Capitol Conversation: Major Items Still Undecided
Colorado’s annual legislative session is nearing its end and lawmakers still have plenty of work to wrap up before May 9. Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland spoke with Brian Eason with The Associated Press and Jesse Paul of the Denver Post about some of the major pieces of legislation that remain.
On the major items left to accomplish in the final weeks of the session:
Eason: Really the two biggest priorities heading into the session are still outstanding. We still don’t have a transportation funding bill that has been agreed to by both sides. And we still don’t have a compromise on what to do about the public pension [Public Employee’s Retirement Association] which has a $32 billion unfunded liability. And that’s by the most optimistic estimates of how bad the debt is.
On the chances of a compromise on public pensions and transportation spending:
Eason: I don’t think either side wants to end this session without a deal on these two issues. The pension especially, it’s just going to cost more and more the longer they put this off. We’ve seen that over the last eight years, without them acting on this issue … but you know these are two complicated issues that people are very far apart on.
On the debate over gun policy and a red flag bill:
Paul: All of the sudden the gun issue has popped up again, specifically this idea of a red flag law which would essentially make it so that judges in certain crisis situations could take guns away from people who law enforcement, prosecutors or family members identify as being either a threat to themselves of others. This has something that has been waiting in the wings for a couple of weeks. What remains to be seen is if there’s Republican support for the bill in the Senate, which is the only way it could get passed.
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