Many Monkeys Went Into This Gravy

Raise your hand if you’re tired of hearing about Amendment 41. The rest of you will hate this first story.

A bipartisan group of legislators have drafted a bill to make adjustments to Amendment 41, as Myung Oak Kim of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

Children of government employees could accept scholarships and lobbyists could socialize with public officials under a bill that seeks to clarify the controversial gift-ban law known as Amendment 41.

The proposal, expected to be introduced early next week, is designed to prevent a host of unintended consequences of the law approved by voters in November.

It does so by listing a handful of exemptions, including allowing CU professors to take Nobel Prize money and spouses of slain police officers to accept donations.

It also inserts language that more closely ties a gift to its intended effect.

For instance, the bill would allow a lobbyist to take a Colorado Department of Transportation worker out to lunch if their relationship is purely personal. But a lobbyist could not take a CDOT official out to lunch if he’s trying to peddle a road contract, according to lawyer Mark Grueskin, a key drafter of the bill.

The bill is expected to be sponsored by Rep. Rosemary Marshall, D-Denver, and Sen. Steve Ward, R-Littleton.

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A House committee yesterday approved a measure to abolish the death penalty in Colorado, though the road to a new law is far from over. Colorado Confidential’s Cara DeGette has the story:

In what Rep. Paul Weissmann described as a “convergence of ideas,” his bill to abolish the death penalty in Colorado and divert the money to a cold case unit to solve an estimated 1,200 unsolved murders ultimately sailed out of a Wednesday legislative committee hearing.

The 7-4 vote followed four hours of emotional testimony from the families and friends of murder victims, many of whom displayed photographs and described heinous crimes that had been committed – and noted that the killers have never been apprehended. Many underscored how the murder investigations had, over time, taken a back seat to other, higher-profile cases.

Despite longtime pleas by victims’ families, Colorado does not have a cold case unit to investigate unsolved murders and other crimes. Weissmann’s proposal, HB 1094, would divert $650,000 a year – money generated from abolishing the death penalty – to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to establish a cold case unit.

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If you haven’t followed the bizarre county politics in Jefferson County

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Jason Bane

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