Legislators introduce 101 bills

DENVER – Colorado legislators want to issue up to $50 million in bonds to protect watersheds from the threat of wildfires.

They also want to extend the state’s tax credits for homeowners who pay for fire mitigation on their rural properties.

The ideas in House Bill 1012 are the Legislature’s first response to the wildfires that ravaged the state last year.

It was one of 101 bills introduced in the Legislature’s first week.

HB 1012 authorizes the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to issue bonds for local governments to start forest health projects, especially around water supplies. The bill also extends an income tax credit worth up to $2,500 for wildfire mitigation. It is set to expire this year unless the Legislature acts.

The first batch of bills includes proposals by Republicans that are likely to be short-lived, given Democratic control of the Capitol.

HB 1033 would charge doctors with a Class 3 felony if they performed an abortion.

Senate Bill 17 is a direct shot at teachers’ unions, one of the Democratic Party’s strongest allies. It would let teachers opt out of their unions whenever they wanted.

On the other hand, Democrats now see an opportunity to pass bills that failed last year, when Republicans controlled the House.

Chief among them is SB 11, which would allow civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

Democrats also have SB 25, which allows firefighters to unionize and bargain for pay and benefits with their departments’ management.

HB 1061 creates a “responsible vendor” standard for medical marijuana dispensaries.

The bill would allow shops to get lighter fines for breaking state rules if all their employees had taken training classes.

jhanel@durangoherald.com

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