Marianne Goodland

Legislators to get pay raise

The Colorado Statesman

While the General Assembly spent much of their last three days killing bills right and left, they did decide to give a pay hike to future legislators, and state and county elected officials.

Currently, Colorado’s lawmakers make $30,000 per year. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Colorado’s pay ranks at about the mid-point for all state legislatures.

Rain barrel bill dies on calendar

The Colorado Statesman

A bill that would have allowed Coloradans to collect rainwater died in the Senate late Tuesday night. But as with many major bills that died in the last three days of the session, this too, will return.

House Bill 15-1259 would allow Coloradans to collect up to two 55-gallon rain barrels of water that drains off their rooftops. The water could then be used for outdoor purposes, such as lawn and garden irrigation.

The bill became the center of one of the last great behind-the-scenes battles of the 2015 legislative session.

Rainbarrel bill revived, but for how long?

The Colorado Statesman

Don’t go buying those rain barrels just yet. A bill to allow Coloradans to collect rainwater got a last-minute reprieve, but anything can happen in the next 24 hours.

Despite the best efforts of its committee chair to delay a vote until Wednesday, the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday voted 6-5 to send House Bill 15-1259 to the Senate floor. Whether it will come up Tuesday evening for a second reading vote, however, is still a big if.

Rainbarrel bill dead for session

The Colorado Statesman

Don’t go buying those rain barrels just yet. Colorado law isn’t going to change this year to allow you to collect rainwater that falls off your roof.

A stubborn Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, is blocking any opportunity for House Bill 15-1259 to get to the Senate for a vote. The bill would allow Coloradans to collect up to two 55-gallon rain barrels of water that drain off their rooftops. The water could then be used for outdoor purposes, such as lawn and garden irrigation.

Condo construction defects discussion at an end

The Colorado Statesman

The 2014 legislative session ended with a whimper, not a bang, on the condo construction defects issue. This year’s session on the same issue will end the same way.

But supporters of the efforts vow they will be back next year.

Last week, Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, assigned the Senate’s major construction defects bill, Senate Bill 15-177, to the House’s “kill” committee, the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. They voted along 6-5 party lines to kill the bill after a five-hour hearing Monday.

Gov’s TABOR plan draws lukewarm reception

The Colorado Statesman

The 2015 legislative session began with Gov. John Hickenlooper touting the state’s economic successes. It may end with him lamenting the economic problems that couldn’t be solved.

Last week, the governor sent lawmakers a letter, suggesting how they could resolve contradictory fiscal laws that limit the state’s ability to fund certain infrastructure priorities.

Sagebrush rebellion rekindled in Colorado

The Colorado Statesman

Colorado’s legislature has jumped into the middle of the West’s renewed Sagebrush rebellion, with the state Senate this week debating whether Colorado should take a bigger hand in managing its federally-owned public lands.

But opponents fear what that would mean for everyone who uses them.

One year ago, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy squared off against agents of the federal Bureau of Land Management. Bundy refused to pay about $1 million in grazing fees for his cattle to graze on public land, fees that had accrued over a 20-year period.

Final budget is on governor's desk

The Colorado Statesman

It’s now up to Gov. John Hickenlooper to give his final say on the 2015-16 state budget.

The $26.4 billion budget, as contained in Senate Bill 15-234, got its final approval from the Senate Friday. The vote was to accept the compromise version proposed by the Joint Budget Committee, acting as the bill’s conference committee. The budget was re-passed on a 31-2 vote, with Sens. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder and Matt Jones, D-Louisville, voting no. The House had voted on the compromise on Thursday, re-passing the bill on a 45-20 vote.

House ‘Coup’ Fails

The Colorado Statesman

House Republicans attempted to challenge the authority of Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, on Wednesday morning. It was a procedural move that long-time Capitol observers said they’d never seen before.

The move came during the reading of the previous day’s House Journal. The Tuesday journal contained the report of the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee from its Monday marathon hearing.

Hullinghorst threatens remodel of defects bill

House could dump SB 177, offer substitute measure
The Colorado Statesman

With the major construction defects reform legislation now in the House, the heat is on the speaker of the House to put the bill into something other than the “kill committee.” And that pressure is mounting from both sides of the aisle.

But the House may turn the whole discussion on its head, by introducing its own bills on affordable housing and construction defects, possibly as soon as next week.