Legislative News

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.

Money-starved JBC eyes Pinnacol’s fortune

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The hands of the Joint Budget Committee are tied.

With Colorado facing a $1.4 billion budget shortfall, the JBC announced last week that higher education could see $423 million in budget cuts in the 2009-2010 budget year. The cuts could force the closure of at least nine of the state’s community and junior colleges and devastate the rest of the system.

DeGette upbeat on health care reform

By Richard Haugh
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

A major health care reform bill probably will pass Congress by August, said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-CD 1. But the bill isn’t likely to establish a single-payer system run by the federal government, the Denver congresswoman said.

Panel nixes 'value' health insurance

By Richard Haugh
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

A panel created by Gov. Bill Ritter last year concluded that this probably isn’t the right time for Colorado to create a new health insurance program subsidizing the uninsured.

House and Senate Health and Human Services committees met jointly April 2 to hear the panel’s findings. The report was required under the legislation introduced by former Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, in the Senate late in last year’s session.

Signs predict Kagan win

By Janet Simons
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Maybe it was the posters.

As we searched to discover the political factors that played into Daniel Kagan’s victory in the vacancy election to replace departing Anne McGihon as state representative for House District 3, the posters leapt to mind.

Panel OK’s bill to help schools 'go green'

By Elizabeth Stortroen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Renewable energy seems to be all the buzz at the Statehouse this session, as lawmakers offer bills designed to do everything from creating training programs for the “new energy economy” to requiring homebuilders to offer prospective homebuyers a solar-power option.

Panel OK's School Finance Act

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The bipartisan wheels are turning fast in an effort to race a new School Finance Act through the Senate this week.

After being introduced Monday, Senate Bill 256 gained a favorable 8-0 vote in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday and is expected to pass the full Senate by week’s end.

Immigrant tuition bill sneaks out of panel

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

Early Wednesday morning, Senate Democrats, led by Abel Tapia, of Pueblo, and Chris Romer, of Denver, pushed Senate Bill 170, which would allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public universities and colleges. Democrats hold a 6-4 majority on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where the bill has been sitting for weeks. However, Sen. Moe Keller, D-Wheat Ridge, doesn’t support the legislation, and the Democrats had been stalling a vote out of fear of a tie, which would kill it.

Jig is up for GOP on oil-rig rules

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The Republicans are running out of options in their attempt to stop implementation of the state’s new proposed rules and regulations for the growing oil and gas industry.

The rules gained initial approval by the full Senate Tuesday, despite strong objection by Republicans, and now await a third reading before heading to Gov. Bill Ritter’s desk to be signed into law.

The vote on Tuesday, like many in this year, split on a straight party line, with 21 in favor, 13 against and 1 excused.