Here’s what’s happening in Colorado
Hickenlooper signs $27 billion Colorado budget
DENVER — Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed a $27 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
Hickenlooper praised the bipartisan effort it took to craft the budget.
It slightly raises K-12 funding, allots $210 million to roads and increases the general fund by $50 million.
Leaders of the GOP-led Senate, Democrat-led House and key budget-writers attended Tuesday’s bill signing at the capitol.
Still pending is a House bill to free millions of dollars in future spending. It would do so by taking a fund, paid in part by hospitals to care for the needy, and transferring it outside the budget.
A Senate bill would ask voters to approve issuing $3.5 billion in bonds for critical road projects.
Colorado a step closer on tough student data privacy law
DENVER — Colorado is one step closer to adopting one of the nation’s toughest laws to protect the privacy of student data.
Parents and educators have long worried about protecting students’ personal information as more software programs and apps are used in the classroom.
That information can include grades, opinions, addresses, IDs, behavioral issues or suspensions.
The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that defines at what point data accumulated by in-class programs can identify students.
It requires companies to destroy, not just delete, that information, unless authorized by contract to keep it. And it notifies parents who is collecting data and why.
The bill goes back to the House for final approval before reaching the governor’s desk.
Colorado Senate passes juvenile life sentencing bill
DENVER — Colorado’s Senate has passed a bill that would bring the state in line with U.S. Supreme Court rulings that mandatory life without parole sentences for youth offenders are unconstitutional.
Sponsors Laura Woods and Cheri Jahn accused Colorado’s district attorneys of bullying and fearmongering in their vocal opposition to the bill.
The bill affects 48 inmates who are serving life without parole for first-degree murder and other crimes they committed as youths between 1990 and 2006.
Colorado ended the no-parole sentencing practice in 2006.
The bill would help those 48 inmates seek — but not guarantee — new sentences.
It goes to the House after Tuesday’s 33-2 vote.
Colorado decides against organic labels for marijuana
DENVER — A Colorado proposal to certify organic marijuana has been rejected amid concerns the labels would imply pot is healthy.
The bill rejected in a legislative committee Tuesday would have created a first-of-its-kind label for marijuana that had been produced without pesticides.
Republicans voted against the measure, saying it could wrongly imply that marijuana is healthy. Other lawmakers worried that the U.S. Department of Agriculture would penalize state agriculture regulators for labeling pot as organic.
Colorado would have been the first state to regulate organic labels in its pot industry.
Sponsors said that consumers are currently confused about organic marijuana claims.
Organic standards are regulated federally, and pot remains illegal at the federal level, meaning there’s nothing stopping commercial pot growers from calling their wares organic.
Denver suburb uses pot sales tax revenue to help homeless
AURORA, Colo. — The Denver suburb of Aurora is using recreational marijuana sales tax revenue to help the homeless.
The Aurora Sentinel reported Tuesday that among the projects receiving money is the Colfax Community Network, which educates low-income families in motels and apartments along the Colfax corridor about community services. The network is getting $220,000 of $1.5 million set aside this year for homeless programs from Aurora’s local tax on recreational marijuana.
City spokeswoman Julie Patterson says Aurora expects to collect just over $8 million in such taxes by year’s end. About half that total will be used for transportation projects. Some of the rest will help build a recreation center.
Colorado became the first state to start legal recreational marijuana commerce when sales began across the state in 2014.
Colorado pot-in-schools bill awaits governor’s pen
DENVER — Colorado schools would be required to allow medical marijuana use under a bill awaiting the governor’s pen.
Gov. John Hickenlooper says he supports the school requirement.
Senators voted 35-0 Tuesday in favor of the bill. It makes Colorado the second state to require schools to accommodate student pot use.
The bill says schools must permit non-smokeable marijuana medicines at school, as long as and the drug is administered by a parent or adult caregiver. Students could not administer the drug themselves.
The bill gives schools an option not to comply if they lose federal funding because of allowing medical marijuana.
Man dies after canoe capsizes in Colorado lake
LOVELAND, Colo. — The Loveland Fire Rescue Authority says a canoe capsized on a lake north of Denver, leaving one man dead.
The Denver Post reports a second man in the canoe was saved by a rescuer in another boat during the incident Monday evening at Boedecker Reservoir in Loveland.
Scott Pringle, spokesman for Loveland Fire Rescue Authority, told the Post that dive teams found the body. In a statement, the Larimer County Coroner’s office identified the dead man as 21-year-old Justin Brien of Loveland and determined his death by drowning to have been an accident.
Prison guard says he fired as he was punched at biker brawl
DENVER — Newly released police reports show a Colorado corrections officer who killed a man during a shootout at a Denver motorcycle show told investigators he fired the first shot because he was being punched and cornered.
A 195-page report released Tuesday says police proposed charging Derrick Duran with first-degree murder in the January brawl. But prosecutors refused because his self-defense claim made it unlikely a jury would convict him.
Duran, a member of the Iron Order motorcycle club made up mostly of police and military, says the violence started when members of the Mongols club attacked his group. Duran says he pulled his gun to get them to stop and fired as a Mongol kept punching him in the face.
That started a gunbattle that left Mongols member Victor Mendoza dead and seven others shot, beaten or stabbed.
— Compile from Associate Press reports.
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