capitol conversation

The state's annual legislative session adjourns May 6, 2015. The last few days are always hectic as state lawmakers try to push through final bills. Other bills under the gold dome fail on the calendar or just die in committee. So which measures will make it?

As the state Legislature enters the home stretch, lawmakers recently debated a measure to study whether to transfer federal lands to the state. Another bill aimed at relieving congestion on Interstate 70 heading through the mountains also became contentious. There's not much time left for these debates, the annual session ends May 6.

  Newscast

  • Wildfire bill progresses in legislature
  • DeBeque town marshall arrested on embezzlement charges
  • State cracks down on a Western Slope business seeking investors
  • Study calculates the amount of money National Parks bring to the state
  • Capitol Conversation looks at federal lands and I­-70

The state budget has cleared both legislative chambers but still needs to head to a conference committee to iron out differences. The end of the budget process means lawmakers will shift their attention to other bills before the end of the session. With that May 6 deadline rapidly approaching, what's in store for some of the outstanding legislation?

The annual Colorado budget is making its way through the statehouse. It cleared the Senate on a vote of 21 to 14, passing largely along party lines, with three Democrats joining Republicans to support it. What are the dynamics in play?

  Newscast

  • DOLA money for Western Slope set to end soon
  • Program trains veterans in solar energy instillation
  • VA relaxes rule on ‘40 mile radius’
  • Capitol Conversation about the latest economic forecast

Colorado's latest revenue forecast was good news for lawmakers, showing a healthy economy and more money for the state budget. There was also one notable hedge, the uncertainty around low oil prices and the oil industry's effect on the state economy.

So just what are the implications of more state revenue? We turn to the reporters that work the halls of the capitol to find out.

We're just past the halfway mark for the annual 120-day legislative session. As lawmakers (and the reporters that cover them) enter the home stretch, what's the scuttlebutt under the gold dome? Which bills are being delayed? How is the Governor handling split legislative control?

For insights we picked the brains of reporters who work the halls on daily basis at the capitol.

State lawmakers are midway through the annual legislative session – but there's still a lot to be done.

House Democrats would like law enforcement to increase the use of body cameras, set up a special prosecutor to review decisions when a law enforcement official isn't charged when there are allegations of deadly force, ban choke holds, and collect demographic data on arrests. What are the chances for passage?

  Newscast

  • Thanks to a grant, Ridgway will see lower property taxes
  • Cottage Foods Act might see expansion under proposed legislation
  • Montrose Library gets grant to boost financial literacy
  • A capitol conversation about the half way point through this years legislative session

Governor John Hickenlooper's oil and gas task force recently proposed nine recommendations to try and easy concerns for people living near energy development, but it did not vote to give local communities more control over oil and gas drilling.

The big question on everyone's mind now: What's next for the state Legislature and for a possible anti-fracking initiative going before voters in 2016?

It's a busy week under the gold dome. The Governor's oil and gas task force, which was charged with trying to harmonize local oil and gas regulations with statewide interests will soon be wrapping up. Many lawmakers have been holding off on introducing oil and gas legislation until the commission finishes its work.

A debate on drones - one that does not fall along party lines - will get a hearing in the Senate Tuesday. For thoughts on what's happening at the capitol, talked to some of the reporters who work there daily.

Democratic lawmakers in Colorado recently introduced a measure to allow terminally ill patients to take medication to end their lives. The patients must be given a prognosis from two different physicians giving them less than six months to live.

It's a charged issue that has many questions to it. Why do supporters say it’s the compassionate choice? Who strongly opposes it?

Colorado's new Republican Senate has majority flexed their muscles at the state capitol, using their power on the Joint Budget Committee to defund a 2013 law allowing people in the country illegally to obtain a state driver's license. They also struck down a bill to harmonize Colorado's civil unions law with a gay marriage ban that was deemed unconstitutional by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. On top of that, a commission looking at pay equity between men and women was struck down.

With split legislative control and Democrats in charge of the House, how will this impact both parties politically?

Governor John Hickenlooper has given his annual State of the State Address in front of a joint session of the General Assembly. What were some of the highlights of his annual report on Colorado's prospects? What should we expect in the year ahead?

We asked some of the reporters that work daily in the capitol building for their thoughts.

Newscast

 

  • Tire excavaction continues in Ouray County
  • Today is 20th anniversary of Americorps
  • Bente Birkland discusses recent political debates

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.

Headlines:

  • BLM to Review White River Forest Oil and Gas Leases
  • Legislative Preview on Next Year's Likely Policy Debates
  • Avalanche Danger for Mountains Moderate to Considerable
  • Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas Agree on New Water Pipeline Deal

Headlines:

  • Capitol Conversation - State Budget
  • Pipeline Leak Reveals Holes In Regulatory System
  • Threat of Colony Collapse Coming to a Beehive Near You
  • Crane Count: 750 last night; 11,000 so far

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.


State lawmakers are a little more than halfway through the legislative session, and there’s been no shortage of drama and divisive issues. Bente Birkeland takes stock of what’s happened so far and what’s ahead as part of our capitol conversation series.


Headlines:

  • Capitol Conversation: What's Happened; What's Ahead
  • Natural Gas Liquid Leaking North of Parachute
  • iSeeChange
  • New Kids On The Block

Headlines:

  • Most Colorado Gun Deaths Are Suicides
  • Ammo Buyers Talk About Stockpiling
  • Capitol Conversation: Education Funding Lawsuit Goes To State Supreme Court
  • Cherry Creek Mortgage Challenges Fed Health Insurance Mandate Over Religious Beliefs
  • iSeeChange on the Pollen Season: Longer and More Intense

Lawmakers are nearing the midpoint of the state’s legislative session. So far a discussion on gun violence has dominated much of the debate under the gold dome. But, as part of our capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland takes a look at some of the other big issues lawmakers will tackle.


Colorado’s gun control debate is making national news because of remarks from one Democratic lawmaker about rape. The comments came during a debate on banning concealed carry weapons on college campuses. As part of our capitol conversation series Bente Birkeland takes a look at the political ramifications and what's driving the story.


Headlines:

  • Capitol Coversation covers Gov. Hickenlooper's oil and gas conflict
  • Environmental Impact Statement on uranium in Western Colorado due in March
  • BLM collects $2.1 million in oil and gas lease sale on Feb. 14thth
  • Leases on Thompson Divide set to expire; company asks for extension
  • Fossils from Snowmass Village are on display in Denver
  • Talking turkey on the almanac.org

Governor John Hickenlooper is getting push back for recently telling members of Congress that he once drank flack fluid and touting Colorado as a national model for balanced energy rules. The state's oil and gas commission has increased the statewide buffer zone between drilling sites and homes and buildings, but many Democratic state lawmakers say the rules are still too lenient. Bente Birkeland takes a look at the issue and the Governor’s comments as part of our capitol conversation series.


Headlines:

  • BLM defers leases from Mesa Verde, Dinosaur National Monument
  • Poll shows residents of Rocky Mountain states strongly favor conservation
  • Dems at State House face conflict from friends and foes over gun control
  • Western Slope Conservation Center moves forward after merger of non-profits

State Democrats recently unveiled their much-anticipated package of bills aimed at curbing gun violence. As part of our capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland takes a look at the chances of the bills passing, and the internal debate among state Democrats.


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.

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