With session half over, Hickenlooper renews push for felony DUI law

March 12, 2015
Photo: John Hickenlooper in Washington (AP Photo)
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper gestures while he speaks at the opening news conference at the National Governors Winter Meeting in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. 

bipartisan bill which creates a felony charges for repeat drunk drivers at a news conference Wednesday that marks the halfway point of the state legislative session.

Hickenlooper threw his support behind the felony DUI bill in his State of the State address. But the bill is currently hung up in the state House, as lawmakers wait to see how next year’s budget shapes up.

The cost of the legislation is a big concern to lawmakers; state analysts project that the bill could cost from $4 million to $13 million a year.

"I think if you were to ask the public and do an instant poll on it, they would say, with the all the things you’re looking at, this is would be something that should be funded," Hickenlooper said Wednesday.

However, governor’s proposed budget for next year, which was released last November, does not include any money to pay for felony DUIs. Hickenlooper acknowledged that the spending plan should have set aside some funds, but says uncertainty over the cost makes it hard to plan for the policy.

Overall, Hickenlooper offered a relatively upbeat assessment of the work getting done by the Republican Senate and Democratic House.

He said he's still trying to negotiate funding for undocumented immigrant drivers licenses and revisions to Colorado’s construction defects liability law. But Hickenlooper said he won't back a bill to ban red light traffic cameras or repealing ammunition magazines restrictions.

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