capitol conversation

With only a few days left in the state's legislative session, lawmakers in both parties are trying to get something across the finish line that will help with the state's high cost of housing, while lots of other bills are failing.

  • Montrose develops strategies for leveraging internet access
  • Mine expansion overturned
  • Changes to primary system a last minute topic for Colorado legislature
  • A Capitol Conversation about the race at the state capitol to fix housing, roads  

  • Fracking limits struck down in Colorado
  • BLM wants input for recreation ideas
  • Report shows huge potential for methane capture in North Fork
  • Capitol Conversation looking at the end of the session  

Lawmakers in both parties have unveiled a proposal to bring a presidential primary back to Colorado. It's estimated that conducting a primary will cost anywhere from $5 to $7 million. Despite the price tag, the heads of both the state Democratic and Republican parties and Gov. John Hickenlooper support it.

We asked two reporters working at the capitol on a daily basis what that means.

  • Drugs seized in city of Delta
  • Lake City river restoration project gets funding for big overhaul
  • A Capitol Conversation looking at political party primaries  

Colorado schools may soon be forced to allow students to use medical marijuana in a non-smokeable form while on school grounds. It's already allowed under state law – but no districts have created access policies, leaving many families frustrated.

To remedy this, House Bill 16-1373 [.pdf] has been proposed to require all school districts – even those without policies – to allow parents or caregivers to administer medical marijuana on school grounds. To find out more about the debate, we talked to reporters working under the gold dome.

  • Colorado snowpack is thinner in the south and west
  • Western Slope communities receive DOLA funding
  • San Miguel County sees a continued drop in energy use
  • Colorado considers regulating fantasy sports

Colorado is debating whether to form an office of fantasy sports — to regulate and create rules around pay-for-play fantasy leagues. The industry estimates that 800,000 people in the Centennial State are fantasy sports players, and 150,000 pay in the daily sports leagues.

So why does the legislature want make a play here?

  • Record number of candidates turn in signatures to reserve spot on primary ballot
  • Western Slope commercial marijuana grower under state pesticide investigation
  • Ridgway streets to be paved in 120 year first
  • Clean Power Plan caught in state budget fight

The Democratic-controlled House passed the state budget Friday with five Republicans backing it. The bill now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate. What can we expect from the debate in that chamber?

  • Mesa County might be sued over foster child’s death
  • Grant will help Montrose County construct arena, event center
  • Animal abuse case discovered near Delta
  • Capitol Conversation about the state budget’s progression  

State lawmakers are set to debate the annual budget, which funds everything from roads and schools, to health care and parks. In 2016, Colorado has a shortfall, so that means making budget cuts. So what are some of the major budget issues? We asked the reporters working the hallways of the capitol to find out.

  • Lumber truck rolls over in Hinsdale County
  • Sheriffs’ lawsuit dismissed, but plans in the works to restart effort
  • New rule would protect workers against silica dust
  • Capitol Conversation about the looming budget
  • Construction closes parts of road this week near Montrose  

Several police reform measures are making their way through the statehouse, and lawmakers are also looking at how best to address the problem of teenagers sexting. We asked two reporters working under the gold dome to review the week that was.

  • Montrose school district to cut 37 staff positions
  • Man dies while skiing in Telluride
  • State representative apologizes for DUI arrest
  • Colorado dodges lawsuit from neighboring states over Amendment 64
  • A Capitol Conversation about police reform and sexting  

Colorado's four month legislative session is halfway over. As is normally the case, the only things lawmakers are required to do is pass a budget. Now that we're at the midpoint, attention can turn to the state's impending budget crunch and another hot topic: reclassifying the hospital provider fee under TABOR.

  • State unemployment drops even farther
  • Brush fires become hazard in warm, dry weather
  • Paonia looking forward to end of state­mandated water project
  • Capitol Conversation looking at this year so far  

The Colorado Democratic and Republican parties recently wrapped up their caucuses on Super Tuesday. The 2016 Democratic caucus was notable for the unexpected large turnout – while the GOP canceled their presidential preference poll. Either way, there were gripes. Two lawmakers are planning to introduce a bill to change the state's caucus system and instead add a presidential primary.

  • Fatal car accident in Grand Junction
  • Colorado declared free from Vesicular Stomatitis
  • New state IDs features Western Slope mountain
  • Capitol Conversation looking at potential changes to party caucus system  

Another attempt in Colorado to allow terminally ill patients to take medication to end their own lives recently failed for the second straight year in the Democratic controlled House.

With strong words for opponents and members of their own party, the sponsors of the End-of-Life Options Bill, known as House Bill 16-1054 [.pdf], pulled it before debate could begin on the floor. The reason behind the withdrawal was a lack of votes and proposed amendments for the bill.

  • Historic dairy in Montrose to close
  • Bill to aid struggling rural Colorado counties progresses at state capital 
  • 2015 Colorado coal production lowest in years
  • Capital Conversation with Bente Birkeland on TABOR

Colorado lawmakers are divided over whether a hospital provider fee should be reclassified in the state budget so it doesn't count toward the state's revenue limit under the Tax Payer's Bill of Rights.

State legislators discussed a number of law enforcement and criminal justice bills this past week along with some other controversial measures.

  • Avalanche catches skiers on Red Mountain Pass
  • State program gives tax breaks to Mesa County businesses
  • Rock fall causes SMPA power outage
  • Capitol Conversation, looking at last week’s development  

  • Mesa Sheriff’s Deputy shot, suspect under arrest
  • Former Western Slope doctor sentenced to prison for pain pill prescriptions
  • Report calls for big housing growth in Grand Valley
  • New website shows effects of drought on Colorado River Basin
  • A Capitol Conversation, focusing on the terminally ill  

State lawmakers are debating whether terminally ill patients with less than six months to live should be allowed to take medication to end their own lives. It's just one of several controversial bills being debated under the gold dome.

Roughly three weeks into Colorado's annual legislative session, a lot of bills are starting to get their first hearings. We've heard the priorities of the leaders and the governor, as well as some of the more interesting bills.

But 2016 is an election year, and a presidential one no less. How will politics impact the bills being heard in committees?

  • DMEA plans on offering program to cut electric bills for low income households
  • CDOT to display tally of highway deaths
  • Three arrested over pot deliver business
  • Man dies from heart disease on Grand Mesa
  • Bills face uncertain future in political climate in Denver  

Lawmakers have introduced the first wave of bills as part of the annual legislative session. To learn what's in store, we asked reporters who work daily under the dome at the capitol.

The annual legislative session is under way and lawmakers are once again back at the state capitol. Gov. Hicknelooper laid out his priorities – like more bipartisanship and tackling the budget by addressing the hospital provider fee – in his State of the State. But how do those priorities translate for the legislators working under the gold dome for 2016?

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