Native cactus next state symbol?
DENVER — Move over Rocky Mountain columbine, Colorado blue spruce and yule marble. There may be a new state symbol coming to town.
The kingcup cactus.
Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock, introduced a bill into the 2014 legislative session, which started last week, to make the echinocereus triglochidiatus the official state cactus.
The bill is one of 151 bills introduced during the first week of the session.
In her measure, Murray explains that the kingcup, known by its flat pear-shaped body and bright red flowers, is native to Colorado and one of the easiest varieties of cacti to grow, particularly in the arid Southwest.
Like measures to name the Western painted turtle and the uule marble as the state’s official reptile and rock, this effort is being pushed by a Girl Scout Troop from Douglas County.
It is only one of several relatively noncontroversial measures that lawmakers are considering this session, typical during an election year.
Already there are six new license plates bills, three of which would add to the already long list of specialty plates the state has, such as plates to support the horse, share the road and support, well, just about everything.
Two of those new license plates are being sponsored by local lawmakers.
Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, wants to get a new Scottish-American license plate, while Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, is pushing for an Emergency Medical Services plate.
Sen. Bernie Herpin, R-Colorado Springs, who replaced former Democratic Senate President John Morse in a recall election last fall over controversial gun control laws, introduced a bill to create a license plate for the USS Colorado submarine.
Meanwhile, Scott and Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, introduced a bill to exempt military veterans from having to pay the $50 fee to get a military veterans license plate.
Another lawmaker, Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, is trying to do the same thing for veterans who want to get the state’s distinguished cross plate.
Only Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, introduced a bill to eliminate one of those plates, the one that state legislators can display on their vehicles.
More meaty measures that local lawmakers introduced include a measure partly sponsored by Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, and Rep. Jared Wright, R-Fruita.
That measure, SB21, would continue a legislative oversight committee that is looking at mental health issues as they relate to the criminal and juvenile justice system.
That committee was formed last year in response to the shootings at an Aurora movie theater.
Though it has little chance of clearing the House Judiciary Committee, Wright also has a measure, HB1041, that would eliminate the law requiring gun owners who want to have concealed weapons from having to get a license to do so.
Wright also is a House sponsor of SB37, which would prohibit recipients of public benefits from accessing those benefits from automated teller machines located at marijuana stores.
State law already bars that at gambling establishments, firearms dealers and liquor stores.
King also has introduced SB13, a bill that would allow a person who is eligible for old-age pension funds to receive up to $300 a month in gifts, grants or donations without reducing the amount of pension benefits from such earnings.
Baumgardner and Rep. Robert Rankin, R-Glenwood Springs, introduced HB1071 that would suspend the use of a new triangular green and white state branding logo that Gov. John Hickenlooper has spearheaded, and refer the use of it to voters.
In his State of the State address, Hickenlooper said that 200 Colorado companies have requested the right to use the brand, which is designed to help attract economic development to the state. He said 117 companies are already using it.
Republicans have criticized Hickenlooper for pushing that branding logo, in part because it cost the state about $800,000 to develop.