Legislative News

2012 Legislative Wrap-up

Bills streamline gov’t, invest in future and add oversight

The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed several bills this year to streamline government and save the state money, while making investments for the future and adding accountability and oversight.

On June 6, Hickenlooper signed a bill to modernize the state’s archaic personnel system. The bipartisan House Bill 1321, sponsored by Reps. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, and Glenn Vaad, R-Mead, and Sens. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs, and Mike Johnston, D-Denver, establishes a merit-based pay system to replace the current pay-for-performance system created more than a decade ago.

2012 Legislative Wrap-up

CUT disheartened by $19 billion bipartisan state budget

The Colorado Statesman

The Colorado Union of Taxpayers, or CUT, gave the legislature an “F” this year for passing one of the largest budgets in recent years.

The organization, which advocates for limited government and low taxes, said the $19 billion budget that passed with historic bipartisan support is “disheartening while Colorado citizens are reeling from a depressed economy and their incomes have not kept pace with such increases.”

“As citizens must tighten their belts, they ask, ‘Where are the spending cuts from government?’” said Marty Neilson, president of CUT.

2012 Legislative Wrap-up

Lawmakers prescribe antidotes to health care bureaucracy

The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed more than a dozen bills this year addressing health concerns in Colorado.

House Bill 1281, sponsored by Reps. Dave Young, D-Greeley, and Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, and Sens. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, and Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, authorizes a pilot project with the goal of reforming how the state pays for Medicaid services. The legislation was considered a centerpiece of health-related legislative actions for both parties. It was signed on June 4.

2012 Legislative Wrap-up

Planned Parenthood cites 2012 ‘champs’ and ‘chumps’

The Colorado Statesman

Reflecting a national debate on whether there is a “war on women,” Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has released its Colorado legislative scorecard for the year, evaluating lawmakers and policy based on reproductive health care issues.

Through its lobbying organization, Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado, the organization has designated “champs” and “chumps” from the 2012 legislative session, mostly focused on bills that they believe would have taken away a woman’s right to choose.

2012 Legislative Wrap-up

AARP pleased with increases in benefits for the elderly

The Colorado Statesman

An increase in health care benefits for seniors was the big accomplishment for the elderly at the legislature this year, according to an end-of-session report by AARP Colorado.

2012 Legislative Wrap-up

Health care, safety issues considered by Women’s Lobby

The Colorado Statesman

The Women’s Lobby of Colorado released its fourth annual legislative scorecard for the 2012 session, reflecting women’s health care and safety issues in the state.

The organization based its ratings on issues that seek to provide better opportunities for women in Colorado through “gender equity and justice.”

In addition to providing transparency to its members, the Women’s Lobby of Colorado wants the scorecard to inspire voters to call their elected officials to let them know which issues are important to them.

2012 Legislative Wrap-up

Legislators get passing grades on the subject of education

The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislative bills having to do with education that aim to increase intervention and teacher effectiveness, while motivating parental involvement and modernizing the state’s K-12 and higher education systems.

Perhaps the most ambitious of the education bills was House Bill 1238, an early literacy bill sponsored by Reps. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, and Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, and Sens. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, and Nancy Spence, R-Centennial.

2012 Legislative Wrap-up

Jobs, the economy helped focus agenda of conservation

The Colorado Statesman

Colorado Conservation Voters highlighted two major legislative successes this year around electronic waste and electric vehicles, noting that a focus on jobs and the economy helped to advance their agenda, despite a divisive political environment.

The advocacy group for the conservation community released its annual legislative scorecard on July 12, giving the legislature high marks for passing Senate Bill 133 with bipartisan support. The measure, which has been signed by the governor, bans many electronics from landfills.

New redistricting map favors Dems

Republicans still pondering whether to appeal the ruling
The Colorado Statesman

Denver District Court Chief Judge Robert Hyatt late Thursday ruled in favor of a Democratic proposal to redraw Colorado’s seven congressional districts, creating more competitive boundaries that could thrust Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman into a hotly contested race in Congressional District 6, and affect political outcomes for both Republicans and Democrats over the next decade.

Kopp to Senate colleagues:

And here’s what I really think of you

(and visa versa)
The Colorado Statesman

It’s somewhat rare to find Colorado’s typically stalwart Republican senate caucus with their guard let down, but that seemed to be the case Oct. 13 when the GOP state senators met at the Legislature to elect their new leadership team for the 2011-12 year. Minority Leader Sen. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, was stepping down from his leadership post and resigning as a senator entirely so he could spend more time with his four children after the untimely death this summer of their mother and his wife, Kim, from cancer.