Legislative News

Death penalty repeal killed

The Colorado Statesman

Two Democrats joined every Republican on the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to put the brakes on a proposed death penalty repeal after Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper had earlier hinted that he might veto the legislation.

“In my heart, this is absolutely the right thing to do. I know we should repeal the death penalty,” said Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, before explaining that Hickenlooper’s publicly stated reservations had prompted her to “very regretfully be a no vote” on the measure.

Guv signs three controversial gun bills

The Colorado Statesman

A visibly shaken Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday morning signed three controversial pieces of gun control legislation just hours after learning that his Department of Corrections chief, Tom Clements, was gunned down at his home in Monument Tuesday night.

Taking to the microphone at a media availability, Hickenlooper called the killing a coincidence, but said the timing highlights the significance of the bills.

Death penalty repeal measure now in limbo

The Colorado Statesman

A House committee on Wednesday delayed action on a proposal to ask Colorado voters whether to repeal the state’s death penalty. The move comes on the heels of nine hours of emotional testimony heard by another House committee the night before on a rival measure that would abolish the death penalty outright.

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.”

Oil and gas violations could be costlier

Legislative committees approve raise in fines
The Colorado Statesman

With the majority of gun control bills in the rearview mirror, Democrats have set their crosshair on regulating the energy industry. Committees of both the House and Senate on Thursday advanced key oil and gas agenda items, readying for another fight with Republicans under the Gold Dome.

Ex-state senator defends Neville in ethics committee hearing

The Colorado Statesman

A legislative ethics committee on Wednesday began its investigation into a complaint brought by Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, against Rocky Mountain Gun Owners lobbyist Joe Neville for allegedly threatening political retribution during a conversation about gun control legislation.

The Committee to Investigate a Complaint under Joint Rule 36 — convened by the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council, which includes bipartisan legislative leaders from both chambers — made no findings, but heard a defense from Neville’s attorney, former Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield.

Joint select committee meets to hash out pot regs

The Colorado Statesman

Establishing regulatory framework for legalization of adult-use marijuana in Colorado could come down to a last-minute effort by the legislature after an implementation task force on Wednesday issued a 165-page report to lawmakers and the governor’s office with 58 policy recommendations.

Jack Finlaw, co-chairman of the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force and chief legal counsel to Gov. John Hickenlooper, called the report a “gift” for lawmakers.

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.