Capitol Coverage

J. Stephen Conn (CC-NC)

A measure asking Colorado voters if they want to raise income taxes by nearly $1 billion a year to pay for public school upgrades is a step closer to the November ballot. KUNC's Bente Birkeland reports.

Update Monday 12:30 p.m. - Supporters of the measure turned in roughly 160,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's office - more than twice the amount required by law.

Democratic senator Mike Johnston of Denver sponsored the underlying legislation. He says gone are the days when the state simply asks voters for a blank check.

Bills on oil and gas and fracking are expected to dominate the latter part of the state's legislative session. A measure to change the makeup of the agency that regulates the energy industry drew a large crowd at the capitol on Thursday. As Bente Birkeland reports, it cleared its first committee.


The only requirement for Colorado lawmakers during the annual legislative session is passing a budget. And unlike previous years there won’t be cuts for programs like K through 12 schools, state contractors and public employees. But as Bente Birkeland reports, debate in the senate yesterday was still extensive.


A bill to repeal Colorado’s death penalty died in a committee hearing over concerns that Governor John Hickenlooper would veto the bill. Last week the Governor told Democratic lawmakers he had serious reservations about the measure. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Headlines:

  • Drought conditions force water restrictions in Denver
  • March Equinox approaches; Western Skies Report
  • Colorado National Monument no longer selling plastic water bottles
  • Paonia River Park celebrates improvements
  • Death Penalty repeal in Colorado goes to Legislature
  • Crane Days in Eckert begin today

A bill to repeal the death penalty in Colorado is expected to be introduced Friday. It's one of a host of issues likely to dominate the second part of the legislative session. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


One of the most controversial Democratic gun bills at the statehouse is now headed to the Governor for his signature. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


The gun debate was front and center at the state capitol yesterday as proposals already approved in the house made their way to senate committees. It was a marathon day of testimony that also included debate on three new Democratic-backed bills. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


The spruce beetle is now outpacing the mountain pine beetle as the biggest insect threat to Colorado forests. The information was released to lawmakers in the annual Forest Health Report on Wednesday. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Headlines:

  • Sex Ed bill passes state house after vigorous debate
  • Task force recommends marijuana tourism, local ownership of pot shops
  • Delta County Commissioners discuss alternatives to dumping old tires in landfills
  • Mesa County school safety task force meets weekly, will inform school board

A bill to revamp sex education classes for Colorado students has initially passed the house on Tuesday after a rigorous debate. The measure aims to make instruction more culturally sensitive and add information on homosexuality. But opponents say it would take away the rights of parents. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


A controversial package of Democratic gun control bills cleared the house yesterday. The measures now head to the state senate. And as Bente Birkeland reports the bills still face strong opposition from Republicans and some Democrats.


Headlines:

  • Lawsuit makes BLM disclose identities of lease buyers
  • Lawmakers debate fracking regs, Gov. Hickenlooper under fire for political stunt
  • Well near Windsor spills 84,000 gallons of fracking fluid
  • Western Slope Skies
  • First Grand Junction film festival starts tonight
  • Paonia V-Day celebration includes protest against violence towards women

Guns were once again the focus at the Colorado Statehouse on Wednesday. A Democratic proposal to ban concealed carry weapons on college campuses got its first hearing in the house education committee. It highlights the longer battle that will take place this session on gun laws. Bente Birkeland has more.

A huge crowd turned out at the state capitol on Tuesday for a hearing on two key Democratic gun proposals. One measure would require universal background checks for gun purchases; the other would ban high capacity magazines. Both bills passed their first test, the house judiciary committee. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Colorado’s oil and gas conservation commission has voted in favor of increasing the drilling setback distance between oil and gas wells and homes statewide. But the move doesn’t go far enough for the environmental community and goes too far for industry. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Headlines:

  • Delta County Commissioners Ban Commercial Marijuana Growing
  • Capitol Coverage: State Senate Slaps State Energy Office Over Fiscal Mismanagement
  • Western Slope Skies

Governor John Hickenlooper announced new initiatives on Wednesday to try and make Colorado better prepared for wildfires. State officials say they’re also planning for a drought this summer and a potentially bad fire season. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Governor John Hickenlooper says a lack of water in Colorado poses a series challenge for the state’s tourism industry. Hickenlooper answered questions from industry representatives as part of the annual tourism day at the state capitol. Bente Birkeland has more.


Headlines:

  • Grand Junction BLM hosts open houses, seeks RMP comments
  • BLM withdraws three parcels near Dinosaur National Monument from sale
  • First gun control bill in State Legislature defeated by Dems
  • Sheriffs McKee, Dunlap attend pro-gun rally in Delta
  • KVNF intern reports on attitudes toward school

Concealed gun bill fails

Jan 29, 2013

The gun control debate sounded off both inside and outside the state capitol yesterday. Gun control advocates rallied at the capitol, and Democratic state senators struck down the first gun bill of the legislative session. The measure would’ve allowed school employees to carry concealed handguns. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

State economists were in an optimistic mood yesterday, saying Colorado’s economy is performing better than the rest of the nation. As a result, lawmakers will also have more money to spend in next year’s budget than originally anticipated. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


Gun laws, marijuana reform, and oil and gas regulations. These will be just a few of the hot button issues that state lawmakers grapple with during the next legislative session. Governor John Hickenlooper and legislative leaders outlined their thoughts in a panel at the Colorado Press Association. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


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