Capitol Coverage

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.


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.


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.


Newly-elected state lawmakers are spending the week at the capitol learning the basics of working under the gold dome. Freshman lawmakers are studying everything from the art of negotiating to the location of emergency exits. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


News Headlines:

  • Child Fatality At Powderhorn Resort
  • Search Continues For Missing Child At Vallecito
  • Armed Robbery In Delta
  • New State Lawmakers Learning The Layout
  • Ignacio Guide Takes Plea Deal In Major Poaching Case
  • Montrose Sheriff Gets Hummer
  • Powderhorn Road To Be Improved
  • Seasonal Road Closures

Democrats will control both state legislative chambers when the state’s legislative session convenes in January. Lawmakers will be dealing with several controversial issues, including crafting regulations for recreational marijuana. Bente Birkeland talks to fellow statehouse reporters about what to expect and how the dynamics are likely to change.


Headlines:

  • Capitol Conversation, a Look Ahead to the Coming Legislative Session
  • Oil and Gas Supporters Rally At State Capitol
  • Outdoor Rec Industry Seeks Expansion of Canyonlands
  • Naturita Library Garners Another Award For Excellence
  • Great American Smokeout Tomorrow
  • Fly Flags At Half-Mast For Fallen Lawman
  • Winter Road Closures Announced
  • Colorado Springs TV Station Stinks

Flicr user: Vectorportal / Flicr Creative Commons

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.

Flicr user: Vectorportal / Flicr Creative Commons

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.

October 30, 2012. With the election now only one week away, nearly a quarter of Colorado voters have already cast their ballots. Early in person voting ends on Friday. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


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