Legislative News

Legislators try to map out redistricting plan

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Legislative efforts to change the guidelines to the courts when they have to redraw congressional district boundaries in the future are nearing finality, after passage of House Bill 1408 in the House and in its assigned Senate committee this week. Debate over the bill drew accusations of liberal bias and judicial activism from Republicans, with Democrats charging that they only intended to undo what was done in 2003 and 2004.

Partisan battles expected over campaign disclosure bill

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

A bill to require corporations and labor unions to disclose their independent expenditures related to political communications cleared the Senate and will be on the House calendar during the last three days of the 2010 legislative session. But its passage last Friday indicates it will likely fuel partisan battles in the House this week.

Payday reform bill hits pay dirt - but not until it's muddied up with amendments

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The second attempt by Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, to end the cycle of debt created with payday loans is now on its way to the desk of Gov. Bill Ritter.

Redistricting rears its ugly head

House committee seeks to undo 'midnight gerrymander'

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The effort to redraw Colorado’s congressional district boundaries in 2011 took its first step forward this week, after the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee gave its approval to a bill that could give direction to the courts if they need to step in, and the House passed it on second reading on Thursday.

Looking for transparency in campaigns

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

In the wake of the January Citizens United v. FEC decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, two Democratic lawmakers hope legislation introduced this week will put some transparency into corporation or labor union contributions used for electioneering communications.

Senate committee hashes out medical marijuana bill

By Ernest Luning
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

A Colorado Senate committee grudgingly approved a bill to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries after more than eight hours of testimony that stretched nearly until midnight Tuesday. Noting that only a few witnesses supported the bill out of more than 100 who testified, lawmakers said House Bill 1284 needs some serious repair before it would win their final support.

Conditions set on tuition flexibility bill

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The Senate Education Committee this week took up SB 10-003, the tuition and fiscal rules flexibility bill for higher education that has been awaiting action since the first day of the 2010 session.

Education bill passes committee

By Anthony Bowe
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

A controversial bill that would alter teacher tenure laws to match a new evaluation system linking student growth to teacher performance cleared its first hurdle Friday. The Senate Education Committee voted 7-1 to send Senate Bill 191, sponsored by Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver, and Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, to the senate floor for further debate. Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, a former teacher and member of the Colorado Board of Education, was the only committee member to vote against the legislation. Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver also expressed substantial concern with the bill’s content even though he cast an affirmative vote.

An unlikely coalition for Clean Air Act

A lesson in political bipartisanship and coalition building

By Anthony Bowe
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Gov. Bill Ritter capped a brief but intense lobbying fight Monday when he signed the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act into law, catapulting natural gas as a future priority in Colorado.

Tuition flexibility bill for higher ed is on its way

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

A looming $1.7 billion budget shortfall for 2011-12 has prompted legislators and public college and university presidents to work out what they hope is enough financial flexibility to keep the state’s higher ed institutions open. The new bill, to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on April 28, represents a fundamental shift in who pays for public higher education in Colorado.