- Associated Press - Sunday, May 3, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Colorado lawmakers have just three days left in the 2015 session - and lots of work still pending. Some of the highlights from the coming week:

___

SHOWDOWN ON FUTURE BUDGETS

Lawmakers plan to issue surplus budget refunds to taxpayers in 2016 and 2017 for nearly $70 million and $117 million respectively. But what about years beyond that? That’s the question lawmakers will debate in the final days. Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights mandates refunds when the state collects revenue faster than the rate of population growth and inflation. But the state would be under that limit with a bill to reclassify what is called the hospital provider fee, a charge to facilities that the state uses to get a federal match to help pay for more Medicaid patients. Gov. John Hickenlooper called for the bill and fellow Democrats took it up. They’ll have a tough time selling it to Republicans, however.

___

HABITUAL DRUNK DRIVERS

After several years of trying, lawmakers are close to passing legislation to charge repeat drunk drivers with a felony. Colorado is one of five states where drunk drivers face misdemeanor charges regardless of how many times they’ve been convicted of the offense. A bill pending in the Senate would make DUIs a felony after a third conviction.

___

RED-LIGHT CAMERAS

Another idea that’s been in the works for years is whether to forbid municipalities from using cameras to catch speeders and drivers who run red lights. Police say they’re an important public-safety tool, and local governments argue it should be up to them to decide whether to use them. But lawmakers argue the devices are used to generate revenue and violate people’s due process rights and their privacy. Two pending proposals would require voters to approve the use of the cameras.

___

STUDENT TESTING

A long-simmering debate over whether Colorado should eliminate required standardized tests in 9th grade reaches a conclusion this week. The House and Senate both have pending bills to reduce statewide testing requirements, a top priority for lawmakers this term. But differences over the tests in 9th grade, along with differing ideas over social studies tests and whether Colorado should allow local districts to write their own exams, have pushed the testing debate to the final days for resolution.

___

MARIJUANA

Marijuana regulations have become a perennial topic of debate. This year is no exception, and most of the proposals await final votes before heading to the governor’s desk. Among the pot bills awaiting action in the closing days - a bill to ask voters whether the state can keep $58 million in pot tax revenues that exceed constitutional limits, a bill to expand testing requirements to medical marijuana and a bill to crack down on lightly regulated caregivers by limiting the number of pot plants they can grow without seeking a commercial license.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide