Highlights from the Legislature on Tuesday
April 21, 2009
” The Colorado House approved a plan to eliminate the death penalty and use the money to focus on cold cases after victims’ relatives asked for help finding closure. The legislation (House Bill 1274) would shift funds currently used to prosecute death-penalty cases to deal with the growing backlog of more than 1,400 unsolved homicides that have stymied local investigators since 1970. It now goes to the Senate.
” Gov. Bill Ritter signed a measure (House Bill 1293) allowing hospitals to charge provider fees to cover the cost of caring for uninsured patients. Ritter says the new law will provide coverage to nearly 100,000 Coloradans and provide some guarantee that hospital care is available to the other 700,000 Coloradans.
” The House Transportation and Energy Committee killed a bill (House Bill 1340) that would have eliminated the use of front license plates on vehicles. Police told lawmakers they use front license plates to locate suspects and tollways need them to identify scofflaws.
” The Joint Budget Committee endorsed budget changes that could lead to worker furloughs but would also protect funding for state colleges and universities. The Senate is expected to vote on the package Wednesday.
” Lawmakers announced they’re dropping a plan to overhaul sentencing laws this year and will instead rework the measure (Senate Bill 286) to push the state’s criminal justice commission to tackle the issue. Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, said the bill will be rewritten to ask the commission to come up with a plan for sentencing reform by Dec. 1.