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March 31, 2005
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State Dems speed budget fix through conference committee

DENVER - Over objections from Republicans who said they were being railroaded, a conference committee gave quick approval Thursday to a proposal that will ask voters to give up $3.1 billion in tax surplus refunds to pull the state out of a budget crisis.Lawmakers approved minor changes that House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, said were needed to make the proposal clearer. But the committee refused to consider four amendments by Rep. Dave Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs.Romanoff, D-Denver, said the bill needed to be amended to make it clear to voters what the state plans to do with the money. The amendments specified money for education could be used for buildings, that education included public schools and higher education, and that the state is not asking voters to raise taxes.House Bill 1194 now goes back to each chamber, which already approved a version of the measure and where quick approval is expected.House Republicans were furious after the committee refused to even consider any of the four amendments offered by Schultheis.Schultheis said he wanted the committee to remove portions of the bill that tell voters the state is not raising taxes by keeping the tax surplus over the next five years. Schultheis said Democrats are trying to deceive taxpayers into giving up their tax surplus refunds."This was a big railroad from the start. I will never give the taxpayers the rope to hang themselves," Schultheis said after the committee voted 5-1 to approve the changes.

It was the second time this week Democrats refused to allow a Republican on the committee to discuss their amendments.On Wednesday, the House Finance Committee approved a companion measure that would give voters a temporary tax break if they approve a ballot measure to fix the state's fiscal crisis. That after chairman Val Vigil, D-Thornton, cited a rule requiring 24-hour notice before introducing amendments and refused to allow Rep. Bill Crane, R-Arvada, to introduce a two-page amendment that would make the tax cuts permanent.House Minority Leader Joe Stengel, R-Littleton, said Democrats fast-tracked the bill and Republicans got their copies less than 24 hours before the meeting, making it impossible for Republicans to get their amendments drafted in time.Rape lawsuits against CU abruptly dismissedDENVER - In an abrupt ending to the case that ignited the University of Colorado's football recruiting scandal, a judge dismissed a federal lawsuit Thursday filed by two women who accused the school of failing to prevent them from being sexually assaulted by players and recruits.After months of court filings and hearings, U.S. District Robert Blackburn said the women had failed to meet two key criteria in claiming the school violated federal Title IX gender equity law by fostering an atmosphere that led to their alleged assaults at a 2001 off-campus party.Specifically, the judge said Lisa Simpson and the other woman had failed to prove the school had actual knowledge of sexual harassment of female students by football players and recruits. He also said they didn't show the school was deliberately indifferent to any known sexual harassment.

Both standards must be met in order to sue a public university under Title IX, Blackburn said.Dog threats surface in Aspen after poisoningsASPEN - An Aspen woman received a note this week that threatened to kill her two dogs over their barking, one week after two show dogs in the same area were poisoned with antifreeze."It said, 'If your dogs don't stop barking, hamburgers with rat poison will be thrown into your yard,"' said Carla Wheeler, who owns a German shepherd and a poodle. "I'm ready to move. I'm really scared."Aspen police are treating the incident as a serious threat. Community Safety Officer Rick Magnuson said one of Wheeler's dog-owner neighbors received a similar letter at about the same time.

DENVER - Saying protecting traditional marriage is the "most significant domestic issue of the decade", a Republican state lawmaker said Thursday that the Legislature should give voters a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and civil unions.Rep. Kevin Lundberg of Berthoud said he will introduce a resolution backing the amendment in a few days but admits the chances of getting the necessary two-thirds support to get it on the ballot are "dim". Last year, he failed to get a majority of members in the Republican-controlled House to back U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.CSU-Pueblo reprimands professor, finds no racial hostilityPUEBLO - A Colorado State University professor accused of belittling Mexican immigrants in class will keep his job, though school investigators concluded he lectured on his personal political beliefs, used profanity and offended some of his students.University administrators this week dismissed allegations that anthropology professor Dan Forsyth created a racially hostile learning environment in his classroom at the Pueblo campus. He was reprimanded for inappropriate behavior and told to follow a corrective course of action.Forsyth referred questions to his lawyer, Robert Corry, who said the professor disagreed that his classroom performance was offensive or inappropriate.

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The Summit Daily Updated Mar 31, 2005 09:28PM Published Mar 31, 2005 12:00AM Copyright 2005 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.