Hemp, school funding still debated as year’s legislative session wanes

DENVER — Regulating hemp growing, future funding for public schools and offering lower college tuition for the children of parents who came to the state without documentation were a few of the major items the Legislature and governor dealt with Monday.

With barely nine days left before this year’s session ends, the Colorado House approved a measure that would revamp how public schools are funded, but only if voters approve raising income taxes by about 
$1 billion.

That measure, SB213, is designed to increase per-pupil funding to all 178 school districts in the state if voters approve a separate measure that will be placed on this year’s ballot.

Though Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, said the idea has bipartisan support outside of the state Capitol, it didn’t inside.

The measure cleared the House, where the Democrats have the majority, on a 37-28 party-line vote.

Earlier this month, it cleared the Democratic-controlled Senate on a party-line 20-15 vote.

“We clearly reached out to (Republicans) all along the pathway, but I think it just comes down to fundamental differences of opinion as it related to tax increases,” said Hamner, whose district includes the eastern half of Delta County. “There is business support for this, so it’s disappointing to me that we weren’t able to demonstrate that in the two chambers. But there’s still time.”

Finally, the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee gave unanimous approval to a bill to regulate growing hemp in the state, as called for under Amendment 64, which legalized the use of recreational marijuana.

The measure, SB241, was introduced by Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, and Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, whose district includes Delta County.


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