State House Update

By Christopher Kolomitz

The Colorado legislative has passed the halfway point and session ends May 7. Lawmakers haven’t been as controversial as last year and they’ve made some bipartisan headway on flood relief, fire mitigation efforts and business stimulation.

For the upcoming second half of the session, look for plenty of debate regarding state finances and the budget, especially as it relates to education, lawmakers have said. A March economic and revenue forecast indicates lawmakers will have $924.3 million more to spend in the general fund during FY 2013-14 than the amount budgeted for FY 2012-13. The report indicated the state’s economy is growing and easing into a more stable period.


Political News and Notes

• Watch for upcoming House debate on a bill that would phase out the sale of low-efficiency plumbing fixtures like shower heads and toilets. On another water issue, Sen. Gail Schwartz is proposing legislative approval of a statewide water plan now under development.

• State senators will consider creating a Medina Alert program, which will alert residents if a serious hit-and-run occurs and law enforcement needs assistance locating the vehicle.

• A bill to make it harder to not vaccinate students is working its way through the House. The bill would require parents looking to opt out of the vaccines to watch a video discussing risks and benefits of immunization.

• U.S. Senators will consider a measure prohibiting the requirements of transferring previously acquired private waters rights to the federal government as part of the permitting process to use federal property. The bill, offered by Rep. Scott Tipton, was earlier approved by House members and has major implications to the ski industry.

• It was a quick in and out of the 3rd Congressional District race for Pueblo County Commissioner Buffie McFadyen. The seat is held by Tipton and is eyed as a potential pickup for the Democrats who are now looking for a viable candidate after McFadyen entered the race in late February and then withdrew March 17.

• The race for governor and the U.S. Senate is finally shaping up after some moves by Republicans to get their candidates in order. Bob Beauprez entered the Republican race for governor to join Tom Tancredo, Scott Gessler, Greg Brophy and Mike Kopp. U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner will run for U.S. Senate after ending his re-election bid for his U.S. House seat. Ken Buck, who was running for Senate, will now run for Gardner’s seat.

• U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, who represents the 5th Congressional District, apparently toured the rebuilding efforts at the Royal Gorge on March 18, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. It’s notable because the Republican is rarely seen at public events in the region.