Hundreds crowd Capitol for hearing on sex ed changes

A hearing for a sex-ed bill drew a crowd that filled the state Capitol’s largest hearing room as well as two overflow rooms and the hall outside in January.

House Bill 1032, the comprehensive sex education bill that drew hundreds of angry conservatives to the state Capitol in protest, may fall victim to what happened last week when the House and Senate agreed on a $70 million boost to transportation.

The bill got its first hearing in the House Health and Insurance Committee on Jan. 30 and by Feb. 19 was on its way to the Senate.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved it on Feb. 28 and sent it on to Senate Appropriations, along with its $1 million general fund price tag.

Bill advances in Senate: Committee Chair Sen. Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada explained to Colorado Politics the problems that the sex ed bill, and any other bill with a general-fund cost of more than $25,000, has in the waning days of the 2019 session.

On Thursday, the Joint Budget Committee, which will act as the conference committee on the Long Appropriations Bill — Senate Bill 207 — will have to figure out where in the couch cushions they will find the $70 million that House and Senate leaders agreed to last week as a one-time boost to transportation.

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That problem has been exacerbated by a revenue forecast released last month that dropped revenue expectations by $250 million, and an agreement to fund the $175 million price tag for free full-day kindergarten, the top legislative priority for Gov. Jared Polis.

That bill — House Bill 1262 — cleared the House Education Committee on Tuesday on a unanimous vote.

Its Democratic prime sponsor, Rep. Barbara McLachlan of Durango, told Colorado Politics on Wednesday that she hopes the bill will be in House Appropriations on Friday.

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