Teacher funding, cough syrup restrictions, LGBTQ rights, harassment, beer headline busy week at state Capitol

DENVER — The General Assembly is entering the home stretch as it will adjourn in a few weeks.

As a result, a number of high-profile bills and debates are slated for discussion.

Teacher funding

Later this week, thousands of teachers are expected to descend upon the state Capitol to further highlight the need for more education funding and better pension reform.

On Monday, Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran stressed what lawmakers are already doing for teachers this year — including working on paying down the negative factor and giving teacher shortages a spending boost.

“We are doing as much as we possible can to invest in schools, teachers and our students,” Duran said. “Unfortunately, in many ways our hands are tied because we need new revenue.”

Regarding pension reform, Duran has said this was always going to be a “tough” discussion.

Harassment scandal

New bombshell allegations surrounding State Sen. Randy Baumgardner have surfaced again.

KUNC has reported an outside investigator has found more allegations against Baumgardner to be credible.

The report finds Baumgardner earned the nickname of “boob grabber” and that he created a hostile work environment for Senate staffers.

The timing of the report has also created controversy.

According to KUNC, the report was filed on March 30. With the vote to expel Baumgardner on April 2, the question is why was the vote held without this report being public knowledge.

Republican leadership has denied it had the latest Baumgardner report before the expulsion vote, which allowed Baumgardner to stay in office.

Cough syrup

Lawmakers are expected to advance Monday a bill restricting the sale of cough syrup to individuals 18 years of age or older.

There is a growing trend of high school students using cough syrup to get high.

Beer controversy

Beer controversy is back at the state Capitol.

Two years after lawmakers passed a sweeping beer sales bill, lawmakers are working on legislation that would regulate the transition from 3.2 percent beer being sold at convenience stores in the state to full-strength beer.

The issue is expected to be hotly contested.

LGBTQ rights 

Republican lawmakers in the state Senate are expected to defeat a conversion therapy ban Monday.

The practice, which has been called “torture” by some LGBTQ groups, has been previously defeated in the Republican-controlled Senate in previous years.

Previously gay individuals claim the service works.  Conversion therapy attempts to “convert” individuals to heterosexuality.

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