After six years in the minority, Republicans are once again in control of the Colorado House, splitting the legislature for the first time in 10 years and vowing to "stick to their conservative principles," writes The Associated Press. After Highlands Ranch Republican Frank McNulty, the newly minted speaker of the House, and House Minority Leader Sal Pace, a Pueblo Democrat, delivered their opening-session remarks, early "drama" ensued, reports The Denver Post, with Dems expressing anger over changes to committee names.
But the big news came as the lawmakers began filing their proposals, with Republicans giving a solid indication of their aims for the legislative session ahead by introducing dozens of bills that would do everything from reduce health care services for the poor to reinstate tax breaks. Democrats, meanwhile, are expected to file bills that could allow undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition and grant same-gender couples the right to civil unions, according to the Post.
Senator Ted Harvey, a Highlands Ranch Republican, and Representative Chris Holbert, a Parker Republican, have introduced a bill that would require people registering to vote to provide proof of citizenship (a passport, birth certificate, or certain other documents). Representative Spencer Swalm, a Centennial Republican, and Senator Kevin Lundberg, a Berthoud Republican, seek to create income-tax credits for parents whose children attend private schools or are home-schooled. The Denver Business Journal rounds up all the relevant bills with an economic theme, including one that would allow companies with 50 or fewer employees to reimburse workers for the cost of health insurance—even if the company doesn't offer it.
Elsewhere on the economic front, Representative Matt Jones, a Louisville Democrat, wants to require certified public accountants to take an ethics course and have one year of experience or 30 hours of additional study in order to be licensed, while Senator Shawn Mitchell, a Broomfield Republican, wants to terminate state-employee unions that have been formed since 2007, effectively banning the future unionization of state workers.
Jones also would like to create low-interest government-administered loan programs for financing energy efficiency and renewable-energy improvements to small businesses, points out the Longmont Daily Times-Call, which notes that Representative Glenn Vaad, a Mead Republican, wants to allow some counties that have attained proper air-quality standards to opt out of the state's mandatory vehicle-emissions inspections program. And the first education bill of 2011 aims to sweep up "excess" state revenues, using them to offset cuts in K-12 funding, writes Education News Colorado.