Highlights from the Legislature on Thursday
April 23, 2009
” The House approved a bill (Senate Bill 281) that would create a committee to study a possible takeover of Pinnacol Assurance. Lawmakers canceled plans to use some of the workers compensation insurer’s reserves to avoid huge cuts in higher education funding in next year’s budget. The bill now goes back to the Senate for consideration of amendments.
” The House approved a measure requiring athletic trainers to be registered (Senate Bill 26). The bill goes back to the Senate for consideration of amendments.
” The Senate Finance Committee backed a measure (House Bill 1094) requiring drivers to use handsfree devices while talking on cell phones, although two lawmakers who voted yes indicated they might change their minds later. Drivers under 18, as well as bus and taxi drivers, wouldn’t be able to talk or text on cell phones at all. Next the bill will be reviewed by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
” The Senate Transportation Committee backed a new bill (Senate Bill 294) requiring that the Public Utilities Commission determine if more taxi service is needed in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, El Paso and Jefferson counties before certifying any new providers. It now goes to the full Senate.
” After a brief fight, the Senate agreed to delay a vote on a proposal to phase out the business personal property tax until Monday. A $31,000 study has been added to the measure (Senate Bill 85), which could lead to its defeat since money is so tight. Backers asked for time to figure out whether business groups could pick up the tab and save the measure.
” The Senate backed a measure (Senate Bill 282) allowing Denver’s public school retirement system to be merged into the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association. It now goes to the House.
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” The Senate passed a bill requiring the secretary of state to set up an online system for people to register to vote, change their address or party affiliation, and sign up to receive mail-in ballots indefinitely. The measure (House Bill 1160) now heads back to the House because of changes made in the Senate.
” Allow state-funded colleges to set their own tuition rates (Senate bill 295).
” Eliminate tax credits for qualifying Colorado capital gains taxes (House Bill 1366).