Current News

Hospital Provider fee bill dies, but it’ll be back

The Colorado Statesman

A late-session priority for Gov. John Hickenlooper fell by the wayside Tuesday.

The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee Tuesday put an end to a bill the governor had hoped would help provide financial space for the state under the TABOR revenue cap.

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.

Felony DUI law finally within sight

The Colorado Statesman

After several failures in recent years, an effort to create a felony drunken-driving charge in Colorado is finally on its way to becoming law.

But House Bill 1043 comes with a price tag that will only increase in the coming years, which could impact future legislative priorities, warns a key budget lawmaker.

The bill would create a felony for drivers who receive their fourth DUI conviction. Current law counts a DUI as a misdemeanor, regardless of how many offenses a driver racks up.

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.

Effort to create fetal homicide law fails

The Colorado Statesman

Democrats fought off a Republican-led effort to create a murder charge for the killing of an unborn child during a May 4 House committee hearing, ending a partisan Capitol debate that often centered around abortion.

The Democrat-majority House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee rejected Senate Bill 268 on a party-line vote. The bill had previously emerged from the Republican-majority Senate, also along party lines.

The measure would have allowed prosecutors to file charges that include murder in cases where pregnant women are attacked.

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.

Senate approves pair of marijuana testing bills

The Colorado Statesman

The Senate Thursday morning approved two bills that would streamline the testing process for marijuana in the state.

Lawmakers approved House Bill 15-1283 on second reading in a voice vote. The bill would require the department of public health and environment to establish a reference library that serves as a guidepost for all marijuana testing in the state by the end of the year.

Women gather to support ‘Strong Sisters’

The Colorado Statesman

More than 100 women gathered in Denver on Monday to watch a preview of Strong Sisters, a documentary about women in Colorado politics, and help raise money to finish the film.

“It’s about something we all should be telling our daughters and granddaughters about,” said former House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument, introducing filmmakers Meg Froelich and Laura Hoeppner at a luncheon she organized at the Artwork Network gallery in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe.

The work of Mental Health America of Colorado is personal for Andrew Romanoff

The Colorado Statesman

Former four-term State Representative and two-term Speaker of the House, Andrew Romanoff, took over the helm of Mental Health America of Colorado this month. As its new president and CEO, Romanoff will steer MHAC’s efforts to make Colorado a national leader in addressing mental health disorders and its movement to end the stigma of mental illness. In an interview with Catherine Strode, he explains how the battle against the stigma of mental illness has become a personal one for him, and, for his family.

CS: Where do you draw your passion for mental health issues?