Apr 6, 2014 2:00 PM by Maddie Garrett

Key Issues Up for Debate in State Legislature This Week

The Colorado State Legislature is set to meet this week, with some key issues on the table.

On Monday, the House Education Committee will hear a bill to undo part of a teacher-tenure law that divided Democrats four years ago. Some Democrats are concerned that school districts will use the law to improperly fire some teachers, and are asking for the law to be updated. Others are saying the law is working fine and doesn't need to be changed.

The Joint Budget Committee is meeting Tuesday to discuss how to spend marijuana tax money. Lawmakers will consider a proposal by Governor John Hickenlooper. The budget committee is considering marijuana spending separately from the overall state budget.

On Wednesday, a crucial vote is expected on regulations for ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, apps that connect riders to drivers in their personal vehicles. The legislation, being heard in the House Transportation Committee, seeks to put the companies under the oversight of the state's public utilities commission, and clarifies when drivers are covered under their personal car insurance versus company insurance. The bill has already cleared the Senate, but it's drawn strong opposition from taxi companies that feel like they're being unfairly undercut by the new players in the market.

Legislators are also considering new cell phone restrictions for drivers on Thursday. A bill that would require drivers to use hands-free devices to use their cell phones is getting a second look, after it was initially expected to fail. Lawmakers will consider the bill again after the measure's sponsor worked on some amendments. If the bill passes, Colorado would be the 13th state, along with the District of Columbia, to require drivers so use hands-free devices while talking on the phone.

Finally, a recall proposal is up Monday in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee over voting rules. Senate Democrats have voted to update elections rules, despite complaints from minority Republicans that Democrats want to change rules after two Southern Colorado Democrats. Sen. Angela Giron and Sen. John Morse, lost in recall elections last year.



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