DENVER (AP) – With less than two weeks to go, lawmakers are scrambling like they do every year to finish all their work before the legislative session ends May 6. Some of the highlights from the coming week:
In what’s expected to be one of the most emotionally charged debates of the session, senators this week will consider a Republican measure to make the killing of a fetus a homicide in certain cases. The bill is a response to the attack in Longmont last month on an expectant mother, who had her belly cut open by someone who wanted to steal her child. The woman survived, but the child died. However, prosecutors said they couldn’t file murder charges under current state law. Democrats argue the Republican proposal will interfere with abortion rights. Republicans say their bill protects abortion rights, while allowing prosecutors to file homicide charges in some cases.
DUELING TRAFFIC CAMERA PROPOSALS
A debate over whether to ban red-light and speed cameras heats up in the final days as lawmakers try to decide how to approach the issue. One proposal pending in the House would prohibit their use, but the bill sponsor is considering an amendment to allow local governments to ask voters for permission. A bill in the Senate also directs local governments to seek voters’ approval to use the cameras. Using the cameras without voter approval would cost local governments state highway funding.
The House and Senate are each giving final approval this week to rival proposals for reducing statewide student testing. The big question awaiting resolution in the final eight lawmaking days of 2015 is whether lawmakers will be able to agree whether to require the tests in 9th grade, and whether to remove social studies tests or make them optional.
SCHOOL SHOOTINGS LAWSUITS
Driven by the shooting death of Claire Davis, who was killed at Arapahoe High School in 2013, Colorado lawmakers are considering allowing victims to sue schools for negligence when there’s violence that results in death or serious injury. The bill caps damage awards at $350,000 per victim, for a total cap of $900,000 per incident. The bill has cleared the Senate and has its first hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
Lawmakers have yet to agree to a slate of marijuana proposals, including a crackdown on medical marijuana caregivers and a proposal to set up statewide laboratory testing standards. Less contentious but still requiring action are bills to renew regulations on medical marijuana and to ask voters this fall about not refunding pot taxes as required by constitutional spending limits.
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