- Associated Press - Sunday, February 23, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Your weekly look at what’s coming up at the Colorado Legislature:


Lawmakers on the House Education Committee hear a bill Monday that create new misdemeanor penalties for cyberbullying that inflict “serious emotional distress on a minor” on social media platforms. People can already face harassment charges for bullying someone with texts or online, but the sponsor of the legislation says having a specific cyberbullying charge will help law enforcement track the frequency of the crime.


People who are too poor to pay municipal court fines are sometimes jailed to fulfill their debt, according to research released last year by the American Civil Liberties Union in Colorado. Democratic lawmakers want to stop the practice with a bill getting its first hearing Tuesday in the House Judiciary Committee. Among other things, the bill would direct municipal courts to inform defendants that they have a right to show evidence of their inability to pay a fine.


Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s decision last year to grant an indefinite stay of execution to a convicted mass murderer gave Republicans an opening to attack the governor on the issue. A bill being heard this week would limit a governor’s authority to grant a reprieve to a death-row inmate. The GOP proposal doesn’t stand a chance to pass a House committee controlled by Democrats. Last month, Democrats rejected another Republican bill that sought to expedite death-penalty cases.


A Senate committee starts work Thursday on a bill to increase regulation on freestanding emergency rooms, clinics that don’t always have relationships with hospitals and turn away patients who can’t afford their services. The bill hearing was originally scheduled for earlier this month, but it was delayed for more time for sponsors to work with the affected businesses.


The Senate has backed off plans to limit residential lawns in new developments by turning the requirement into a study. But Senate Bill 17 awaits a final vote by the full Senate before it goes to the House for consideration.

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