Marianne Goodland

Anti-discrimination bill roils up small businesses

The Colorado Statesman

Small business owners and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) are pinning their last best hope on killing an anti-discrimination bill with Gov. John Hickenlooper. But the bill’s Senate sponsor believes otherwise.

On Tuesday, Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director for NFIB, assembled several small business owners and legislators to make his case for a veto on House Bill 13-1136. The bill removes an exemption from discrimination lawsuits for businesses with 15 or fewer employees. HB 1136 was sent to the governor last Friday.

Water issues flow in this year’s legislative stream

The Colorado Statesman

The 2013 legislative session has been the busiest in recent years on the issue of water, particularly on how the state can conserve in a time of drought.

The work for the 2013 legislators began last summer, with the annual interim water resources review committee. The group of 10 legislators traveled the state last summer and fall, hearing about water conservation and legal issues on water rights. The end result was a recommendation for eight measures for 2013: two joint resolutions and six bills. Three other proposed bills were not approved by the entire com-mittee, but members of the committee sponsored two of those bills anyway.

U.S. Forest Service faces watered-down directive from General Assembly on water rights of ski areas

The Colorado Statesman

In its waning days, the General Assembly is preparing to tell the U.S. Forest Service “hands off” on the water rights held by Colorado’s 22 ski areas. However, the measures introduced to do that have been substantially watered down in recent weeks.

Quest for online sales tax revenue is ongoing

Legislative bills will address online collection
The Colorado Statesman Sports Department

Next week, the House will take another stab at finding a way to go after the sales and use taxes the state is owed, but can’t collect, from those who purchase goods and services online. At least two, and possibly three bills, all dealing with the issue in different ways, are going to be part of a lengthy hearing in the House Finance Committee on Wednesday, April 24.

New school finance act still to be played out in full House

The Colorado Statesman

Despite more than 28 hours of committee hearings, debates and dozens of amendments, the new school finance act, Senate Bill 13-213, may still have a long way to go.

The bill came out of the Senate on April 7 on a party-line 20-15 vote. On April 15, the bill went through another seven hours of debate in the House Education Committee, which passed it on a 7-6 party-line vote. SB 213 has yet to garner even one Republican vote.

“Shoe” of support for ‘One Day Without Shoes’

The Colorado Statesman

They weren’t making a fashion statement. It also wasn’t an attempt on the day following Tax Day to show that the tax man had taken everything, including their shoes.

Renewables bill fuels big controversy

Rural electric associations, GOP senators, testify against measure
The Colorado Statesman

Legislation to boost the state’s renewable energy standards for certain rural electric utilities is moving through the state Senate this week. But the bill drew howls of protest from the utilities amid concerns it could hike electricity bills for seniors, state facilities and farmers by millions of dollars annually. Friday, the bill was the subject of an eight-hour filibuster, as Senate Republicans tried in vain to garner votes from a few Democrats who might be willing to vote against their Senate President.

Bill would form uniform sales tax base in Colorado

And Jake Jabs’ stress level would go down
The Colorado Statesman

It isn’t often that you see Republicans and Democrats at the state Capitol team up to deal with sales tax issues, but that’s the case with a new bill that seeks to simplify the process for dealing with certain municipal tax districts.

Reps. Kathleen Conti, R-Littleton, and Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills, are the main sponsors of House Bill 13-1288, dubbed the “Establish Statewide Uniform Sales & Use Tax Base” bill.

Legislators learn ABC’s of new school finance act

The Colorado Statesman

The new school finance act, Senate Bill 13-213, survived its first committee hearing last week, but it took three days to do it.

The Senate Education Committee, after 15 hours of hearings stretched over three days, sent SB 213 to the full Senate for debate. Bill sponsor Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver, told The Colorado Statesman he expects the Senate to take up the bill next week, after they finish work on the 2013-14 state budget and a Good Friday recess.

Community colleges strive to expand their access

But to what degree?
The Colorado Statesman

Colorado’s community colleges are seeking permission from the General Assembly to offer four-year bachelor’s degrees, but it’s pitting Democrats in the state Senate against each other, and drawing the kind of opposition from the state’s public universities that one university president likened to a “food fight.”