The Latest: Republicans will fight for road funding
DENVER (AP) — The Latest on opening day of the Colorado legislative session (all times local):
Minority Republicans in the Colorado House will fight for road funding without raising taxes, closely examine Medicaid spending and seek to cut government regulation.
That’s the word from Minority Leader Patrick Neville on Wednesday’s first day of the 2018 Colorado Legislative session.
Democrats have hinted that nearly $1 billion in unanticipated funds expected for the new budget year will be spent on a number of issues, including education.
Neville insists roads take priority — and that those funds be used to issue bonds to address a $9 billion transportation backlog, as well as new projects.
He says there’s no reason why nearly all of the new revenue shouldn’t go to widening highways, adding lane miles throughout the state and rebuilding traditional infrastructure.
The Republican leader in the Colorado House of Representatives is welcoming reforms to workplace harassment policy at the state Capitol.
But House Minority Leader Patrick Neville also insists there should be due process for those accused.
On the opening day of the new legislative session Wednesday, Neville said he shares a sense of outrage about stories of bad behavior. However, he said that when accusations are made in the building where state law is made, due process must be followed so the complaints are fairly and objectively handled.
A number of investigations are continuing into alleged wrongdoing by lawmakers in both chambers. While top Democrats have called on at least one lawmaker — Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock — to resign, GOP leaders have said that confidential investigations into formal complaints should be allowed to play out.
Lawmakers have undertaken a review of the Legislature’s workplace harassment policy.
Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran says a state Capitol culture that allows workplace harassment must change.
The Denver Democrat drew applause in declaring on Wednesday’s opening day that “there is no place for harassment, hate speech or discrimination in this chamber.”
She and other legislative leaders are reviewing the Legislature’s workplace harassment policy after allegations of sexual harassment against a handful of lawmakers in both the state House and Senate.
Duran said people in the United States are speaking out like never before about harassment, sexism and discrimination.
She said “Let our actions show that the intolerable will be tolerated no more.”
Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Senate President Kevin Grantham have gaveled in the 2018 legislative session.
Lawmakers confront the tasks of roads and schools funding and shoring up the state pension fund, among other issues, in this election year.
They also convened Wednesday amid ongoing investigations into sexual harassment — and a review of the Legislature’s sexual harassment policy.
Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock of Thornton, accused by fellow Democratic Rep. Faith Winter of sexual harassment, stoically said “Here” during roll call. Winter invited two other women who have also accused Lebsock of harassment to join her for opening day.
Lebsock denies the charges. An investigation is ongoing.
Term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper delivers his final state of the state address on Thursday.