- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

DENVER (AP) - The speeches are over. The ceremonies have finished. And it’s time for Colorado lawmakers to get down to business.

Legislative leaders opened the 2015 session with calls for bipartisanship - a refrain that’s repeated every year - but with Democrats controlling the House and Republicans holding the Senate, they’ll face a difficult time agreeing on major issues. Here are some expected fights:

- TAX REFUNDS: Democrats want to keep tax surpluses required to be refunded to voters under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, but Republicans are staunchly against the idea. The rebates might not be for large sums, but “Republicans believe that the people can spend their money better than government can,” said House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso. Refunds are required when revenue collected exceeds a formula of inflation and population growth. With Colorado’s growing economy, the refunds could happen as soon as this spring.

- RENEWABLE ENERGY: Republicans want to roll back the renewable energy mandates on rural electricity providers that Democrats passed two years ago when they controlled both chambers of the Legislature. DelGrosso said the renewable-energy law stifles rural economies and kills jobs. But the Democrats aren’t budging. House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst has said she has no desire to strike legislation passed when she and her colleagues were in the majority.

- GUNS: Republicans also want to strike Democrat-sponsored gun-control measures and introduced bills to repeal a law that limits the size of ammunition magazines to 15 rounds and a requirement for background checks on firearms sold online and between private sellers. The gun-control legislation Democrats passed in 2013 came at a great political cost, leading the recall of two state senators. A third resigned while a recall effort was in place. It’s unlikely that Democrats will allow repeal efforts to advance without a fight.


Ivan Moreno can be reached at https://www.twitter.com/ivanjourno and Kristen Wyatt can be reached at https://www.twitter.com/APkristenwyatt

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