#Coleg Notebook: Funding the felony DUI, and voting on pot taxes (again)

Funding the felony DUI 

With only $5 million in new spending available to each legislative chamber because of this year’s expected TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights) refunds, bill-pitching quickly has turned into a fiscal defense as much as a policy debate.

Reps. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, and Beth McCann, D-Denver, seem to know how it’s done. They got their pricey felony DUI bill through the finance committee on Wednesday after changing the policy so that the felony kicks in on an offender’s forth DUI rather than the third. That brought the cost of the policy down by a $1 million to $1.4 million in the first year. Here they are, making their pitch:

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Sen. Steadman has a plan for your pot taxes 

Due to the mind-boggling intricacies of TABOR, lawmakers are gearing up to ask Colorado voters/ taxpayers if they can keep revenue from recreational pot taxes for the third time. Joint budget committee member Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, took the lead on this one. He’s drafting a bill that would put the pot tax question on voters’ ballots and tell them exactly what the state would do with that $58 million if they get to keep it.

Steadman previewed the bill on Wednesday in a discussion that was as much about strategizing around voters’ perceptions as it was about how to spend the money. So far it looks like at least $40 million would go to school construction, a move voters already approved when they voted for high sales taxes on recreational weed in the first place.

It’s always ladies’ month at #Coleg 

March is women’s history month and lawmakers are using the opportunity to point out that Colorado women in politics are making history.

Photo by Nathan Rupert