DENVER - Many state offices will be closed today as more than 15,000 employees take an unpaid day off.
It is the seventh of eight furlough days that Gov. Bill Ritter imposed to deal with the budget crisis. The last one
will be May 28, Memorial Day weekend.
Many workers will remain on the job, including state troopers, people who process unemployment claims and staff
at hospitals and nursing homes. State parks will be open, but the visitor centers will be closed.
In other action Thursday at the Capitol:
b The $7 billion bill to fund the state government passed the House on Thursday on a 40-25 vote. Rep. Ellen Roberts of
Durango was one of three Republicans to vote for the measure.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
The budget relies on cuts to K-12 education and lower reimbursement for doctors and people who care for the
Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, voted against the budget, although unlike most Republicans, he voted for a bill that takes
money from special savings accounts to balance the budget, including funds for water projects, local governments and
medical marijuana permits.
b The ninth bill in Gov. Bill Ritter's tax package cleared the Legislature. House Bill 1197 caps the conservation
easement tax credit program at $26 million a year. That's an estimated $37 million less than the state would have given
out in tax credits to preserve land from urban development.
The Senate passed the bill
22-13 on Monday, and the House agreed with changes Thursday and repassed the bill on a 38-26 vote.
The Legislature spent the first month of its session embroiled in debate over the first eight tax bills, which repealed
tax breaks for candy, Internet sales and many other items.
b A bill to crack down on uranium mill pollution won strong support from the House in a voice vote Thursday.
House Bill 1348, by Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West, requires faster cleanup of pollution at uranium mills.
The bill is targeted to Colorado's only uranium mill, in Cañon City.
A second mill could be built in Montrose County. It would not be affected by HB 1348 unless it attempted to expand
without cleaning any pollution it might create.