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. 

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Capitol Coverage
7:29 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Capitol Conversation: reporters discuss civil unions

A measure to allow civil unions in Colorado is expected to easily pass the state legislature this year, and as Bente Birkeland examines, the tenor of the debate is much different than in previous attempts. As part of our capitol conversation series, she talks to fellow statehouse reporters about the new dynamic, and whether gay marriage will be next on the agenda.

Capitol Coverage
7:50 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Civil Unions bill passes first legislative test

A measure to give Colorado gay couples many of the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples cleared its first committee at the state capitol on Wednesday. After being at the center of a political storm last year, the bill passed easily on a party line vote. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Capitol Coverage
8:23 am
Thu January 24, 2013

In-state tuition bill expected to pass

Supporters of a bill to give illegal immigrant students in-state college tuition expect a full house during the measure’s first committee hearing later today. As Bente Birkeland reports, the bill’s passage is all but certain.


Capitol Coverage
8:37 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Reporters discuss upcoming actions in Legislature

This year’s legislative session got off to a slow start, but that’s about to change. Two of the biggest items for Democrats are scheduled for hearings in the coming days. As part of our capitol conversation series, statehouse Bente Birkeland takes a sneak peek at what to expect.


Capitol Coverage
9:29 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Colorado State Legislature Goes Paperless

The Colorado legislature prints millions of pieces of paper each year, costing the state a hefty sum. But that could soon be a thing of the past. This year in an effort to cut down on costs, each of the 100 lawmakers received new i-Pads. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Capitol Coverage
9:25 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Colorado Dems React to Obama’s Gun Violence Plan

Colorado’s Speaker of the House says he expects lawmakers to act on several of President Barack Obama’s recommendations to curb gun violence. Bente Birkeland reports that Governor John Hickenlooper has also called for a broad discussion on guns during the legislative session.


Capitol Coverage
8:38 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Dems introduce in-state tuition bill for immigrants

Colorado Democrats are once again trying to pass a bill to give illegal immigrants who graduate from Colorado high schools in state college tuition. Students currently pay out of state rates. Similar measures have failed in the past, but supporters expect the bill to easily clear the legislature now that Democrats control both chambers. Bente Berkland has more from the state capitol.


Capitol Coverage
8:33 am
Wed January 16, 2013

First Gun Control Bills Introduced

State lawmakers have already introduced more than 100 bills on a wide variety of topics since the legislature began last Wednesday. From the state capitol, Bente  Birkeland has more on the first of many gun measures.


Capitol Coverage
8:28 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Statehouse Reporters Discuss Hickenlooper's State Address

Nearly a third of this year’s state lawmakers are newly elected, and they’ll be expected to debate a host of complex issues from Medicaid to marijuana, gun laws to the death penalty. As part of our capitol conversation series statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland takes a look at the first week of the session, and gets reporter’s thoughts on the Governor’s state of the state address.


Capitol Coverage
8:54 am
Thu January 10, 2013

State Legislators More Diverse Than Ever

Freshman lawmaker Joseph Salazar-D, Thornton.
Credit Bente Birkeland

Wednesday's opening ceremonies of the Colorado legislature were marked by the typical pomp and circumstance as in years past. But even before it started, the 2013 session made history as one of the most diverse groups of lawmakers ever to gather under the golden dome. Bente  Birkeland has more.


Capitol Coverage
8:43 am
Wed January 9, 2013

State Oil and Gas Agency Considers Setbacks

Members of the Colorado Oil and Gas commission wrap up a three day hearing in Denver today – at stake are new rules to oversee a new boom in oil and gas drilling. At the heart of those rules changing how far a drill rig can be from homes and schools. Bente Birkeland has more.


Capitol Coverage
10:33 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Economic Development Bill Preview

Flanked by Democratic leaders at the statehouse – Governor John Hickenlooper outlined his top job creation priorities for the upcoming legislation session and previewed the first house bill that will be introduced on Wednesday. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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Capitol Coverage
8:41 am
Wed December 26, 2012

House Minority Leader Discusses Leg Session

Republicans in Colorado are coming off a difficult election after losing control of the Colorado state house. Bente Birkeland talked to the next house minority leader Republican Mark Waller to see how he’ll motivate his caucus during the session and work with Democrats.


Capitol Coverage
8:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Relatives of Aurora shooting victims urge gun control

A handful of victims from this summer’s Aurora theater shooting were at the state capitol on Friday urging lawmakers to curb gun violence. Victims say the country needs to take action now. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol. 

Capitol Coverage
8:58 am
Fri December 14, 2012

CO Secretary of State Faces Another Inquiry

The state audit committee is the latest group to look into whether Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler misused public funds. The bi-partisan committee voted unanimously on Thursday to move forward with an initial investigation. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Capitol Coverage
8:30 am
Wed December 12, 2012

State Commission Considers Oil and Gas Setbacks

Drilling rig in Western Colorado.

Energy regulators in Colorado are examining whether to increase the distance between oil and gas drilling sites and buildings such as schools and homes. They’re also considering a water-testing requirement that would need to be done before and after drilling takes place.


Capitol Coverage
8:29 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Marijuana Now Legal in Colorado

It’s now legal to smoke marijuana in Colorado. Governor John Hickenlooper certified the election results of amendment 64 on Monday, which allows people over age 21 to grow and smoke small amounts of pot. And as Bente Birkeland reports, the Governor also signed an executive order creating a marijuana task force to help state lawmakers craft new regulations.


Capitol Coverage
8:34 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Governor Hickenlooper Q&A

In our regular sit down with Governor John Hickenlooper, he gives his take on statewide marijuana regulations, and explains why he doesn't think the industry will be booming in the coming months. He also tells statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland why he's not sold on a major overhaul to the state's child welfare system in the wake of child fatalities.


Capitol Coverage
8:38 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Ski Resorts Won't Allow Marijuana Use

Governor John Hickenlooper still has roughly a month to certify the results of the November election. And when he does, it’ll be legal for Coloradans over 21 to smoke recreational marijuana. For the moment, most businesses are taking a wait and see approach. The state’s ski resorts are one industry that doesn't expect its policies to change any time soon. Bente  Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Capitol Coverage
10:01 am
Wed December 5, 2012

New State Senate President Previews Session

Democratic senator John Morse will take over as the next senate president in January. He previously served as the majority leader. Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland sat down with him to talk about how he sees his new role and his hopes for the legislative session.


Capitol Coverage
11:15 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Historic Number of LGBT Lawmakers Elected

During the November 6th election, Americans elected more gay and lesbian lawmakers than ever before. And in states like Wisconsin, Oregon and Colorado, gay and lesbian officials will hold some of the highest positions of power. Bente Birkeland takes a closer look at what’s driving the change.


Election 2012
10:14 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Civil Unions Impact on Statehouse

Credit http://www.fightback-co.com/home / Fight Back Colorado

Civil unions supporters in Colorado won big during last week’s election – successfully targeting and ousting three Republican lawmakers over their opposition to civil unions. And as Bente Birkeland reports, many in the GOP feel the issue contributed to their losses.


Capitol Coverage
10:28 am
Fri November 9, 2012

CO Dems Select First Openly Gay Man as House Speaker

Colorado Democrats made history on Thursday by selecting the first openly gay man to be the speaker of the state house of representatives. Bente  Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Capitol Coverage
9:46 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Democrats Take Back Control of State Legislature

Democrats now have control of both chambers of the Colorado state legislature.

Democrats now have control of both chambers of the Colorado state legislature, putting the GOP in the backseat when it comes to next legislative session. Republican had hoped to expand their one-seat advantage in the house of representatives. Bente Birkeland has more from Denver.


Capitol Coverage
9:41 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Colorado Legalizes Marijuana

It’s now legal in Colorado for people over the age of 21 to smoke marijuana recreationally. Voters passed amendment 64 making Colorado the first state in the country, along with Washington State, to legalize pot. Bente Birkeland has more from Denver.


Capitol Coverage
10:55 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Republicans Have Early Voting Edge

Credit Flicr user: Vectorportal / Flicr Creative Commons

Today is Election Day. As of yesterday, Republicans in Colorado held a 2-point lead in early voting. The trend marks a contrast from the presidential election of four years ago when Democrats had the early voting edge. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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POLITICS
1:14 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Presidential Ground Game Heats Up

Credit Flicr user: Vectorportal / Flicr Creative Commons

Both presidential campaigns are working overtime in the home stretch to try to mobilize their bases and get voters to the polls. In Colorado, where the race is seen as a tossup, the ground game will be especially important. Bente Birkeland talked with grassroots volunteers from both campaigns out on the front lines.

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Capitol Coverage
12:07 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Capitol Coverage: Wildfire Preparedness

A new statewide coalition is trying to make Colorado homeowners and communities better prepared for wildfires. The group is hosting three trainings for people who are rebuilding and repairing damaged homes. KVNF’s Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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