The Colorado News Roundup: Bills go through House, Senate in mad dash before session ends (05.09.16)
May 9, 2016
Here's a summary of what's gone on in the state:
SENATE KILLS ITS PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY BILL, WILL TAKE UP HOUSE VERSION
The Colorado Senate effectively killed a bill it introduced last weekto provide a state presidential primary that excluded unaffiliated voters.
The bill was "laid over" until Thursday, which is the day after the session adjourns.
That leaves House Bill 1454, which passed out of the lower chamber, 43-22, Monday morning. The bill would allow unaffiliated voters to choose which party's primary ballot they would like to receive in the mail.
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Senate Bill 216was introduced last week as an alternative to the House proposal, which was struggling to attract enough to supporters to pass in the Senate.
The Senate legislation would have required unaffiliated voters to register with a party in order to vote in its primary, just as they would now.
The Senate is expected to hold a committee hearing on the House bill Tuesday. If the bill gets approval there, it would have to pass a voice vote on the Senate floor sometime Tuesday, as well, in order to get a final roll-call vote on Wednesday.
The first and second floor votes in either chamber cannot happen on the same day.
House Democrat leader Crisanta Duran of Denver was reluctant to size up the chances of the proposed Senate bill that excluded unaffiliated voters, the state's largest voting bloc.
"It's unfortunate they took that out, because we've been working all along to make sure unaffiliated voters have a voice and that that voice is heard," she said.
The House bill had bipartisan support in the lower chamber. Besides picking up 22 Republican votes Monday morning, it is co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Tim Dore of Elizabeth and state Republican Party chairman Steve House spoke in its favor in a House committee meeting.
Nonetheless, some Republicans are dubious about allowing in unaffiliated voters.
Both presidential primary bills would preserve a caucus for local races.
A ballot initiative proposed by a group called Let Colorado Vote, a coalition that includes the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, would permit an open primary, meaning that unaffiliated voters would receive a ballot with both parties' candidates.
"Lawmakers may not agree on the issue of increasing participation in primary elections, but we expect regular Coloradans to overwhelmingly support the idea when given the choice this fall," said Curtis Hubbard, a spokesman for Let Colorado Vote.
COLORADO CREATING NEW TYPE OF POT LICENSE: WEED COURIERS
DENVER — A first-of-its-kind license for marijuana couriers awaits the governor's pen in Colorado.
State lawmakers agreed on a measure Monday to create a new "marijuana transporter" license.
Colorado already has 12 marijuana courier companies, which fill out shipping manifests to move pot from growing warehouses to store shelves. The couriers are currently classified as marijuana "vendors," a broad category which includes other ancillary services.
The new license would give those couriers additional powers, such as temporarily storing pot if an unexpected snowstorm closes a highway. Currently the pot couriers must return to the site of origin if they cannot deliver the marijuana within a designated window.
The courier licenses would cost about $4,400 for two years. Legislative analysts predict 24 people will apply.
Online: House Bill 1211: http://goo.gl/6JJ3oO
— Associated Press reports