Scott Introduces Major Energy Office Renovation

DENVER — A far-reaching measure introduced at the Statehouse Wednesday not only reauthorizes and revamps a Colorado Energy Office that never quite fulfilled its original potential, but it includes other provisions aimed at ensuring that an “all of the above” energy sector remains a cornerstone of Colorado’s economy for years to come.  

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Democrats Refuse to Hold Government Accountable

DENVER—Today, Senate Democrats refused to stand up for Colorado families and hold government accountable for continuing to uphold policies that encourage crime and make our communities less safe.
Senate Bill 17-281, carried by Senator Tim Neville (R-Jefferson County) and Senator Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins), holds accountable local governments who fail to keep their communities safe by passing sanctuary city policies. 
SB 281 declares these policies unlawful under the US Constitution and contrary to public safety, and provides a course of civil action for those harmed by these policies to hold local governments liable.
Democrats offered four amendments to the Committee of the Whole report to show that SB 281 did not pass, refusing to stand against overly broad government immunity. 
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Grantham and Baumgardner React to Setback for Road Fix

DENVER — Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulphur Springs) released the following statements today after HB-1242 failed to pass the Senate Finance Committee.

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Coram Bill May Clear the Way for Colorado Hemp Boom

Denver -- Industrial hemp may become Colorado's next big cash crop, following Monday's unanimous approval by the Colorado House of Senate Bill-117, authored by Montrose Republican Senator Don Coram, which ensures that Washington can't deny hemp growers access to water from federal reclamation projects, due to disagreements between Washington and Denver on drug and farm policies.  

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Gardner Moves to Reform Division of Youth Corrections

Denver--Today, the Senate agreed to Senator Bob Gardner's (R-El Paso County) proposal offering reforms to the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC).

Senate Bill 17-289 aims to keep DYC staff and younger inmates safe by providing the Division the option to transfer inmates between the ages of 18-21 to the Department of Corrections, if the offender has committed a dangerous, secondary offense while in custody. 

DYC inmates can be as young as 10 years old, and older inmates who continue to commit crimes--such as possession of a deadly weapon, a crime of violence, or possession or distribution of a controlled substance--create an unsafe environment for the younger children who work toward a path of rehabilitation. 

SB 289 works in conjunction with another Republican-sponsored piece of legislation carried by Senator Kevin Priola (R-Brighton) which repeals a mandatory sentencing requirement for juveniles under the age of 12 who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes. House Bill 17-1207 and SB 289 alleviate the burden on the Division, while helping to create a climate conducive to rehabilitation by ensuring a safe environment for staff and detainees.

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Democrats Refuse to Trust Colorado Taxpayers

DENVER—Today, Senate Democrats refused to stand up for Colorado taxpayers and direct funding directly to Colorado roads and bridges. 

SJM 17-006, which urges Congress to allow Colorado to keep revenue remitted from gas taxes in the Highway Users Trust Fund, instead of sending them to the Federal government. 
In 2015, over $661 million was collected from Colorado and paid to the federal highway trust fund. The state then requests the funds back, and is subjected to regulations, mandates, and increased costs imposed by the federal government. 
SJM 006 calls upon Congress to trust state and local governments to make the best decisions for their citizens, and allow Colorado to fix its infrastructure in a manner that best suits Coloradans. 
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Senate Gives Full Support to Crack Down on Sex Trafficking

DENVER—Today, the Senate unanimously passed Senator John Cooke's (R-Greeley) guarding against the sexual trafficking of minors in Colorado. 

House Bill 17-1172 requires courts to adhere to the minimum sentencing of eight years in the Department of Corrections for those convicted of a class 2 felony for human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude. 

In 2016, Colorado saw a 56 percent increase in the number of human trafficking cases from reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Senator John Cooke is a former Sheriff of Weld County who worked as a persons crime investigator and focused his career on protecting Colorado's most vulnerable citizens from sexual assaults, rapes, and violent crimes.

 

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Republican Bill Takes Steps to End Wage Inequities

 DENVER—Today, the Senate approved Senator Beth Martinez Humenik's, R-Thornton, bill taking steps to end wage secrecy Colorado on a vote of 33-1. 

Current law prohibits an employer from disciplining, intimidating, discharging, or otherwise interfering with an employee's ability to discuss wages with another employee, with certain exemptions for certain employers from these labor laws.
House Bill 17-1269 strikes those exemptions to create uniformity in and transparency and end a culture of pay secrecy.
The affected employers include federal, state, or local governments, employers who employ only agricultural workers, as well as airlines and railroads.
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Senate Republicans Move to Fund Schools

DENVER--Today, the Senate introduced Senate Bill 296, the School Finance Act, carried by Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs), chair of the Senate Committee on Education. 

Under constitutional obligation, the General Assembly must pass both a balanced budget as well as legislation funding K-12 education in Colorado. 
A balanced budget is required in order to address K-12 funding in schools.
The Senate passed the Long Bill and all associated bills funding the State of Colorado on March 30, 2017. As of Wednesday, the Democrat controlled House of Representatives has not fulfilled their constitutional obligation. 
The School Finance Act in its current form, sets school funding to the budget that passed the Senate on March 30. The bill increases per pupil funding for Colorado schools from $6,367.90 to $6,546.20, providing more resources for kids and teachers in classrooms across the state.
The proposal sets the base for total program funding for all Colorado K-12 schools at $6,585,800,182. 
 
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Farmers Cheer Water Rights Measure Backed by Scott & Coram

Given that water has started far more brawls in arid Colorado than whiskey, the passage of any measure designed to lower tensions over the issue is a news-making rarity at the Statehouse. That explains the pride many were feeling Tuesday when Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed SB-36, a bill designed to ensure that water disputes don’t drain farmers dry, by simplifying and streamlining the dispute resolution process.

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