FOX 31’s Eli Stokols reports:
Among dozens of bills introduced on the opening day of the 2012 legislature Wednesday are proposals to recognize same-sex civil unions and give a reduced tuition rate to undocumented students.
As FOX 31 Denver was first to report, the civil unions legislation, now known as Senate Bill 2, will start in the Senate, which passed the bill last year, as the sponsor, Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, looks for a Republican co-sponsor in the House, where a GOP-controlled committee killed the measure last year.
The in-state tuition proposal has been re-worked and altered — some would say, “watered down” — and introduced as Senate Bill 15.
Noting that his bill number is that of Colorado’s man of the moment, bill sponsor Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, tweeted Wednesday that he hopes Tim “Tebow magic” will get the bill over the hump this year.
After House Republicans voted this bill down last year, Johnston and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, a co-sponsor made some major changes to this year’s version: reducing the tuition break undocumented students could receive and allowing colleges and universities to opt out.
The new version of last year’s ASSET bill to help undocumented students attending Colorado colleges indeed has made some interesting changes in hopes of winning GOP support, and all eyes will be on House Republicans–especially Rep. Robert Ramirez, assuming the bill reaches him–who expressed some remorse over the bill’s defeat in committee in 2011. Likewise with the new civil unions bill, where there will be more pressure than ever before on declared opponent Speaker Frank McNulty to not route the bill to a “kill committee.” And if he does, one, maybe two Republican committee member(s) whose conscience can be swayed…
It’s been suggested that in our prior discussion of the new Republican pro-civil unions group Coloradans for Freedom, we may have unfairly presumed political or otherwise cynical motivations. With polling on the issue the subject of major generational shift to support, equal rights for gays and lesbians becomes one of a number of issues, like immigration policy (see above) that threaten to leave the GOP with an agenda permanently alienating to a growing majority of voters. But beyond that, we feel obligated to consider the possibility that Republicans are genuinely responding to conscience in their newfound moderation on the issue.
On a certain level, proponents shouldn’t care which it is. But it’s important for posterity.
P.S. Can someone in the legislature please demand a moratorium on Tim Tebow references?