Both chambers of the Legislature are closed Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Lawmakers have been asked to participate in service projects to mark the day, though a few lawmakers are traveling to southeast Colorado to tour a former prison being repurposed as a treatment center for the homeless.
Legal recognition for same-sex couples twice failed in the divided Legislature last year. With both chambers now under Democratic control, and additional Republicans backing civil unions, the bill's first hearing Wednesday shouldn't be suspenseful. A civil unions bill could be on the governor's desk before spring.
A Democratic proposal to extend in-state college tuition rates to illegal immigrants who were brought to this country as children faces its first test. The Senate Education committee takes up the measure Thursday. Democrats anticipate easy passage for the measure now that Democrats control the Legislature. Still, expect the immigrant tuition proposal to generate plenty of debate.
Another long-simmering debate resurfaces in the Senate this week when two union-related measures go to a first hearing. One of the measures would force local governments to allow collective bargaining by professional firefighters, a measure that was vetoed by a former governor. The other union bill is a Republican-sponsored measure clarifying that Colorado employers can't require union membership. Expect heated discussion on both.
A bipartisan proposal would extend $2,500 tax credits to homeowners in fire-prone areas who perform mitigation measures such as trimming trees and shrubs. The extension is up for its first review Tuesday in a House committee. Given last year's destructive Colorado wildfires, expect extra attention for a bill that would typically generate little debate.
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