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Colorado Sen. President starting session off with transportation bill

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DENVER -

The Colorado state legislature will convene on Wednesday for the 2nd regular session of the 71st General Assembly. 

Among some of the items on the agenda: Reform for the Public Employee's Retirement Association (PERA), education funding, rural broadband, and transportation funding.

For Senate Republicans, the first priority is funding for transportation, with plans to introduce a bill on the 1st day of the session. 

'The bill is nothing unfamiliar, it's something we have seen in the past we will try to take some of this extra revenue that we've seen over these last couple forecasts and we will try to attach that to a bonding measure,' said Grantham. 

Other short-term legislation for transportation funding has made its way through the legislature, lawmakers have still spent time trying to come up with a long-term solution. 

The bill Senate Republicans plan to introduce would include voters approving a bond costing between $3-3.5 billion, with payments of $250-350 million each year. 

'We have the money right now in our budget, we have a good revenue forecast, we have the money available to bond, so we could actually take care of that this session,' said Senate President Kevin Grantham. 

Some of the projects Grantham mentioned included the I-25 widening project of 'the gap' between Monument and Castle Rock. 

'We're already behind and we're trying to fix projects that we should've fixed 10 years ago,' said Grantham, who added that both parties have addressed the need for transportation funding, 'we can only make the effort, there's a lot of folks that have differing opinions on what money should be spent for,' said Grantham. 

In addition to several items on the agenda, the legislature is returning after a handful of reports regarding sexual harassment among representatives and senators. 

Both parties came together to address the issue last year, announcing plans to hire a human resources director and a 3rd party analysis group. 

'We'll probably be seeing some action with that [hiring] within the next 2-3 weeks at least on the HR director, and putting out the RFP for the 3rd party analysis,' said Grantham. 

On Tuesday, House Speaker Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) announced Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton) and Rep. Paul Rosenthal (D-Denver), two legislators accused of sexual harassment would no longer be serving as Chairman and Vice Chairman on the Local Government Committee. 

Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont) will serve as the new chairman, and Rep. Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs) will serve as the vice chairman. 

Additionally, Rep. Lebsock will no longer serve on the Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources Committee. 

New leadership changes in the Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources committee include vice chairwoman of the Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee: Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo) she replaces Rep.Diane Mitsch Bush, who resigned from her post last year to run for congress.

Other additions to the committee include Reps. Dylan Roberts (D-Eagle), who replaced Mitsch Bush's seat, and Dominique Jackson, (D-Aurora). 

Rep. Faith Winter (D-Westminster) will move up from Vice Chairwoman to Mitsch Bush's position as chairwoman of the Transportation & Energy Committee. 

The new vice chairwoman is Rep. Barbara McLachlan (D-Durango), Rep. Dylan Roberts (D-Eagle) joins the committee as well. 

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