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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. / 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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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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.

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.