Peter Marcus

Legislators feeling a rare Kumbaya moment

But ASSET, civil unions bill could turn session into turmoil
The Colorado Statesman

State lawmakers on Tuesday praised themselves for what they consider to be a bipartisan legislative session filled with compromise, while still bracing for what is expected to be bitter fights in the next month over providing discounted tuition rates to undocumented students and recognizing civil unions between same-sex couples.

Fetal homicide bill clings to life in committee

'Personhood' raised in bill
The Colorado Statesman

A measure that would offer prosecutors a tool in charging suspects with the same violent crimes against both a pregnant mother and her unborn child is still alive, albeit on life support.

Bipartisan bill to reform 'direct file' clears Senate

The Colorado Statesman

A measure that would require a court hearing before prosecuting youth defendants as adults inspired emotional debate on the Senate floor Wednesday, drawing a clear line between lawmakers who have placed their faith in the honorable discretion of district attorneys, and those who believe safeguards need to be in place to avoid the potential for abuse.

'Obamacare' debate embroils lawmakers

High court dispute lands state officials center stage
The Colorado Statesman

Members of Colorado’s congressional delegation from both sides of the aisle and Republican Attorney General John Suthers scored sought-after seats this week at the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic hearings on President Barack Obama’s federal health care law, listening in as the high court weighed questions that could lead to overturning the controversial reforms.

The issues being debated by the court highlight the larger, highly politicized concerns surrounding the most sweeping and dramatic health care policy overhaul the nation has seen in four decades.

Rosy budget curbs Homestead tax battle

The Colorado Statesman

The most anticipated partisan fight of the legislative session — over reinstating a property tax break for senior homeowners — seemingly came to an end Monday before it ever truly began.

During a presentation to the powerful Joint Budget Committee, staff director John Ziegler informed committee members that even after paying for the $98.5 million annual Senior Homestead Exemption, there will likely be $199.8 million left over in the 2012-13 fiscal year budget to avoid planned cuts, including to areas like education.

Swalm leads charge to audit Fastracks as RTD approves northwest hybrid plan

The Colorado Statesman

The Legislative Audit Committee on Tuesday unanimously backed a request to begin the preliminary stages of an audit of the Regional Transportation District’s FasTracks expansion project in preparation for a likely ballot question asking metro-area voters to approve a sales tax increase to bail the project out of a more than $2 billion budget shortfall.

Rep. Spencer Swalm, R-Centennial, requested the audit, concerned that RTD’s own estimates, claims and assumptions might be “vulnerable to yielding false or inaccurate results.”

Jerry Kopel, a “legislator’s legislator,” remembered fondly by his colleagues

The Colorado Statesman

Current and former state lawmakers took to the microphone in the House chambers on Wednesday to celebrate the life of the “legislator’s legislator.”

Former Rep. Jerry Kopel, a Democrat from Denver who served a remarkable 22 years in the Legislature, passed away at age 83 on Jan. 21. He was remembered Wednesday for not only his service as a state representative, but also for his service after he retired in 1992, volunteering more than 15 years of legislative insight, including meticulously reading through every word of every bill that made its way through the halls of the Gold Dome.

More state revenue, more debate about budget cuts

The Colorado Statesman

Republicans on Monday said they remain set on fully restoring a property tax break for seniors related to the 2012-13 fiscal year budget, even in the face of Democrats saying they are open to restoring as much of the Senior Homestead Exemption as possible.

Bill to criminalize deceptive voting practices dies

The Colorado Statesman

Lawmakers on Tuesday killed legislation that would have made deceptive voting practices in Colorado punishable by a prison sentence, though many of the legislators on the House committee still acknowledged the unsavory practice and called for increased oversight that could lead to prosecutions under existing law.

Telecom reform bill introduced at Legislature

Centurylink opposes phase-out of rural service provider subsidy
The Colorado Statesman

Telecommunications providers in Colorado are at odds over whether lawmakers should disconnect a piece of legislation that would bring the most significant pricing and regulatory updates to the industry in over two decades.