Capitol Coverage

The Capitol Coverage Project is an effort of Rocky Mountain Community Radio, a group of non-commercial public and community radio stations mainly in Colorado, with stations in Utah and New Mexico.

For the past nine years the project has provided daily news reports from sessions of the Colorado State Legislature. The reports are provided to all participating stations.

Decisions made by our elected state representatives and senators impact every resident of Colorado. The Capitol Coverage Project seeks to inform and engage radio listeners in this decision-making process.

Project staff are Project Coordinator Delaney Utterback, Reporter Bente Birkeland and Technical Coordinator Jon Lybrook. Click here for a list of participating stations.

The gun debate that riveted the state capitol in 2013, once again took center stage Monday. Fewer people came to the capitol to testify on a key gun bill than the last round, but emotions were still strong.

Could closing time change for your local watering hole? That's a statehouse proposal under consideration, allowing Colorado communities to decide whether to extend bar hours. Some feel a change to the law could do more harm than good.

Helping prevent and fight wildfires is one of the top priorities for Colorado lawmakers in both parties this session, but so far they’re only proposing minor policy changes.

As the 2014 legislative session opened Wednesday, newly elected state Senate President Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) – the second woman to hold the position – urged lawmakers to problem solve and skip the shouting matches in her opening day speech.

Stephen Butler via Flickr (CC-BY)

Going into the 2014 legislative session, Colorado Democrats are still in the majority at the capitol. With an election year looming, party leaders – including Senate President-elect Morgan Carroll – say they want to focus on creating more jobs.

There’s good news for Colorado’s economy going into 2014, the latest economic forecast is projecting solid growth. The state’s employment rate also continues to grow faster than the nation’s.

Governor John Hickenlooper says he wants to focus on jobs, the economy and non-partisan issues during the next legislative session. As he outlined his agenda Thursday, his biggest hope is that politics will take a back seat.

Once again, Colorado lawmakers are heading into a legislative session following a school shooting.

Colorado is beefing up requirements for reporting oil and gas spills. The new rule would require energy companies to report spills that are over 1 barrel or 42 gallons.

When Colorado lawmakers return in January, the makeup of the state Senate will be different. Coming off a tumultuous off session with two first-ever recalls and a resignation can do that. The state’s Democrats now have a new Senate President and only a one-seat hold on the majority.

Democratic state lawmakers say a new law requiring universal background checks for gun purchases is working well. Data from the Department of Public Safety shows 2 percent of private gun sales were blocked because of the law.

Colorado’s energy industry trade group is now involved on three fronts with lawsuits over voter approved fracking bans or moratoriums. The latest move involved the announcement of suits against Lafayette and Fort Collins.  

Colorado’s Energy industry is continuing to make the case that hydraulic fracturing is safe and a critical part of the state’s economy.

Colorado's Independent Ethics Commission is moving forward to review an ethics complaint against Governor John Hickenlooper. The Governor’s office blasted the claim saying it has no merit.

Calling them ‘groundbreaking,’ Governor John Hickenlooper proposed new statewide air quality rules for oil and gas drilling Monday. The rules aim to reduce air pollution from methane emissions.

Theater projectors are going where most of the dazzling special effects in summer blockbusters have gone: All digital. In 2014, Hollywood will no longer release movies on traditional film stock. Theaters must convert or be forced to close – including those in rural Colorado.

Colorado voters gave a mixed reaction Tuesday on a pair of statewide tax increases. Voters didn’t want to tax themselves to pay for education, but were overwhelmingly willing to tax recreational marijuana to help rebuild schools.

A state committee tasked with studying wildfire issues recently finished its work with several recommendations. Among them, a tax credit to encourage people to mitigate fire risks and a proposal to give individual counties more authority to cut down hazardous trees.

About ten percent of Colorado’s registered voters have already cast ballots for the Nov. 5 election. So far Republicans have turned out in higher numbers.

Recreational marijuana shops won’t open their doors in Colorado until January and already several pot tourism companies are making plans to cash in on the new businesses.

Governor John Hickenlooper announced the appointment of William Hood to the bench Friday afternoon. Hood is filling the place of retiring chief justice John Bender.

Colorado is preparing for the state’s first recreational marijuana stores to open this January. In the meantime, voters still have the final say on how the new product will be taxed through Proposition AA.

A ballot question to raise Colorado income taxes to help improve public schools has survived a legal challenge. A Denver District Court Judge has ruled that the proposal can go before voters.