11:53am

Sun December 16, 2012
Politics

Colorado Lawmakers Outline Upcoming Session Priorities

Gun laws, marijuana legalization, and oil and gas regulations will be just a few of the hot button issues that state lawmakers grapple with during the next legislative session.

Bente Birkeland reports on the annual legislative forum for Morning Edition

The Friday forum previewing the session was overshadowed by news of the mass school shootings in Connecticut that morning.

“I can’t put into words how impossible it is to me that this could happen again so suddenly and so rapidly. It is disconcerting,” said Governor Hickenlooper, who opened the annual gathering with a moment of silence for the victims.

Senate minority leader Bill Cadman (R-CO Springs) says the tragedy especially resonates for Coloradans who are still dealing with the aftermath of this summer’s theater shooting in Aurora. But Cadman doesn’t think stricter gun laws will prevent these types of crimes.

“The conversation is coming, there are bills coming. The real bottom line here is there are 300 million people in this country. Someone, some-where is going to do harm and criminals will still do criminal acts.”

Former police officer and incoming Senate President John Morse (D-CO Springs) has no doubt that Colorado lawmakers will debate an assault weapons ban during the next session.

“We’re using a weapon that’s used to hunt human beings. When you have an assault weapon that means you can crank out 100 rounds. We don’t need those weapons on the streets.”

Other topics likely to come up include increasing setback distances for hydraulic fracturing or fracking, job creation, education funding and the passage of a civil unions measure.

The 120 legislative session begins on Wednesday, January 9th.