DENVER - The Legislature has approved new rules for gas and oil production.The Senate voted 21-12 along party lines for House Bill 1292, which approves all the regulations passed by state agencies in the last year, including the environmental rules of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Republicans fought it to the end. Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry urged his fellow Republicans to vote against the whole bill because of the gas and oil rules.
"It's unfortunate there is a lump of coal in the bag of diamonds that is the rule review bill," Penry said.
It was a different tactic than Penry's House counterpart, Mike May of Parker, who urged his caucus to vote for the rule review bill even though they didn't like the gas and oil rules.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, said it was "irresponsible" for senators to vote against the bill because they disagreed with one part. By law, legislators are supposed to decide only if the rules are legal, not whether they agree with the policy, she said.
HB 1292 approved hundreds of rules passed in the last year, covering everything from bingo games to air-ambulance licensing to cracking down on mortgage brokers. If the bill did not pass, those rules would have expired this year. The bill now goes to Gov. Bill Ritter to be signed into law.