DENVER (CBS4) – It’s back to work for lawmakers at the state Capitol as the 2016 Legislature kicked off Wednesday morning, and a lot of interesting legislation is expected this session.
The new session brings new ideas and a new twist on old ideas. Lawmakers will try again to pass bills that allow Coloradans to collect rainwater from gutters, restrict fracking, ban abortion, and raise the minimum wage. Adding to the drama is that it’s an election year.
“(Laughing) … Election year politics down here? No,” Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Douglas County, said with a smile.
“A number of people in this building running for something or thinking about running for something,” said Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver.
“But it doesn’t mean we can’t get things done,” said Rep. Louis Court, D-Denver.
Court hopes to pass a bill allowing doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medicine for people who are terminally ill.
“So that they will have both psychological and physical comfort at that stage,” Court said.
Sen. Laura Woods, R-Jefferson County, is going after probate courts.
“There doesn’t seem to be any transparency in the system, there’s no accountability,” Woods said.
Sexting could become a misdemeanor, and DNA collection could be expanded.
“So if you are convicted of a misdemeanor like a domestic violence or an assault charge that shows to be highly predictive of other potential violent crimes, we’d take a DNA sample as a way to try to identify current criminals that are out there,” Johnston said.
There will also be attempts to limit drones and close a corporate loophole in the tax code.
“These corporations that stash their profits overseas and not pay taxes on them are taking advantage of our roads and schools but not paying for them,” said Rep. Mike Foote, D-Boulder.
But maybe the most unusual bill of the session is one to allow hunters to wear pink.
“The growth that we’re seeing in hunting is largely with women, and so if we can enhance the number of hunters we have in Colorado, support our small communities that depend on hunting, why not?” said Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail.
The most serious subject is the state budget. Lawmakers have more money to spend this year than last year, but it may take all that money just to keep up with inflation and enrollment in K-12 schools. Democrats say the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, or TABOR, is the problem. Republicans want the state to spend less on Medicaid, which now represents a third of the budget.