New Issues Brought Up On First Day Of Colorado’s 2017 Legislative Session

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – It was a historic opening day of the 2017 legislative session as Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver became the first Latina speaker of the House in Colorado.

There is new leadership in both chambers this year. Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, took over as president of the Senate.

Lawmakers will take up lots of new issues, including several dealing with schools. There’s a bill to outlaw spanking in schools, and another to allow guns in schools. Rep. KC Becker, D-Boulder, has a bill to examine school pipes for lead.

“Lead has been outlawed since about 1978 for water pipes, but a lot schools in Colorado, of course, were built before then,” Becker said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Pocketbook issues are always popular at the state Capitol, but Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver, has a new one — a bill to repeal the tax on tampons.

“I think the original thought by the folks who originally taxed them — probably all men — thought that this was luxury and people didn’t absolutely need it,” Lontine said.

On public health, there’s a bill to increase treatment of opioid addiction.

On public safety, there’s a bill to make texting and driving a 5-point, $500 violation.

Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, has legislation to crack down on probation violators.

“We have parolees out there that cut off ankle bracelets … and nothing happens to them,” Cooke said.

Lawmakers are also looking out for privacy. Rep. Lois Landgraf, R-Colorado Springs, has a bill requiring the government to get a warrant if it wants access to emails.

“Currently they have to get one … but if it’s 180 days or older they don’t need a warrant,” Landgraf said.

What’s a session without marijuana legislation? There will be bills to license pot clubs and tasting rooms, and Rep. Dan Pabon has a bill to limit the number of plants caregivers can grow.

“Seven-hundred plants in the backyard of a residential home is not what the voters intended,” Pabon said.

Among the first bills introduced on opening day was a bill by Senate Republicans to repeal the state health exchange, and a bill by House Democrats to extend the child care tax credit.

Lawmakers also announced a long-awaited agreement on construction defects that they believe will help with affordable housing.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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