Peter Marcus

Election bill at forefront of Legislature — again

The Colardo Statesman

Lawmakers this week debated a bill that aims to fix problems revealed by a Democratic-backed election law passed last year. But critics say the measure does not go far enough, and that the only solution is to repeal last year’s House Bill 1303.

The House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Commit-tee on Monday backed House Bill 1164 on a 7-3 Democratic party-line vote. The bill then passed the House on Thursday by a vote of 37-25, with Rep. Jim Wilson, R-Salida, joining Democrats in supporting the measure.

Still a high interest in modifying pot regs

Banning ‘edibles’ and caps on potency could be fodder for bills
The Colorado Statesman

Even as state regulators are first implementing a new marijuana marketplace that took a year to craft, a Republican lawmaker is planning legislation for later in the session that could go as far as to ban cannabis-infused products and concentrates, while setting potency caps.

Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, has pulled a bill title related to marijuana, which he says will become more specific when he is ready to introduce a measure.

Proposal seeks to make Colorado first ‘no-kill’ state

But large animal welfare group says proponents are barking up wrong tree
The Colorado Statesman

Animal welfare issues are scratching their way to the surface this year as voters may be asked to make Colorado the first no-kill state in the nation and lawmakers continue work protecting shelter animals and injured pets.

Grabbing headlines is a ballot proposal that would ask voters to prohibit shelters from euthanizing animals unless they were sick or suffering, according to language submitted to Legislative Council.

Aurora attorney George Brown is spearheading the initiative.

Small firestorm over wildfire legislation

The Colorado Statesman

In the opening days of the legislative session that began on Jan. 8, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said addressing wildfires is not a partisan conversation, but a “Colorado issue.” Just two weeks later, however, both sides fought for the spotlight as they outlined strategies to protect the state.

Republicans planned a news conference for last Friday where they presented their strategies. But just one day before, on Thursday, Democrats announced their own news conference, which Gov. John Hickenlooper joined.

Minority legislators attempt to address issues of inequality

The Colorado Statesman

Black and Latino Democrats this year are planning legislation to address economic disparities between white Coloradans and Coloradans of color.

Their attempt to address inequality comes after controversies this summer in which two Republicans were accused of insensitive remarks and actions during meetings of the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force in August.

Flare-up over rules turns into a political firestorm

Remember pledge for bipartisanship just last week?
The Colorado Statesman

Last week’s pleas for bipartisanship by legislative leaders during opening days of the session quickly faded from reality as a kerfuffle over the introduction of a gun control repeal imploded into a political firestorm.

Senate Republicans accused Democrats of attempting to thwart the democratic process by violating legislative rules in order to delay introduction of a measure that would repeal much of the universal background check law pushed by Democrats last session.

New gun rights group formed to target lawmakers

The Colorado Statesman

A nonprofit advocating for Second Amendment rights has formed to remind lawmakers that they remain a moving target.

Following bitter recalls in which two Senate Democrats have already been recalled from office, and another resigned rather than face a recall election, the Colorado Second Amendment Association was created to build upon the grassroots momentum behind last year’s recall efforts.

LEGISLATIVE BRIEFS

A review of what transpired at the state Capitol this week
The Colorado Statesman

Lawmakers wasted no time this week getting down to business, hearing a slew of controversial bills that run the gamut from repealing the rural renewable energy mandate pushed by Democrats last year to allowing same-sex couples to file joint state income tax returns.

Sen. Ted Harvey’s Senate Bill 35 would have repealed last year’s Senate Bill 252, which increased the rural renewable energy mandate to 20 percent by 2020.

Hickenlooper: ‘Colorado does not shut down’

‘Colorado does not quit. Colorado does not break.’
The Colorado Statesman

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday delivered his annual state of the state, passing over the partisan divides from last year to look ahead at a united future for Colorado. In his address to a joint session of the legislature, he pushed for forward thinking following a year of devastating floods, wildfires and senseless violence that has left the state recovering and searching for a solution.

Bipartisanship is key word on opening day

The Colorado Statesman

Legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle during opening remarks on Wednes-day pleaded with members to exercise bipartisanship following a blistering interim.

In the wake of two successful recalls that ousted Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo for their support of gun control, leaders appeared set on healing open wounds.

A third Senate Democrat, Evie Hudak of Westminster, resigned in November rather than face a painful recall election, thereby preserving the Democratic majority in the Senate by one seat.