DENVER (AP) – Here’s what will be keeping Colorado lawmakers busy this week:
BUDGET MOVING ALONG
This week it’s the House’s turn to debate and vote on the state’s $25 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The GOP-controlled Senate has already approved it on a largely partisan vote, leaving Democrats upset over not getting funding for some of their priorities, such as affordable housing grants and money for a birth-control program for low-income teens. Expect Democrats who rule the House to make some tweaks to the budget before both chambers try to resolve differences. Then they’ll send it to the governor.
PENALTIES FOR MARIJUANA CONCENTRATES
Lawmakers worried about explosions caused by people trying to make homemade hash will begin debate on a bill addressing the topic. Under the proposal, people without a license to make marijuana concentrates would face felony charges if they used flammable gases in the attempt. Last year, there were 32 explosions and 30 injuries caused by people trying to make marijuana concentrates, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. The House Judiciary Committee takes up the bill Thursday.
GAY CONVERSION THERAPY
A Democrat-sponsored proposal to forbid therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person under 18 faces its first vote – and toughest test – in the Republican-controlled Senate. With the bill, therapists who do not follow the rule would face disciplinary action from their licensing board. Republicans worry the measure would have unintended consequences, with therapists being punished for merely being perceived as trying to change someone’s sexual orientation. The bill is being heard Wednesday in a Senate committee where many proposals are sent to be rejected.
WELFARE CARDS AND POT SHOPS
A Senate committee considers a bill Wednesday that forbids the use of welfare cards at marijuana stores. A bill that has been sent to the governor would do that as well, but this proposal has an enforcement provision requiring the state to give lawmakers periodic updates on how often the cards are misused.
Lawmakers in both chambers start work on a smattering of proposals aimed at reducing standardized school tests. The proposals range from reducing statewide tests to federal minimums (in Senate Education Thursday) to reducing tests in early grades and for high school juniors and seniors (in House Education Monday). It’s far too soon to say which testing-related bills will make it to the governor’s desk, but there appears to be broad bipartisan consensus that some testing tweaks are needed.
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