Apr 282005
Authors: Brian Park

Here is a look at what happened over the past week in the state legislature in Denver. The legislature is in its final weeks of meeting, as the legislative session will end May 11.

Senate Bill 170

What It Will Do: Ban cigarette smoking in restaurants throughout the state. Exceptions to the bill include bars, casinos, bingo parlors, offices and 25 percent of a hotel's rooms.

Sponsors: Sen. Dan Grossman, D-Denver; Rep. Mark Larson, R-Cortez

History: Passed in the Senate by a 21-12 vote on Thursday.

What's Next: Introduced into the House of Representatives and assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee.

House Bill 1045

What It Will Do: Make it a misdemeanor traffic offense for a person to use, have or sell a radar-jamming device.

Sponsors: Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora; Rep. Richard Decker, R-Fountain.

History: Gov. Bill Owens signed the bill on Apr. 22.

What's Next: The law will take effect on July 1.

House Bill 1015

What It Will Do: It would make drug and alcohol treatment a Medicaid benefit, enabling people to enter outpatient substance-abuse programs. As of right now, the federal government leaves the decision up to the states to decide. Colorado is one of three states that do not include the treatment in Medicaid.

Sponsors: Sen. Steve Johnson, R-Fort Collins; Rep. Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver.

History: Passed out of the House of Representatives and introduced in the Senate.

What's Next: Awaiting a second reading in the Senate.

Senate Bill 85

What It Will Do: It would allow faculty council at colleges and universities a role in determining whether controversial remarks made by a professor go beyond the limits of academic freedom. This bill is supportive of academic freedom for professors.

Sponsors: Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora; Rep. Angie Paccione, D-Fort Collins.

History: The Senate Education Committee passed the bill at a 4-3 vote with amendments and the bill went through a second reading in the Senate with the amendments included.

What's Next: Waiting for a third reading in the Senate.

Senate Bill 21

What Will It Do: It would give parents 15 hours of unpaid leave a year to attend their children's school events, including conferences and sporting activities. The bill has been amended recently to exempt employers with 50 employees or fewer and now states that parents must schedule their time off at least two weeks before the desired event and would be limited to two hours per event.

Sponsors: Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver; Rep. Terrance Carroll, D-Denver.

History: The Business Affairs and Labor Committee passed the bill with a 10-3 vote on Apr. 25 and passed through a second reading in the House on Apr. 28.

What's Next: Waiting for third reading in the House.

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