In the final day of legislative action, Colorado lawmakers were forced to voice an "aye" or "nay" in a roll-call vote regarding a proposal to end the state's death penalty and put the savings in a fund to help investigate unsolved murders. By just one vote, state senators voted to retain capital punishment, according to The Denver Post, which chronicles Governor Bill Ritter's first remarks on the death penalty legislation yesterday: "Those are two separate issues, and I told the sponsor of the bill they were wrong to do that. You don't get a pure debate about either." Many lawmakers believe the most important accomplishment of the session was balancing the state budget in tight times, writes The Associated Press. Republicans were critical of the Democratic-controlled Legislature's efforts, though, claiming money has mostly been transferred around and that many new fees have been put in place. In a move expected to generate more than $15 million in revenue for the cash-strapped state, for instance, lawmakers limited capital gains tax breaks, Denver Business Journal reports, provoking criticism from Republicans who called the measure a veiled, unconstitutional tax hike. Other "11th hour" legislative decisions include a ban on drivers from texting and the approval of authorities to take samples of DNA from people who have been arrested but doesn't allow them to process it unless the suspect is charged with a felony, notes The Pueblo Chieftain. "Lost" in the fray were several business-related bills, according to the Journal. And to keep pace, Ritter (pictured) has been signing loads of legislation, as KUNC radio reports.
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