Legislative News

Bill promoting parental involvement in education draws little flak in committee

By Elizabeth Stortroen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Senate Bill 90, designed to increase the involvement of parents in the public education of their children, passed out of the House Education Committee Monday on a 10-to-2 bipartisan vote and seems destined for the governor’s desk.

SB 90 would require a specific percentage of parental representation on new school accountability committees, which would be representative of each district’s demographics.

Sun shines as Ritter signs renewable energy act

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

On Earth Day in Civic Center Park, under the bright Colorado blue sky, Gov. Bill Ritter signed into law the Renewable Energy Finance Act, which offers residents and utility companies financial incentives to install solar electric systems.

Mom was right; need to go outside and play

By Kathrine Warren
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

In a world of 24/7 scheduling and schools that scrimp on recess in favor of study time, children are spending less and less time jumping rope and riding tricycles up and down the sidewalks in front of their houses.

And Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien has her work cut out for her.

As part of a national movement for a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, she’s asking the public to suggest new ways to encourage children to go outside and play.

Malpractice bill emerges toothless from House

By Richard Haugh
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

For the second time in two years, it appears efforts to revise Colorado’s medical malpractice law have been thwarted.

House Bill 1344, sponsored by Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon, and Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, would have raised the cap on payments for pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits to roughly $465,000 and then indexed those payments to inflation.

House passes budget without Pinnacol raid

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The Pinnacol plan is dead, but even without taking $500 million from its reserves, Colorado House members found a way to pass a bipartisan balanced budget Thursday afternoon on second reading.

Shaffer’s new Senate Prez

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Sometimes the transfer of power is easy.

After Senate President Peter Groff, D-Denver, announced he was accepting a position in the Department of Education working for the Obama administration, a number of names for his replacement began to float through the Capitol.

Candidates already lining up for Groff’s SD 33 seat

By Janet Simons
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

With the election of Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, to replace Peter Groff as president of the Colorado Senate when the Legislature reconvenes in January, the political focus now shifts to filling the vacancy Groff leaves in Senate District 33, which includes northeastern Denver, Montbello and Green Valley Ranch.

Six candidates have emerged so far, and vacancy committee chairman Chris Martinez thinks that might be everyone.

Malpractice cap haunts Legislature’s final weeks

By Richard Haugh
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

As the 2009 legislative session winds down, lawmakers are facing a ghost from the past in the form of a proposed overhaul of the state’s medical malpractice law.

House Bill 1344, introduced April 9 by Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon, and Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, would raise the cap on medical malpractice awards for pain and suffering — known as noneconomic damages — to differentiate them from direct costs such as medical bills, tying the cap to inflation.

Earth Day resonates throughout Colorado

By Elizabeth Stortroen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

At age 39, Earth Day seems to be reaching its prime. The once-counterculture event celebrated on April 22 is now only a small marker of the omnipresent, Obama-administration-funded “New Energy Economy” — and it’s everywhere.

On March 28, nearly a month before the Big Day, Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, led the first official Colorado observance of Earth Hour, a global action against climate change that began in Australia in 2007, and is observed on the last Saturday of March.

Tuition bill’s death burdens Romer, Groff

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Watching a bill die is never easy for its sponsor.

After a long, emotional debate on the Senate floor Monday over whether to grant in-state tuition to undocumented graduates of Colorado high schools, five Democrats joined a united Republican Party to defeat Senate Bill 170, sponsored by Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver. The vote destroyed the dreams of hundreds of undocumented students who had hoped to attend college next year but are now unsure if they can afford it.