Legislative News

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.

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.