Legislative News

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.

Health Care Affordability Act dodges GOP bullets

By Richard Haugh
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Despite a barrage of Republican attempts to amend it, a bill aimed at boosting state Medicaid funding by assessing a fee on hospitals will go to the Senate.

House Bill 1293, the Health Care Affordability Act of 2009, sponsored by Reps. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley, and Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, and by Sen. Moe Keller, D-Wheat Ridge, passed the House March 25 and goes to the Senate for consideration.

Single-payer health insurance takes small step on legislative ladder

By Richard Haugh
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

An ambitious bill to create a system to provide health care coverage for all Coloradans took a step forward last Wednesday.

Following a nearly seven-hour hearing on March 18, the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee approved House Bill 1273, sponsored by Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, on a 5-4 vote. The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.

6 percent limit heads to House

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

With one Senate-sized hurdle out of the way, Senate Bill 228 is headed to the House.

If passed, the legislation, sponsored by Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, would repeal the Arveschoug-Bird limit, a 1991 legislative provision that allows the state’s General Fund to grow by only 6 percent each year.

GOP frets as Dems push provider fee bill

By Richard Haugh
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

A proposal to generate $1.2 billion in additional funding for Colorado’s Medicaid program by assessing a fee on hospitals has passed two committees and is on its way back to the House Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

HB 1243 would OK limited HMO coverage

By Richard Haugh
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

An amended bill allowing health maintenance organizations to sell limited-benefit health plans was approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee March 12 and sent to the full Senate.

House Bill 1243, sponsored by Rep. Spencer Swalm, R-Centennial, and Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, would authorize HMOs to sell the limited-benefit plans to uninsured Coloradans who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid.

New Mexico power plant fouls Colorado air

By Kathrine Warren
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Colorado lawmakers are asking federal agencies to regulate emissions coming from a northern New Mexico power plant that is one of the nation’s largest.

According to 2006 Environmental Protection Agency research, the Four Corners Power Plant is the largest single source of nitrogen oxide in the United States.

Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, and Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, have been working on the problem with New Mexico lawmakers. But, as Isgar pointed out, it’s complicated.

Lawmakers horse around on ride to Expo

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

For two hours last week, nearly 30 lawmakers saddled up and took a bipartisan ride down history’s dusty trail.

Taking a stand for early childhood education

Teachers, parents, children, and several prominent business leaders gathered at the Capitol last week to rally support for early childhood education. Children covered the West steps of the Capitol, smiling, laughing and chanting along with local childcare providers — “ECE [early childhood education] is important to me!”

Dems happy, GOP sad

The midterm wrap-up

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The legislative session is more than halfway finished, and the Democrats (majority) are touting their policy success while the Republicans (minority) are complaining about the lack of bipartisanship under the Dome.

It’s another year at the state Legislature.