State Legislature OKs Climate Change Goals, Nicotine Tax Ballot Measure

May 1, 2019

Colorado's Senate has passed a bill that would set climate change goals into statute on a party-line vote.

Minority Republicans condemned the bill as a job-killer before the 18-16 vote Wednesday. The bill would codify reductions in state greenhouse gas emissions.

It heads back to the Democrat-House for consideration of Senate amendments.

House Speaker KC Becker considers the bill a top priority in the battle against climate change — and a key part of an environmental agenda that includes a new law overhauling oil and gas rules.

That law, in part, prioritizes public safety over oil and gas production when it comes to state regulation.

Meanwhile, Colorado's House has approved a late-session bill to ask Colorado voters to significantly raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products and impose taxes on nicotine vaping devices.

Wednesday's 34-31 vote sends the bill to the Senate. Seven lawmakers from the Democratic majority voted against it.

The initiative would ask voters in November if Colorado's sales tax on cigarettes should increase from 84 cents to $2.59 a pack.

If approved by voters, nicotine vaping devices would be taxed at 62 percent of their wholesale price. So, too, would other tobacco products.

The tax hikes could generate more than $300 million a year for childhood education, tobacco prevention programs and other health services.

Gov. Jared Polis introduced the bill April 24 to combat teenage vaping of nicotine products.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.