.

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.

Latest effort to expand beer into supermarkets fizzles out

Sponsor acknowledges bill had gone flat
The Colorado Statesman

Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, had hoped that his beer bill this year would ferment into a balanced approach to allow full-strength craft beer in supermarkets and convenience stores, while expanding the number of liquor licenses allowed. But when it became apparent that his measure had gone flat, he simply decided to kill it.

Priola on Tuesday acknowledged that he did not have the support of the 11 members who sit on the House Business, Labor, Economic and Workforce Development Committee. Rather than waste the committee’s time on House Bill 1178, he asked to spike it.

Arapahoe County Dems already giddy about 2014

CD candidate Romanoff already on the stump
The Colorado Statesman

Arapahoe County Democrats had plenty to celebrate at the party’s biennial reorganizational meeting on Monday at Cherry Creek High School.

Not only did the traditionally Republican county continue its tilt toward Democrats — President Barack Obama won the bellwether county by 10 points over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and Democrats retook the state House in part by ousting an Aurora Republican — but what some are already anticipating could be the most hotly contested congressional race in the country next year is taking shape there.

Pro-civil unions Republicans want to rebrand party image

The Colorado Statesman

A group of Republicans who support civil unions are pressing GOP lawmakers to back a bill to establish them in Colorado before the party permanently brands itself among younger voters as intolerant.

That was one message expressed on Monday afternoon at a Coloradans for Freedom gathering at the Colt & Gray restaurant in Denver. The group met to toast this session’s near certain passage of Senate Bill 11 and make a case that it isn’t too late for state Republicans to get on board — though some warned that the deadline is looming.