Highlights from the Legislature on Thursday
Highlights from the Legislature on Thursday.- The House approved and sent to the Senate a bill that would require companies to declare questionable transactions on their corporate tax returns. Lawmakers said a new federal tax law allows small investors to pool their resources to participate in real estate markets that otherwise would require large amounts of capital, providing tax breaks. Lawmakers say large companies like Wal-Mart are evading taxes by owning a majority of the investment trust, a charge Wal-Mart disputes.- The House approved and sent to the Senate a measure (Senate Bill 183) allowing a judge to consider DNA evidence of parentage in child support cases and require a judge to terminate child support if test results show a man is not the child’s biological parent.- Health insurers wouldn’t be able to pay doctors to switch patients’ drugs under a measure (House Bill 1411) backed by the Senate Finance Committee. It now heads to the full Senate for a debate.- The Senate gave final approval to the school finance act (House Bill 1388) which provides $113 million in additional funding for schools than what’s required by the state constitution. All together, the school budget will pay for 3,800 more children to go to preschool, renovating or renting facilities for kindergarten classrooms, hiring more teachers and tutors to create smaller classes with extra support for first and second graders.Sen. Steve Johnson, R-Fort Collins, objected to spending more money than required now because the economy has weakened. But Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, said the changes would benefit thousands of students. She said she thinks voters who backed Amendment 23 wanted to use money set aside in state education fund on immediate improvements, not as a savings account for the future.- The Senate amended a regulatory bill to create an insurance ombudsman’s office to help people with everything from claims problems with their insurer to how to shop for a policy. Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, said the position would be paid for with a 15 cent annual charge on every insurance policy in the state. It would apply to all kinds of insurance, including health and auto policies. The measure (House Bill 1216) must pass another vote before it could go back to the House for consideration of that change.
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