|By John Schroyer; [email protected]|
Members of the state Legislature will consider hundreds of bills between January and May.
Most of the bills are fairly mundane, but four will likely draw close attention in
Some of the big four measures could create dissension within party ranks.
Civil unions will pit majority Democrats and a handful of Republicans against more conservative legislators, who see the bill, which would essentially allow gay marriage, as a social problem and as circumventing the will of
Regulations for recreational marijuana sales bring arguments, some strictly partisan and some not, to deal with issues from business procedures to security measures.
A bill that would increase some insurance payouts to wildfire victims who lost their homes will almost certainly raise hackles at the Capitol.
And a proposed increase in education funding looks to be a sign of hope for state schools, but more than one lawmaker has cautioned that the state's financial situation is tenuous.
The Gazette spoke with several
CIVIL UNIONS: SARAH AND ERIKA
Erika is getting her last name changed to match. Together, they're raising 9-year-old Jack. They've been together for six years. They hold hands and smile at each other constantly.
But their Spring marriage was symbolic. It is not binding in any legal sense, as marriages for heterosexual couples are, and they don't get the same rights as straight couples.
A bill to establish civil unions for gay couples will be introduced
Republican leaders narrowly defeated a similar measure in 2012, killing it in committee. But with Democrats holding both
"Civil unions could pass before I get clearance from the
Civil unions are similar, but not the same as marriages.
Musick and Highstead said getting civil unions through
"People are fairly shocked when they find out that we don't have the same rights as them and their spouses," Highstead said. "What matters a lot is equality. This is a steppingstone."
They say it will make it far easier for Musick to adopt Jack. The boy calls both women "mom."
"This is about taking care of each other," Musick said .
Civil unions won't sail through the
Hillery fears more marijuana business owners could wind up behind bars unless the 2013
"It'll be like it is now - you never know how things will change from day to day," Hillery said.
Amendment 64 made it legal for people over 21 to possess marijuana in small amounts but left business regulation to lawmakers. And the business end of recreational marijuana is coming quickly - the amendment said people can apply for licenses to enter the recreational marijuana industry in
The state in 2010 jumped into medical marijuana regulation, building the framework that led to the explosion of dispensaries.
Hillery, who owns Rocky Mountain Miracles, ran afoul of the law in March when her staff gave law enforcement officials an old patient list. The number of patients didn't match the legal number of pot plants the shop was allowed to have.
Hillery said she was updating the patient list to comply with the medical marijuana regulations. She was arrested.
Hillery was acquitted in early November.
Incoming House Minority Leader
What else marijuana regulations would entail, Waller said, is to be determined. But he said he won't drive hard right on the subject as some lawmakers will do.
More than one victim of the
The bill, being crafted by Rep.
Levy, a Boulder Democrat, also wants to make it easier for fire victims to catalog how much their possessions are worth, without having to fill out an itemized list of their belongings.
The measure was inspired by the
Riese said Levy's bill would have made her life a lot easier. "If there's a different way of doing things, that needs to happen." Riese said.
Riese now lives on the east side of
"It'll be really close," Riese said.
Insurance issues can be thorny, warned Rep.
"It's about a cost-benefit analysis rather than automatic regulation," Gardner said.
"I see a totally different child with one who's in kindergarten all day than with the others who aren't," Rudolph said. "I can honestly say that Eddie needed all-day kindergarten. He was not a very social toddler, and this has really brought him out of his shell."
Full-day kindergarten in
Thanks to an upswing in state income, Hickenlooper wants to increase state funding for K-12 education by
The governor's budget likely would benefit every school district in
"I don't care who you are, that's a lot of money," Rudolph said.
But the budget is far from finished, and the state isn't the sole determinant of
"We're sort of different shades of bad, because even if the fiscal cliff is resolved, it could affect the state. We just don't know," Lambert said. "Deal or not, I think we're at least moderately going to be worse."
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