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Investments bill finally moves, after push from the Post

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DENVER — Behold the power of the press.

After languishing in limbo for over a month, legislation to allow local governments to reinvest in downgraded securities flew through the state House and Senate in just a week and is now on its way to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk.

What happened?

The Denver Post’s Tim Hoover wrote an article — that’s what.

“Put in simple terms, Colorado taxpayers lose out on $164,383 every day House Bill 1005 isn’t signed into law, yet the legislation has languished on the floor of the state House for weeks,” wrote Hoover in his lede sentence on Feb. 29.

As Hoover explained, the legislation aimed to bypass a statute that was preventing counties and other local governments from investing in government-backed securities that have been downgraded — even though such investments continue to produce high earnings.

Democrats had been unsuccessful in getting the Republican House majority to bring the bill to the floor. But after the article in the Post, the bill was fast-tracked through the House. Lawmakers took less than four minutes to debate and approve the bill on the floor.

In a press release following that vote, House Democrats couldn’t resist poking Republicans for letting the bill “gather dust” for so long.

On Wednesday, the Senate followed suit, giving final, unanimous approval to the measure with a 35-0 vote and sending it to Hickenlooper for a signature.

Hickenlooper is out of town Wednesday but Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia signed the bill into law late in the day.
Owen Loftus, a spokesman for Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty, told FOX31 Denver that the bill had been put on hold due to concerns about it, and that Hoover’s article wasn’t the reason it finally moved forward.
But a statement from McNulty issued Wednesday afternoon didn’t address that question, instead pushing back at the Democrats’ contention that this bill’s ultimate passage amounts to a big windfall for Colorado cities and counties.
“The last time Senate Democrats moved a bill that fast they passed the Dirty Dozen tax increases,” McNulty said. “Hundreds of millions of dollars sucked out of job creation and dumped into government coffers. I’m more worried about job creation and economic recovery than feathering government bank accounts.”
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