Highlights from the Legislature on Friday
Highlights from the Legislature on Friday:- The Senate Appropriations Committee killed a bill to raise car fees to pay for highway and bridge repairs at the request of the sponsor, Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo. Tapia said lawmakers failed to come up with a deal that both Democrats and Republicans could back. He said discussions would continue this summer and another bill could be introduced next year. (Senate Bill 244).- The Senate gave final approval to a measure (House Bill 1325) which allows the state to help farmers and ranchers find and screen temporary workers from Mexico and other countries. Under the plan, the state would help bring 1,000 workers to Colorado under the federal H2-A visa program by hiring agents abroad to find workers, help them with paperwork and coordinate medical screenings for them. Other states contract with companies to perform this middleman role but farm groups say those firms are reluctant to work in Colorado because of its strict laws against illegal immigration.- The Senate gave final approval to a measure (House Bill 1082) allowing people found guilty of minor drug offenses to ask a judge to seal their criminal records if they haven’t had any run-ins with the law for at least 10 years. Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, said the change would mostly apply to people found guilty of possessing small amounts of marijuana. It wouldn’t apply to anyone found guilty of manufacturing, selling or distributing drugs. The measure is aimed at helping people with minor drug convictions get jobs. Backers say those criminal records come up in employment background checks which have become more frequent since Sept. 11. The measure heads back to the House for consideration of amendments.- The Senate gave final approval to a measure (House Bill 1344) that would require the state education department to provide criminal history information about teachers to a school district or charter school within 10 days of a request. It now heads back to the House because of changes to the bill.- The House approved and sent to the governor a bill that would increase the penalty for leaving the scene of a deadly accident (Senate Bill 239).- The House approved a bill to ask health insurers to come up with no-frills plans for the uninsured (Senate Bill 217). Lawmakers would have to decide as early as next spring whether to accept any of the plans and whether to mandate that the uninsured buy the coverage with a possible state subsidy. The bill now goes back to the Senate for consideration of amendments.- The House approved a plan by Gov. Bill Ritter to update the state’s curriculum standards from preschool through college and add tests to ensure high school graduates are ready for college and work. The measure (Senate Bill 212) now goes back to the Senate for consideration of amendments.
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