DENVER — A plan to refocus Colorado's oil and gas regulations on health and safety passed its second milestone in the Legislature and has another hearing scheduled before the Senate appropriations committee Friday morning.

On Thursday, after seven hours of testimony, SB19-181 passed the Senate Finance Committee with a vote of 4-3.  

On Tuesday, a state Senate committee held the first hearing on the legislation backed by majority Democrats that would change the state's top priority from promoting oil and gas to protecting human health and safety and would give local governments authority over the location of new wells, a power now held by state regulators.

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Supporters of a plan told lawmakers at Tuesday's hearing that the measure is a flexible, common-sense approach to dealing with frequent conflicts over health and safety. 

Opponents said it goes too far and could lead to a virtual ban on drilling in some areas.

The bill has a hearing before the Senate Appropriations committee scheduled for Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. Sen. Steve Fenberg (D-District 18), the bill's primary sponsor, said previously it could go through six hearings before final votes in the House and Senate. 

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