As the state legislature approaches the May 6 end of session, some bills are being signed into law while others are meeting their maker. Here's a look at some of the developments:
• Senate Bill 186: Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed a bill that will exempt yoga teacher trainers from state regulations and fees for occupational schools. Yogis argued successfully that such regulation wasn't appropriate for yoga, since few teachers are full-time.
• Senate Bill 15: After receiving almost unanimous support from the legislature, a bill aimed at helping kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder was signed by Hickenlooper. It ensures that health insurance plans governed by the state of Colorado cover autism in the same way they cover other conditions. The bill should make early-intervention treatments more accessible to autistic children. "If we get these kids treatment early on, it could change their entire lives," its sponsor, Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, stated in a press release.
• House Bill 110: Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee killed this Democrat-sponsored bill, which would have allowed teachers to deduct a limited amount of out-of-pocket expenses for books and other school supplies from state income taxes. Teachers often say they spend their own money to provide educational materials.
• House Bill 1265: Senate Republicans in the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee killed a bill that would have allowed transgender people to get a new Colorado birth certificate reflecting their gender identity. Currently, transgender people can get an amended birth certificate if they've undergone gender-confirmation surgery and received a court order, but many transgender people don't want or can't afford surgery, and some say that even an amended birth certificate can invite discrimination, including from prospective employers. On the other hand, some legislators argued that a new birth certificate would rewrite history.
• House Bill 1115: On Friday, the House passed on second reading a measure that would make it a crime to photograph or record someone who has a "reasonable expectation of privacy." The bill is largely aimed at drones and other emerging technologies and would create a misdemeanor for intentionally photographing or recording another person without consent in situations where privacy is assumed. The Colorado Press and Broadcasters associations oppose the bill due to its lack of definition regarding which violators could be charged.
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