Marianne Goodland

Wage Battle Begins

Minimum wage hike not expected to pass this session
The Colorado Statesman

Democrats this week began what is likely to be a multi-year effort to persuade fellow lawmakers and the public to support a hike in the minimum wage.

Monday, supporters held a rally on the west steps of the state Capitol, with a crowd numbering well over 250, to show support for two measures scheduled for hearing later that day.

House Concurrent Resolution 15-1001 seeks to raise Colorado’s current minimum wage of $8.23 per hour to $9.50 per hour, starting Jan. 1, 2017. The minimum wage would increase annually until it reaches $12.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2020.

Tears, cheers as mascot bill passes committee

The Colorado Statesman

Some who wept in sorrow, later cheered in joy.

An attempt to persuade Colorado schools from using American Indian images as mascots got through a tumultuous hearing Monday, sparked by tears from some who recounted the abuses suffered by American Indians, and the two-hour absence of a lawmaker who walked out after a presentation by the sponsors didn’t go as planned.

Joint Budget Committee debuting state budget Friday

The Colorado Statesman

The 2015-16 state budget, under a divided General Assembly and equally divided Joint Budget Committee, is scheduled to debut on Friday

With a divided legislature, it was certain that no one would get everything they wanted. “This was a difficult balancing act, but we did it with bipartisan support,” according to Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley. “We have a balanced budget that lives within our means and within our budgetary constraints.”

Federal water bill bites the dust, again

The Colorado Statesman

A bill that has enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the House for the past two years got a very different response recently, and Republicans are crying foul.

Senate Bill 15-064 is the third in a three-year effort to tell the federal government that they do not have the right to demand water rights from ski resorts in exchange for renewing their leases for federal lands.

TABOR refund likely to go to voters

The Colorado Statesman

Budget writers this week finished their work on the annual state budget and turned their attention to what to do about a $58 million projected TABOR refund.

Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, took the lead on coming up with a proposal for the Joint Budget Committee on Wednesday.

The $58 million refund was triggered by tax revenue received by the state through excise and sales taxes on marijuana, and which pushed the state over its allowable TABOR revenue cap.

Photo: Hickenlooper signs legislature's biggest microscopic issue

The Colorado Statesman
Gov. John Hickenlooper gets close and personal with a jar of microbeads, brought to him by House Bill 15-1144 sponsor Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora. Hickenlooper signed HB 1144 into law on March 26.

Photo of the Day

The Colorado Statesman
Rico Turner, 6, of Denver was among more than 250 people at a rally outside Colorado's State Capitol today to show support for raising the minimum wage in the state.

Construction defects clears first hurdle

The Colorado Statesman

After some delay, Senate committees this week finally debated two bills that seek to make the state’s construction defects law more industry-friendly. The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, on a 3-2 party-line vote, approved Senate Bill 15-091 on Monday. The Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee, on a 6-2 vote, passed SB 177 on Wednesday.

Lawmakers cut deal cut on illegal immigrant drivers license funding

The Colorado Statesman

The Joint Budget Committee on Wednesday reached a compromise on a 2014-15 spending bill that would allow the state Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to clear off a backlog of requests for driver’s licenses from people in the country illegally.
The supplemental bill has been on the legislative docket for more than six weeks, an unusually long time for a bill that seeks to finish out the spending year for a state agency.

But Senate Bill 15-161 was controversial even before it was introduced.

Colo. Ag Day big hit under Gold Dome, promoting industry and philanthropy

The Colorado Statesman

Perhaps the most popular Capitol event of the session, Colorado Ag Day, did not disappoint hundreds of hungry legislators, staffers and Capitol visitors on Wednesday.

The fourth annual Farm to Fork competition, which highlights Colorado agricultural products, took place on Wednesday, and is sponsored by the Colorado Chefs Association. This year’s competition showed off dishes made with Colorado bison, lamb, bass, beef, eggs, potatoes and desserts, and fed long lines of those eager to sample Colorado cuisine at its best.