- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 9, 2018

DENVER (AP) - The Latest on final actions by the Colorado Legislature for the 2018 session (all times local):

11:35 p.m.

Colorado lawmakers are about to conclude the 2018 legislative session after a final-hour approval of legislation to stabilize the state pension fund.

The Democrat-led House and Republican-led Senate OK’d a compromise bill less than an hour before the midnight Wednesday session deadline.

The bill calls for cuts to retirement benefits. It requires public employees and taxpayer-funded government agencies to contribute more of each paycheck into the retirement fund.



The state would also contribute $225 million annually to help pay off the system’s unfunded debt, which totals $32 to $50 billion.

Gov. John Hickenlooper urged fellow Democrats to pass the bill despite opposition from the Colorado Education Association.

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9:45 p.m.

Colorado lawmakers have struck a compromise on a plan to rescue the state pension fund from the fiscal brink.

But with just hours left to pass the bill before the 120-day legislative session gavels to a close at midnight Wednesday, final passage remained in doubt, with the state teachers’ union opposed to the bill.

Just before 9:30 p.m., a bipartisan conference committee voted 5-1 to advance the reform measure to the two chamber floors.

The bill calls for cuts to retirement benefits, and requires public employees and taxpayer-funded government agencies to contribute more of each paycheck into the retirement fund. The state would also contribute $225 million annually to help pay off the system’s unfunded debt, which totals $32 to $50 billion.

The Public Employees’ Retirement Association provides guaranteed retirement benefits to 560,000 state, school and local government employees. That’s about 1 in 10 Coloradans.

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8:50 p.m.

Trying again, a House-Senate conference committee has reached a deal to restructure the Colorado Civil Rights Division and its Civil Rights Commission.

By a 5-1 vote, lawmakers on Wednesday recommended changing the composition of the seven-member commission to add a business representative and, among other things, ensure no major political party has an advantage on the panel.

The agreement also ratifies Senate authority to reject gubernatorial appointments to the commission.

The legislation - to be passed by the full House and Senate - would reauthorize the division and commission until September 2027.

Wednesday is the last day of the 2018 legislative session.

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4:05 p.m.

A House-Senate conference committee has failed to agree on proposals to restructure the Colorado Civil Rights Division and Civil Rights Commission.

House Democrats and Senate Republicans differed Wednesday on changing the composition of the seven-member commission and restricting the governor’s authority to appoint its members.

The GOP-led Senate sought changes as part of a 10-year renewal of the division. The Democrat-led House resisted.

Wednesday is the last day of the 2018 legislative session.

Even without a deal, the commission will keep operating for at least a year since lawmakers have already approved its $2.1 million budget.

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12 p.m.

Leaders of Colorado’s House and Senate have postponed a meeting to address future updates to the Capitol’s workplace harassment policy.

Lawmakers were busy negotiating deals on strengthening Colorado’s underfunded state pension system and other issues on Wednesday, the last day of the 2018 legislative session.

It wasn’t immediately known when the meeting would be rescheduled.

The policy was tested during the four-month session as five lawmakers were accused of - and one expelled for - sexual misconduct.

Leaders plan to discuss recommended policy changes in a report presented in April by Denver-based Investigations Law Group. They hope a new comprehensive policy can be adopted by the 2019 Legislature.

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8:30 a.m.

Colorado lawmakers have approved a bill to remove autopsy reports involving minors from documents available to the public under the Colorado Open Records Act.

The Senate approved House changes to the bill late Tuesday and it’s on its way to the governor’s desk.

Supporters argue that the release of detailed autopsies on youth creates unnecessary pain for survivors and can encourage copycat teen suicides.

Opponents warned the bill will hamper reporting on suspicious youth deaths, government child protection programs, and holding elected coroners accountable.

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12:20 a.m.

Cementing a state pension fund rescue poses the top challenge for lawmakers on the last day of Colorado’s 2018 legislative session.

Leaders of the House and Senate also convene Wednesday to address updates to their workplace harassment policy.

That policy was tested during the four-month session as five lawmakers were accused of - and one expelled for - sexual misconduct.

The Democrat-led House and Republican-led Senate are working on a bill to shore up the state’s public pension, which has more than half a million members but is underfunded by $32 billion to $50 billion.

Top lawmakers have been negotiating for months on the pension reform package. It’s expected to cut public sector retiree benefits and increase contributions to pay off the unfunded debt.

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