Highlights from the Legislature on Thursday | SummitDaily.com

Highlights from the Legislature on Thursday

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

” Gov. Bill Ritter signed seven bills, including a bill that will make it easier for gays and lesbians and other unmarried couples to leave property to their partners, and a bill that opens up new sources of water for farmers to lease.

” The House approved Senate amendments and sent to the governor a bill that would allow hospitals to charge provider fees to cover the cost of caring for uninsured patients and to help ensure hospital care continues to be available. Supporters say the measure (House Bill 1293) would provide coverage to nearly 100,000 Coloradans and provide some guarantee that hospital care would be available to the other 700,000 Coloradans, including 180,000 children, who would still need coverage.

” The House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would require companies that hire people to circulate initiative petitions to be licensed in Colorado. House Speaker Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, says concerns were raised in recent elections about the use of paid petition circulators, some from out of state. The bill (House Bill 1326) also would require that circulators be trained so they can comply with petition laws. The bill now goes to the full House for debate.

” The Senate began debating a package of bills aimed at balancing next year’s budget after the Joint Budget Committee refused to make any additional cuts. The package includes two measure aimed at taking $500 million from the surplus of Pinnacol Assurance, the state-created workers’ compensation insurance company.