Legislative News

GOP ambushes Apuan at Springs bill signing

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

COLORADO SPRINGS — As rays of afternoon sun rippled across the Carnegie Room of the Penrose Library, Gov. Bill Ritter was buoyant as he signed bills sponsored by local Democrats Sen. John Morse and representatives Michael Merrifield and Dennis Apuan.

Dems hail progress, GOP decries taxes

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The 2009 legislative session offered large budget cuts, new fees and a whole lot of political wrangling. And, when it was over, both parties produced completely predictable reactions.

The Republicans talked about failed leadership, missed opportunities and a Democrat-controlled Legislature that was willing to “tax and spend” its way out of troubled economic times.

Health care fares 'well' amid budget cuts

By Richard Haugh
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Lawmakers dealing with shortfalls approaching $1 billion and a long line of interest groups looking for funding generally spared health care interests from the budget ax wielded so frequently during the 67th session of the Colorado General Assembly.

Compared with higher education and transportation, health care fared well. This year, however, “well” is a relative term. Few new programs were created, and those that were received modest funding.

Budget frenzy finally produces signed Long Bill

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Whew! It’s over! Finally!

Well, kind of.

After one of the most difficult budget-balancing acts in legislative memory, Gov. Bill Ritter penned the Long Bill into law last week. Ritter’s signature ends four months of frenzied discussion, massive cuts to state programs, repeals of tax exemptions and bitter disagreements on the best way to slice $1.4 billion from the collective 2008-’09 and 2009-’10 state budgets.

GOP ploy nearly sinks SB 228

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The controversial effort to repeal Colorado’s revered General Fund spending limit, known as Arveschoug-Bird, was almost killed by House Republicans Monday. The effort, many later said, was the best political gamesmanship under the dome in years.

Dem freshman Senators wish they could reform health care

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Being a freshman isn’t easy.

It takes a while to learn to handle the constant pressure from lobbyists, constituents and elder party members and to master the myriad of rules and procedures at the Capitol.

But that doesn’t mean freshmen can’t get important legislation passed.

Hoping to tout their records as first-termers, the freshman class of the Democratic caucus met with reporters on the Senate floor Monday afternoon to reflect on their first session in the upper chamber.

Legislators make last push for 'green finish line'

By Elizabeth Stortroen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The wind blew softly and the sun shone brightly on Wednesday afternoon, offering the perfect setting for members of the Legislature, Environment Colorado and other advocates of the renewable energy industry to make a last-minute push to put environmentally sound legislation over the green finish line.

Provider fee law sparks optimism on health care

By Richard Haugh
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Colorado has joined 23 other states that assess fees on hospitals in order to boost funds available to pay for Medicaid services.

Long Bill slithers through House

...Stalls in Senate

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

It’s never easy to get the Long Bill through the Legislature, and this year it seems harder than ever.

As in previous years, each lawmaker and caucus has different priorities. This year, however, the need for massive cuts in the face of a massive deficit has made the budgeting process particularly painful. But pain can lead to bipartisan compromise — at least in the House.

Senate ponders the meaning of 're-Brucing'

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

School districts that choose to “re-Bruce” — lower their property taxes by reinstating the limits in the Taxpayers Bill of Rights — could see less state funding if a bill introduced at the tail end of the legislative session this week gains approval.