Legislative News

More money for education means more fights

The Colorado Statesman

Lawmakers are learning the hard lessons of funding an education budget in a year when there is more money to go around. Fights are already underway between educators, administrators and legislators over how to reduce the so-called “negative factor” before enacting additional mandates on teachers and districts.

Lawmakers on Tuesday formally introduced what is being called the Student Success Act, or House Bill 1292, a bipartisan effort that would address some of the fallout from the failure of Amendment 66 this past November.

Coffman, Romanoff rally supporters in highly competitive CD 6 race

The Colorado Statesman

The two candidates in what some observers have already pegged the most competitive congressional race in the country this year — and likely the most expensive — encouraged supporters and previewed their campaigns at rallies last weekend in Aurora.

Oil and gas regulation fracturing relationships

The Colorado Statesman

The pressure is building for the state to offer local governments control over regulating oil and gas development, fracturing relations between state leaders and the local governments and activists they represent.

At least 50 elected officials have sent a letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, encouraging him to take action in order to grant local governments control over oil and gas regulation, including the ability to ban the controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing.

Bennet, immigration panel discusses cross-border reforms at CELL event

Democrats and Republicans are frustrated over the issue
The Colorado Statesman

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet joined a panel of immigration policy experts Tuesday evening to discuss cross-border reform. The discussion was hosted by the Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab and moderated by former Gov. Bill Ritter.

Bennet, a Democrat, expressed his frustration with a U.S. House that has failed to move forward a proposal he spearheaded for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.

Left, right in agreement on state testing

The Colorado Statesman

Education policy can lead to strange bedfellows. Several school policy debates playing out at the legislature this year have brought an alignment between the left and the right, offering hope that there is a middle road when it comes to education reform.

The most recent example occurred Monday in the House Education Committee when Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, brought a bill that would allow certain districts to opt out of mandated tests for all but third, eighth and 10th grades, and the ACT tests in 11th grade.

Will hearings lead to clean air... or hot air?

The Colorado Statesman

Hearings kicked off this week for air quality rulemaking that would make Colorado the first state to regulate detection and reduction of methane emissions by the oil and gas industry.

The plan — touted by Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat — aims to capture 95 percent of emissions by requiring expedited inspections for leak detection and repair, as well as controls on storage tanks and other emissions sources. The target is on hydrocarbons, including both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and methane.

GOP candidates for guv attack Hick and absent front-runners

The Colorado Statesman

Four of Colorado’s Republican gubernatorial hopefuls took turns attacking Democratic incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday at a debate in Denver but also heaped criticism on the two GOP front-runners, who have so far declined to participate in debates they say will only sow division among Republicans.

Legislators gun down efforts to repeal last year’s gun bills

The Colorado Statesman

It was a tough week for Republicans and gun rights activists as they watched several of their efforts to roll back gun control backfire. A gaffe by one Senate Republican made national headlines, while interest waned on attending legislative hearings seeking to expand gun rights.

The legislature this week heard two separate measures seeking to repeal a law backed by Democrats last year that banned high-capacity ammunition magazines, while also debating another measure that sought to give school districts the right to arm teachers.

Detractors form road block to US 36 toll road proposal

FasTracks, other transportation projects aren’t on such a fast track
The Colorado Statesman

Funding the state’s transportation system has long been a controversial issue. Facing shortfalls, state transportation officials and local governments are examining ways to creatively fill a $770 million gap, including tolling and gas and vehicle mileage-based taxes.

But convincing voters to raise revenues for roads and highways has never been an easy conversation; taxpayers have never appeared hungry for an increase.

Election bill likely to get swift signing

HB 1164 deals with residency requirements; GOP lambasts it
The Colorado Statesman

The longest floor debates of the legislative year have revolved around a controversial measure that aims to fix problems revealed by a Democratic-backed election law passed last year that some Republicans equate to “Stalin-like” policy.

The multiple hours of debate have offered Republicans an opportunity to lambast last year’s House Bill 1303, suggesting that the measure was so flawed that Democrats must now come back with a “fix it” bill this year.

Last year’s law permitted same-day voter registration and required that all voters receive a mail ballot.