DENVER (AP) – Here’s what will be keeping Colorado lawmakers busy this week:
DISCRIMINATION AND GAY RIGHTS
A House committee starts work Monday on one the session’s most divisive debates – whether businesses should face penalties for declining to serve gay people if the service violates their religious beliefs. The bills come after a high-profile case in which a suburban Denver baker faces state sanctions for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
The last gasp of the GOP agenda to ratchet back 2013 gun-control laws is up for debate Monday in a Republican-controlled Senate committee. Republicans keep touting the support of a small number of House Democrats for repealing Colorado’s 15-round ammunition limit. But Democratic House leaders have already rejected a similar attempt and say they have no intention of taking the latest ammunition bill any further.
Lawmakers will be looking across the street Thursday, when the state Board of Education debates changes to a youth-risk survey given to students every other year since 1991. The Board is considering requiring parental consent before kids fill out the anonymous surveys about their sex lives and drug habits, a change also contemplated in a GOP bill pending in the House. Conservatives say parents should review surveys to make sure they’re appropriate; but Democrats fear the additional step could reduce survey data used to measure youth health behaviors.
HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE
A Republican measure to give Colorado’s state-run health insurance exchange a more thorough audit faces its first test in the House Tuesday. The bill has already cleared the Senate with Democratic support. Democrats last year resisted efforts to give Connect For Health Colorado an expanded audit, but Democratic opposition has largely evaporated this year.
Lawmakers are expected to advance two measures to expand the state’s Cottage Food law, which permits home cooks to sell small amounts of foods they’ve made at home, instead of commercial kitchens. Lawmakers could send to the governor a bill limiting sales caps on the unregulated food producers. And a House committee starts work Tuesday on a bill to expand the law to include fruit empanadas, tortillas and pickled vegetables.
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