Divisive Colo. labor measure advances

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DENVER (AP) -- A labor question that threatens to fracture Colorado Democrats is closer to a showdown. A Democratic House committee voted 7-4 Monday to move ahead with a measure to expand labor rights for firefighters, despite uncertainty about whether the Democratic governor would veto the bill.

The bill would expand labor rights for firefighters even in localities that have voted to bar them from organizing.

The proposal has strong Democratic backers. But Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper had threatened to veto the measure, as did his Democratic predecessor. Democratic sponsors weakened the bill to require only that local governments talk with firefighters about working conditions. It was far from clear whether the change would be enough to change Hickenlooper's mind.

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