Legislative News

Legislators haggle over tax exemptions

Package of bills labeled 'Dirty Dozen'

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

This week, the House began to take up a package of 12 bills that would end tax exemptions or change income tax law and help the state cover about $140.7 million in its $1 billion shortfall for 2010-11. But the hearings on Wednesday and competing rallies on Thursday highlighted the friction between Democrats and Republicans at the capitol and between the business community and public employees, such as K-12 teachers.

PERA reform bill passes first test at Capitol

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The Senate Finance Committee Tuesday voted 6-2 to approve Senate Bill 1, the reform plan for the Public Employees’ Retirement Association. The vote came at the end of a five-and-a-half hour hearing that included testimony from dozens of PERA members, both retirees and current state and school employees.

The bill was sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Lawmaker scraps Native American tuition waiver bill

By Jimy Valenti
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Last week amidst a firestorm of political pressure, perceived racial injustice and intense budget bickering, a bill was killed that would have reduced funding for a college that educates hundreds of Native American students.

Legislators fume over Native American mascots

By Cindy Brovsky
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Sen. Suzanne Williams’ proposal that all Colorado primary public schools and charters with Native American mascots get approval from a state commission, change the mascot by 2013 or face a $1,000 monthly fine has riled a northern school district previously embroiled in the issue.

Frangas bill would curb illegal handicap parking

By Cindy Brovsky
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Rep. Jerry Frangas doesn’t have to be a math genius to know something doesn’t add up when it comes to the state’s laws governing handicap parking spaces.

Legislators, Governor honor armed forces

By Jimy Valenti
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Members of the General Assembly met in joint session on Monday in celebration of Military Day. Legislators showed their admiration for those who served with a series of speeches, tributes and resolutions.

Legislators, JBC look for PERA fix

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The Joint Budget Committee has voted to sponsor a budget-balancing bill to increase employee contributions to the Public Employees’ Retirement Association by 2.5 percent for the next two years, and decrease the employer contribution by the same amount. If passed, it would save the state $20.3 million in general fund money per year.

Colorado hopes to Race to the Top for grants

By Anthony Bowe
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Gov. Bill Ritter and a majority of state lawmakers made a last-ditch effort this week to heighten Colorado’s chances of netting a lucrative multi-million federal education grant.

Newbies come to Legislature with eyes wide open

By Jimy Valenti
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Rep. Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland, and Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood, may sit on opposite sides of the aisle, but these freshman legislators came to their first day on the job last week by similar paths — both were elected last year by vacancy committees to fill open seats.

Ferrandino tags bill to cut down on graffiti tools

By Cindy Brovsky
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

When Rep. Mark Ferrandino walks his Southwest Denver neighborhoods, he sees the homes and businesses defaced by graffiti and he hears — loud and clear — the impact on the residents.

“At every community meeting, residents tell me graffiti is a huge problem,” he said.