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The Senate Education Committee will hear a Pueblo lawmaker’s proposal today to offer reduced college tuition to illegal immigrants who are educated in Colorado’s schools. Senator Angela Giron, of Pueblo, will present SB15 to the senate panel today. The bill is a retooled version of a bill that she pitched last year. That bill died in the republican-controlled House Education Committee. This year’s version of the bill would create a class of tuition lower than nonresidents pay, but higher than in-state tuition and would give colleges that don’t want to participate the chance to opt out. Representative Tom Massey of Poncha Springs voted against last year’s proposal. He said the changes in this year’s version have made it more palatable to him, and possibly to other republicans. Some opponents have said that the bill would create an incentive for illegal behavior.

Public Policy Polling released a new poll yesterday showing that democratic challenger Sal Pace of Pueblo is trailing incumbent republican U.S. Representative Scott Tipton in the race for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. The survey was conducted over the past week in battleground districts where republican incumbents are vulnerable. Overall, the poll showed democrats hold the upper hand, but voters in the 3rd currently favor Tipton, with 46%, over Pace, with 39%. The poll forecasts that Pace, a state representative, will gain ground as his name recognition grows. The poll showed that Tipton’s approval rating is 36% with 40% of voters giving him low marks. Collectively in the 3rd, 37% of voters polled have a favorable opinion of republicans in the U.S. House, while 49% have an unfavorable opinion of them. 569 registered voters in the 3rd were surveyed. The poll carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

Trinchera Ranch spokesman Cody Wertz said yesterday that the fight over the proposed transmission line that would cross the ranch into the San Luis Valley is continuing. February 1st is the next date for potential developments as Tri-State Generation’s 10-year plan will be released on that date. The plan may or may not affect the company’s plans for a new east-west transmission line into the valley. Wertz said that Tri-State has now had time since Xcel’s announcement that it would back off from the line, so he hopes that Tri-State’s plans might also be altered. Late last year, Xcel told the Colorado Public Utilities Commission that it intended to end its involvement in the proposed project. Wertz said Trinchera would try to remain “open and friendly”, but if Tri-State persisted in its plan for a new transmission line, he said “we will fight Tri-State because we believe there are alternatives”.

Changes in the administration of Alamosa County were announced yesterday during the Alamosa County Commissioners meeting. Larry Henderson, director of the Department of Human Services, announced his retirement. Henderson’s last day will be March 2nd. Mark Garcia, the interim county administrator, said he anticipates a “sound and qualified” candidate pool for the position. Garcia also announced that Juan Altamirano will assume land use management duties within the building and planning department beginning on February 1st. Altamirano will work on changes within the existing land use and development code. Pat Lucero will assume permit technician responsibilities. Lucero will coordinate building and planning information for clients.

Costilla County Commissioner Crestina Martinez has announced that she will officially announce her candidacy for Colorado Senate District 35 at noon on Saturday at the Alamosa County Courthouse, 702 4th Street in Alamosa. Martinez will be joined by Colorado Department of Agriculture Commissioner and former U.S. Congressman John Salazar as well as other supporters. Martinez currently serves on the Costilla County Commission and was appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper to serve on the Colorado State Board of Health. In addition to her work in public service, Martinez raises grass-finished natural cattle and hay at the South Ute Mountain Ranch in San Acacio Viejo with her family.