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Lawmakers yesterday unveiled pro-consumer insurance legislation, which included a bill that would require prior approval of health, auto, and homeowners‚€™ and long-term care premiums. A bill enacted last year dropped no-fault insurance for a tort system, but only lowered auto premiums because the state no longer requires personal injury protection coverage of traffic-related medical bills. The new HB1116 would require prior rate approval from the State Insurance Commissioner, and would have the governor appoint a seven-member Colorado Consumer Insurance Board to advise the Commissioner. The bill would also prohibit rates that produce long-term insurance profits in excess of 7%.
Sen. Lewis Entz, of Hooper, has introduced sb40 at the request of the Division of Wildlife to purchase the late Dr. Herman Dieterich's wildlife hospital South of Del Norte. The bill cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday by a 7-0 vote. The bill will now go to the full senate. The DOW would use as much as $1.2 million of Great Outdoors Colorado Lottery funds to purchase the Frisco Creek Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Center. The hospital has been run by Dieterich, a Veterinarian, and his wife Susan for the past 15 years. Dieterich died last spring and his widow has been leasing the property to the DOW and would like to sell the property and 243 acres of surrounding land. The Rio Grande County Commissioners support the plan to buy the animal rescue facility.
A jury in Trinidad has found Adam Gonzales, 20, of Trinidad, guilty of second-degree murder after less than an hour of deliberation yesterday morning. Gonzales was convicted of slaying Gary Garcia, of Trinidad, with a knife after a fight between rival groups took place on December 18th of 2002. The verdict concluded a five-day trial and is District Attorney Frank Ruybalid's first murder conviction since he became District Attorney. Based on the circumstances of the case, District Court Judge George Newnam instructed the jury that it could consider lesser charges of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter as well as second-degree murder. Adam Gonzales never testified in his defense. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 10th.
The closing for the sale of the Baca Ranch to the Nature Conservancy is scheduled for February 10th. The federal government is then expected to compete the buyout of the ranch by October 1st of this year. Eventhough lawsuits that involve the former owners of the Baca Ranch are not scheduled for trial until the end of February, attorneys for the various federal agencies that oversee the ranch are working on a title insurance policy for the closing. The Nature Conservancy‚€™s Medano-Zapata Ranch will also be split up and the Medano Ranch, North of Lane 6, will also eventually become part of the new National Park. Details of that transfer have not been worked out as of yet.
Alamosa County Commissioner Darius Allen was elected Chairman of the Board of Commissioners at the Commission meeting that took place yesterday. Allen succeeds Charlotte Bobicki as Chairman. Bobicki was chosen to serve as Vice Chairman. The County Commissioners elect new officers each year during the first meeting following the New Year.