Legislative News

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.

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.