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5 Things To Know in the Colorado Legislature

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 17, 2013 at 1:01 pm •  Published: March 17, 2013

Your weekly look at what's coming up at the Colorado Legislature:


Legislation on oil and gas drilling gets its first review Thursday in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee. Democrats have hinted there could be more legislation proposed this week on the controversial drilling procedure of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Communities including Longmont and Fort Collins have clashed with the state by banning the procedure, and many say the dispute must eventually be resolved by the state Legislature.


A long-expected bill to repeal the death penalty has been introduced, and lawmakers are expected to have the first debate and public testimony on the proposal in the coming days. There are three men on death row, and the bill would not apply to them if it becomes law. Lawmakers tried to abolish the death penalty in 2009, but failed by one vote.


Lawmakers and Capitol reporters have spent a lot of energy this year on gun legislation and social questions. But the Legislature's most important job is to write the state budget, and budget-writing committees are expected to start wrapping up work on the proposed budget for next fiscal year. The so-called "Long Bill" outlining some $8.1 billion in state spending comes from the state's brightest economic outlook in recent years. Lawmakers get an update on the state's revenue projections on Monday.


School funding has bedeviled lawmakers for years because of Colorado's convoluted procedure for funding education. Denver Democratic Sen. Mike Johnston has been working for years on a detailed proposal to overhaul the education funding process — and the Senate Education committee starts reviewing his proposal Tuesday afternoon. Expect lengthy debate over the biggest-ticket item in Colorado's general fund.


The Legislature has sent Gov. John Hickenlooper some monumental legislation in recent weeks. Because the governor has only 10 days to sign or veto bills while the Legislature is in session, lawmakers will be watching to see which measures Hickenlooper plans to sign next week, from civil unions to in-state tuition for illegal immigrants to gun-control measures.


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