Colorado Senate, House hear hemp, transportation bills

Bill that would allow use of hemp in animal feed moves forward

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Associated Press file

DENVER – Republicans in the Colorado House of Representatives shot back Thursday after House Speaker Crisanta Duran said a day earlier that revenue-neutral proposals were not the answer to the state’s transportation funding woes.

“Speaker Duran’s call for more taxpayer revenue without any offsetting tax reductions is a complete departure from constructive conversations with Republicans, and shows she and the Democrats have given up on a fiscally responsible solution to transportation funding,” Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist, R-Centennial, said in a statement released Thursday by the House GOP.

Duran said Democrats would oppose a revenue-neutral solution that would take money from other areas of need, such as education funding.

In other action Thursday, the Senate and House adopted 31 bills on second reading and three bills passed third reading.Included were 14 supplemental budget appropriation requests for various departments of state government. Supplemental appropriations bills are requests for adjustments to funding to make up for shortfalls in original appropriations.

The bills will receive a third reading in the coming days before being sent to the House.

Also, 26 bills were heard in committees, including Senate Bill 109, which would allow for the use of industrial hemp in animal feed. S.B. 109 was heard in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee and passed unanimously for a second reading before the Senate as a whole.

Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, said the bill is an opportunity for Colorado to support the hemp industry while also supporting rural Colorado, where agriculture is an important part of the economy.

“Agriculture is critical to my district and the state, and anything we can do to diversify and support those small family businesses is exciting,” Donovan said.

lperkins@durangoherald.com