Capitol Wrap: Guns, salamanders & civil unions

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DENVER — Six House Democrats joined Republicans in giving final approval to the “Make My Day Better” legislation, which would make it legal for businessowners to shoot and kill threatening intruders to their workplaces.

Oddly, the only Republican to vote against the measure was one of the bill’s two sponsors, Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, who did so by accident.

This measure, which now heads to the Democrat-controlled Senate, is an effort to bolser Colorado’s “Make My Day Law”, which was passed in 1985 and has since allowed homeowners to use deadly force on anyone entering their homes in a threatening or violent manner.

“This bill codifies a fundamental principal that this country was founded upon,” said Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, the bill’s other sponsor.

“People, and in this case, people in the workplace have the right to self defense. This is a bipartisan reminder that we are elected to represent law-abiding citizens.”

The Senate, where Democrats hold a 20-15 seat edge, killed a similar measure last year.

Opponents have argued that the bill could lead to racial profiling and, potentially, unnecessary violence.

Salamander bill also clears House

The one bill so far this session that’s been covered by all four Denver television stations, a proposal driven by a group of young students to make the Western Tiger Salamander Colorado’s official state amphibian, is moving forward.

House Bill 1147, sponsored by Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver, cleared the full House Monday morning and now heads to the state Senate.

“This is such a great way to teach students by showing them how a bill becomes a law,” Williams said. “Seeing their enthusiasm in the legislative process has been truly rewarding. I am looking forward to the Tiger Salamander becoming Colorado’s state amphibian.”

Civil unions hearing set for Wednesday

Senate Democrats have scheduled the first hearing on Senate Bill 2, a proposal to make same-sex civil unions legal in Colorado.

The bill will be heard at 1:30 by the Senate Judiciary Committee; and several LGBT couples, along with people opposed to the proposal, are expected to testify.

With Democrats holding the majority in the Senate and all its committees, the legislation is almost a slam dunk to survive Wednesday’s hearing and eventually move on to the House, where Republicans killed last year’s civil unions legislation.

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