Bente Birkeland

Capitol Coverage Reporter

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for Rocky Mountain Community Radio stations, including KVNF, since 2006. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May, covering important bills, discussions, and the positions of our state legislators. Key stories for KVNF listeners she has covered this year include the state budget, proposed oil and gas legislation, and the passage of the Cottage Foods Act.

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NEWS
8:15 am
Fri August 30, 2013

DOJ Decision Means Banking Is The Next Challenge For Colorado Marijuana

Credit The Equinest via Flickr (CC)

The U.S. Department of Justice says it won’t stop marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. Thursday’s announcement means Colorado’s pot shops could open as early as January.

“I’m really pretty ecstatic with this announcement. It signals a very positive shift on marijuana laws,” said Brian Vicente with Amendment 64 supporter Sensible Colorado. “This really answers the unanswered question for years, what happens if Colorado legalizes Marijuana?”

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NEWS
9:52 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Ahead Of Vote, Colorado Marijuana Taxes A Source Of Debate

Cannabis plants
Credit UKhomeoffice via Flickr (CC)

This fall voters across Colorado will decide how recreational marijuana should be taxed.

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NEWS
10:14 am
Tue August 6, 2013

Supporters of K-12 Funding Overhaul Turn in Signatures

Colorado State Capitol
Credit J. Stephen Conn (CC-NC)

A measure asking Colorado voters if they want to raise income taxes by nearly $1 billion a year to pay for public school upgrades is a step closer to the November ballot. KUNC's Bente Birkeland reports.

Update Monday 12:30 p.m. - Supporters of the measure turned in roughly 160,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's office - more than twice the amount required by law.

Democratic senator Mike Johnston of Denver sponsored the underlying legislation. He says gone are the days when the state simply asks voters for a blank check.

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NEWS
9:18 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Education Funding Initiative Seeks A Spot On The Ballot

Early childhood education students at William Roberts Elementary School in Denver learning about native and historic wildlife species
Credit USFWS Mountain Prairie (CC)

A roughly billion-dollar tax increase is likely to go before voters this fall. It’s part of a larger package of education reform that state lawmakers passed last session.

Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) is helping to spearhead the latest initiative. He also took the lead two years ago on an unsuccessful education tax increase to raise several billion dollars for K through 12 schools and higher education.

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Capitol Coverage
6:56 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Oil and Gas Conflict of Interest Bill Moves Forward

Bills on oil and gas and fracking are expected to dominate the latter part of the state's legislative session. A measure to change the makeup of the agency that regulates the energy industry drew a large crowd at the capitol on Thursday. As Bente Birkeland reports, it cleared its first committee.

Listen to Bente's report.

NEWS
6:45 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Senate Debates Budget

The only requirement for Colorado lawmakers during the annual legislative session is passing a budget. And unlike previous years there won’t be cuts for programs like K through 12 schools, state contractors and public employees. But as Bente Birkeland reports, debate in the senate yesterday was still extensive.

Listen to Bente's report.

Capitol Coverage
7:33 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Death Penalty Repeal Fails

A bill to repeal Colorado’s death penalty died in a committee hearing over concerns that Governor John Hickenlooper would veto the bill. Last week the Governor told Democratic lawmakers he had serious reservations about the measure. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

Listen to Bente's report.

Capitol Conversation
6:37 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Capitol Conversation

A major re-write of how Colorado funds K through 12 schools is now making its way through the state legislature. As part of our capitol conversation series Bente Birkeland talks about how it would change school funding and its prospects for passage.

Listen to the conversation.

Capitol Coverage
7:15 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Bill to Repeal Death Penalty Set to Drop Friday

A bill to repeal the death penalty in Colorado is expected to be introduced Friday. It's one of a host of issues likely to dominate the second part of the legislative session. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

Listen to Bente's story.

Capitol Coverage
8:21 am
Thu March 14, 2013

High Capacity Magazine Ban Heads to Governor

One of the most controversial Democratic gun bills at the statehouse is now headed to the Governor for his signature. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

Listen to Bente's story.

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