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First Colorado Bills Address Gay Rights, Guns And Unions

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The Colorado Legislature on the first day of the session (credit: CBS)

The Colorado Legislature on the first day of the session (credit: CBS)

DENVER (AP/CBS4) – Civil unions for same-sex couples, concealed firearms by school employees and proposals about unions are among the first bills introduced Wednesday, the kickoff of this year’s Colorado legislative session.

The civil unions bill introduced in the Senate Wednesday is likely to pass. It has a Republican co-sponsor in the House, Rep. Cheri Gerou. But it comes too little too late for Sen. Pat Steadman, who introduced it in the Senate opening day. Steadman’s partner died of cancer a few months ago.

“I always thought that someday, if we were able to make this change in the law, this is something that I would avail myself of and enjoy the protections and benefits of, and it looks like we’re going to get it done at a time when I’m all alone,” Steadman told CBS4’s Shaun Boyd.

Democrats are expected to pitch gun-control measures, including a possible ban on assault weapons. But so far it’s Republicans who are introducing legislation to expand gun rights. They’re revisiting a failed bill from last year that would protect business owners from prosecution if they kill or wound an intruder. Another bill would also allow schools employees to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.

“If I thought there was a piece of gun control legislation out there that would make my children safer at home, or make my children safer in Colorado public schools, I would be the sponsor of that legislation without a doubt,” Republican House Minority Leader Mark Waller told CBS4.

Lawmakers being sworn in on the first day of the session (credit: CBS)

Lawmakers being sworn in on the first day of the session (credit: CBS)

There will also likely be big fights over labor bills. Republicans want to prohibit employers from requiring workers to belong to a union, and Democrats want to allow firefighters to have collective bargaining without approval from local governments.

Republicans also want to require the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, which oversees elections, to check voter rolls for non-citizens who are illegally registered to vote and remove them from the rolls.

Democrats control both chambers of Legislature so Republicans will have an uphill battle on many of their proposals.

RELATED: Colorado’s 1st Gay Speaker Takes Gavel

Other notable bills introduced:

- House Bill 1033: Republican bill to ban abortions and makes it a felony for doctors who perform them.

- House Bill 1021: Democratic bill to addresses truancy at schools, requiring districts to monitor students who miss several days.

- Senate Bill 6: Republican bill to prohibit reductions in school funding when funding proposed Medicaid expansion.

- House Bill 1012: Continues tax deduction for homeowners who conduct wildfire mitigation. Bill has bipartisan support.

- Senate Bill 18: Democratic bill to restrict employer’s use of credit information during the hiring process. Bill failed last year.

- By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer

CBS4 staff contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) 

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