Colorado Legislature

Oil drilling on Colorado's populous Front Range has forced more interactions between communities and the energy industry – and that's caused tension. At the recent annual Rocky Mountain Energy Summit, one of the discussions centered on how to improve relations between the industry and the public.

It's an ongoing issue that the state will tackle in a new rule making hearing.

A program to provide long acting reversible contraceptives to low-income women has been funded for another year. About a dozen health and community foundations have stepped up to provide the funds, something the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had been working overtime to try and secure.

Earlier in May a majority of state lawmakers signed a letter to the governor expressing concerns over what they said are disturbing issues within the Colorado Department of Human Services. The letter states that the state is over prescribing psychotropic drugs to youth in corrections and foster care, and that the department fails to adequately supervise the county run foster care system.

In their first public appearance since lawmakers called for overhaul – or possibly firing the executive director – Gov. John Hickenlooper stood by Reggie Bicha.

"They are among the best in the United States, [that] doesn't mean they're perfect," said Hickenlooper. "Running a Department of Human Services is the hardest job in state government, because there's zero tolerance, it's like public safety. We all expect absolute perfection."

A bill to raise the salaries of Colorado's elected officials was introduced in the Senate Thursday.  The proposal had been discussed for months, but people working on the measure said state lawmakers in both parties wanted to make sure there were enough votes for it to clear the legislature before allowing an introduction. This late in the session, a legislative leader must approve a bill before it can be introduced.

  Newscast

  • Telluride sees changing schools
  • Grow facilities become hot commodities
  • Colorado legislature in uncertain balance

  Headlines

  • No Recreational Pot Sales in Mountain Village for Now
  • Heated Oil and Gas Issues Not Likely this Legislative Session
  • Basalt-area Sheep Help Bolster Sheep Populations Elsewhere in Colorado
  • Crews Continue Working to Stabilize Boulders after Rockslide

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:

  • State Lawmakers Face Tough Political Climate Next Session
  • Authorities Still Waiting on Answers from Well Leak
  • Aspen-area Eco-Flights Highlight Regional Environmental Issues

Headlines:

  • State Democratic Leaders Won't Push Major Policy Changes
  • Grand Junction Airport Investigation Continues as Lawsuit is Filed
  • Colorado Issues First Ever Retail Pot Licenses
  • Colorado State University Researchers Take Part in Oil & Gas Studies

Colorado senate Democrats blasted gun rights groups Wednesday for trying to recall another state lawmaker. Two Democrats were ousted in September over support for stricter gun laws. The latest campaign targets Westminster Democrat Evie Hudak.

Headlines 

  • State Lawmakers Won't Hold Special Session on Flood Recovery
  • Montrose and Hotchkiss Healthcare Exchange Offices Busy for Opening Days
  • Over 600 BLM Employees Furloughed after Government Shutdown
  • Lawsuit Filed Against Petition Signatures for School Funding Tax Proposal
  • "Neighbors, Strangers and Friends" Exhibit  on Display at Creamary Arts Center through 10/4/13
Travis Bubenik/KVNF

Tuesday night’s Paonia Town Council meeting drew a much larger crowd than usual, with a full house of residents gathered to voice their opinions on how the town should deal with Amendment 64, the Colorado measure that legalizes commercial marijuana activity. 

UKhomeoffice via Flickr (CC)

This fall voters across Colorado will decide how recreational marijuana should be taxed.

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.

USFWS Mountain Prairie (CC)

A roughly billion-dollar tax increase is likely to go before voters this fall. It’s part of a larger package of education reform that state lawmakers passed last session.

Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) is helping to spearhead the latest initiative. He also took the lead two years ago on an unsuccessful education tax increase to raise several billion dollars for K through 12 schools and higher education.

Brian Cambria

Headlines:

  • Colorado Now Has Elder Abuse Law
  • New Marijuana Measures Signed Into Law
  • Delta County Commissioners Approve Hen-Laying Facility, Again
  • KPP dinners benefit local needs

Headlines:

  • Legislative roundup
  • Greeley Town Council okays 16 gas wells despite opposition from citizens
  • Colorado third-graders score poorly on reading tests
  • Bears wake up, wander into Telluride
  • DMEA candidate frum Wed May 15

Headlines:

Rock slide closes McClure Pass at Paonia Reservoir

News from the Legislature as the session winds down:

  • Elections bill passes, heads to Governor Hickenlooper
  • Medicaid Expansion passes both Houses  
  • Gray water bill passes

Other News:

  • Local farmer Jere Lowe on how marijuana should be regulated
  • ISeeChange: Carrots, tulips, cherries, kestrals, the First Red Flag Warning and other signs of spring

Headlines:

  • Governor signs ASSET bill into law
  • Battlement Mesa meeting addresses Parachute Creek Leak
  • New EPA figures say emissions control has reduced the impact of natural gas industry on climate change
  • Dominguez-Escalante conservation area council needs members
  • Jim Elder announces for DMEA District 4
  • Telluride residents say no to uranium mines at BLM meeting

Headlines:

  • Grand Mesa Fire Destroys Lodge
  • Black Canyon Hiker Falls To His Death
  • Bills Would Revamp State Oil and Gas Commission
  • Legislators Want to Mandate Renewables Increase for Rural Electric
  • BLM Favors Energy Development Companies in Thompson Divide
  • Parachute Leak Went Farther, Started Earlier Than Previously Reported
  • Tea Party, Part II. Utah Legislator Brings Freedom Rally To Colorado

Headlines:

  • Civil Unions bill expected to easily pass in Legislature
  • District 51 sets up advisory board regarding school safety
  • San Miguel Commissioners approve controversial gun control letter
  • Flu season starts early, strong in Delta County

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.


Headlines:

  • Southern Colorado groups represent at Inaugural Parade
  • Vision Schools in Delta County seek charter status
  • iSeeChange update, Almanac launch party is tonight
  • Reporters preview upcoming Legislature actions
  • Unemployment level in Colorado sees small drop, US rate stays same

The Colorado legislature prints millions of pieces of paper each year, costing the state a hefty sum. But that could soon be a thing of the past. This year in an effort to cut down on costs, each of the 100 lawmakers received new i-Pads. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.


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.


State lawmakers have already introduced more than 100 bills on a wide variety of topics since the legislature began last Wednesday. From the state capitol, Bente  Birkeland has more on the first of many gun measures.


Headlines:

  • Legislature takes up issue of gun control
  • State debates accepting federal health insurance money, job creation
  • BLM Grand Junction office welcomes comment on RMP
  • 670 hospitalized cases of the flu so far in Colorado; vaccination urged
  • Rusty water in Paonia not dangerous
  • Elk Creek Mine hopes to stabilize and re-open within a week

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.


Headlines:

  • Diverse group of lawmakers open new legislative session
  • Oil and Gas Commission to study effects of fraking emissions
  • USDA declares drought disaster areas in 14 states
  • iSeeChange examines role of microorganisms in water conservation