2015 Colorado legislation: First day recap

Sunrise Black Canyon via Bob Berwyn
Sunrise Black Canyon via Bob Berwyn

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Charles Ashby):

Lawmakers introduced more than 100 bills on the first day of the 2015 session, including some that are sure to rankle lawmakers on both sides of the political divide.

Republicans, who have more authority in this year’s session with control of the Senate and a narrower margin in the House, have introduced several measures approved by Democratic-led legislatures of the recent past, including several controversial gun laws.

In the House, Rep. Steven Humphrey, R-Severance, introduced a measure to repeal a new law that limited to 15 the number of rounds in firearms magazines.

While there are enough votes in the Senate and House to get such a ban repealed, newly named House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, has made it clear she won’t let that happen.

As a result, she assigned the measure, HB1009 to the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee, which is expected to kill it. Other similar bills, however, are sure to be introduced in the Senate, where such a measure is expected to get more favorable treatment.

In a related effort, Rep. Janak Joshi, R-Colorado Springs, introduced a bill to repeal the universal background check law before purchasing a firearm. That measure, too, was sent to the House State Affairs Committee, which includes enough Democratic lawmakers who supported both gun measures to kill both repeal bills.

In the Senate, Sen. Vickie Marble, R-Fort Collins, introduced SB32, which would do away with concealed-carry permits and allow anyone who is legally allowed to own a firearm to carry it concealed.

Meanwhile, local lawmakers Sen. Ray Scott and Rep. Dan Thurlow have introduced a bill to roll back the state’s renewable energy standards for utility and rural electric cooperatives.

Under current law, investor-owned utilities, such as Xcel Energy, are required to generate 30 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and REAs face a 20 percent standard by that same year.

But under SB44, the two Grand Junction Republicans are proposing reducing all the mandates to 15 percent.

While the bill could clear the Senate, it isn’t expected to survive the Colorado House.

Other measures introduced on opening day include:

■ HB1027, which would require all colleges and universities in the state to provide in-state tuition to anyone who is a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe whether they are Colorado residents or not.

■ HB1031, which would ban the use, possession, sale or purchase of powdered alcohol.

■ HB1037, which would prohibit a college or university from denying religious student groups any benefit that is available to nonreligious groups.

■ HB1041would ban all abortions except those that are intended to protect the life of the mother.

■ HB1043 would make it a felony for three or more convictions of driving under the influence of alcohol.

■ SB18 would repeal a 2009 law that imposed late fees on registering vehicles.

■ SB19 would allow the state auditor to perform routine audits of the state’s health benefit exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s response to the federal Affordable Care Act.

More 2015 Colorado legislation coverage here.

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