John Hickenlooper

Jake Ryan/KVNF

The economic downturn in the fossil fuel industry is not only affecting profits and jobs; it’s also impacting funding for state projects.

With a swipe of the governor's pen, it is now legal for Coloradans to collect the rain that falls from their roofs. The move makes Colorado the final state in the country to sanction rain barrels.

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.

A bill [.pdf] under consideration at the capitol would require all school districts – even those without policies – to allow parents or caregivers to administer medical marijuana on school grounds, typically in the nurse's office. Students would not be allowed to take the cannabis tablet or put on the patch or oil themselves.

"Let's make sure they have the medication they need, and do it in an appropriate way," said state Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont), House Bill 16-1373's sponsor.

Health insurance premiums can vary widely in Colorado depending on where you live — it's just one of the factors health insurance companies use to calculate prices. Mountain regions continue to have some of the highest premiums in the country. At the statehouse, House Bill 16-1336 [.pdf] would look at treating the entire state as one region, rather than continuing to group regions separately.

"Our current insurance payment of $1,508 a month is equivalent to our mortgage payment. We can't afford it," said Richard Backe, a Garfield County small-business owner. "There are numerous people in the mountain district with the same story. We are the healthiest counties in the state, and we have the highest insurance rates."

KVNF Regional Newscast: Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2016

Mar 30, 2016

  • Arrests made in Paonia antler theft
  • Election officials: drop off municipal ballots in person instead of mailing
  • Hickenlooper discusses state budget
  • House committee gives OK to undocumented driver's license program expansion
  • Raton Basin most at risk place in Colorado for 2016 Quakes  

Colorado's next lieutenant governor is poised to be a top executive from Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.

Gov. John Hickenlooper nominated Donna Lynne, an executive vice president at Kaiser, saying she would be very capable filling his shoes if he doesn't end up finishing his second term. Hickenlooper has long been rumored as a possible cabinet pick for a Democratic President.

"If I were offered something in Washington I would certainly look at it, but especially right now, I could not be happier to be the governor of Colorado," Hickenlooper said.

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Wednesday that the state will prioritize connecting and building 16 hiking and biking trails in all parts of Colorado. The goal is to connect and build missing trail segments to make it easier for people to access open space and parks.

It's part of the governor's Colorado the Beautiful initiative, unveiled in 2015.

KVNF Regional Newscast: Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016

Jan 21, 2016

  • Some elected officials on the Western Slope to see raises
  • Hickenlooper's 'Colorado The Beautiful' gets new trail priorities
  • Rep. Hamner on budget issues at the statehouse this session  
Stephen Butler via Flickr (CC-BY)

This week on the program, we'll hear Governor John Hickenlooper's State of the State address. The speech was originally recorded on Jan. 14, 2016. 

Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered his sixth State of the State address to the state Legislature Thursday. In his speech he highlighted the need for people from all political stripes to work together to fix the state's big budget problems and discussed Colorado's economic gains and challenges.

"We're one of the top states for economic growth," Hickenlooper said. "One of the best places for business and careers, for quality of life, for health and tourism."

KVNF Regional Newscast: Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016

Jan 13, 2016

  • Hickenlooper outlines legislative priorities for 2016 session
  • Paonia resident, horse killed in accident on Hwy 92
  • Environmental activists respond to Arch Coal’s bankruptcy
  • For 2016, Democrats in the Colorado Senate will have a new leader

KVNF Regional Newscast: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015

Dec 16, 2015

  • Olathe Main Street improvement project wraps up
  • Telluride Foundation, Fort Lewis College receive grant for SW innovation corridor
  • Hickenlooper lobbies farmers to support state water plan
  • Longmont, Fort Collins fracking cases get their say in state’s highest court

KVNF Regional Newscast: Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015

Nov 19, 2015

  • Hickenlooper defends Syrian refugee policy
  • Delta County Library Board responds after district director leaves
  • Norwood woman seriously injured in backcountry snowmobile accident
  • BLM releases draft EIS for White River National Forest oil & gas leases
  • BLM recommends cancelling 17 oil & gas leases on Roan Plateau
  • DMEA hosts energy efficiency forum in Hotchkiss

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Monday that Colorado would accept Syrian refugees. President Barack Obama said the U.S. would receive at least 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year, but a growing list of Republican governors pledged to block refugees from relocating to their states.

"We can protect our security and provide a place where the world's most vulnerable can rebuild their lives," said Hickenlooper in a statement.

  • State Supreme Court to hear Mesa County School Board eligibility case
  • Christmas tree permits for GMUG National Forest go on sale
  • Hickenlooper announces new state tourism director
  • Stories of the River: Solutions to the Crisis

After five years on the job, Colorado's Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia announced that he is stepping down from the position and as head of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Garcia will leave his dual-role to helm a higher education policy group for the western U.S., the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

KVNF Regional Newscast: Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015

Nov 10, 2015

  • Proposed bill would limit punishment for sexting teens
  • High demand causes shortage of flu vaccine
  • Healthcare initiative to be on next year’s ballot
  • Clean Power Plan divides Gov. Hickenlooper, Attorney General Coffman

Local tax and spending issues, as well as city council and mayoral races largely dominate Colorado's 2015 election. There is only one statewide question, which asks voters whether the state can keep marijuana tax money it's already collected to pay for school construction, law enforcement and other programs.

If that's a question that sounds familiar – that's because it is. Proposition BB will actually be the third time Colorado voters have weighed in on taxing marijuana.

KVNF Regional Newscast: Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015

Oct 8, 2015

  • Hickenlooper appoints replacement for Mesa County DA
  • Montrose fast-­tracks new city dispatch center
  • State commission to study use of American Indian mascots in schools
  • Some Colorado towns look to rein in oil and gas ahead of state rules

KVNF Regional Newscast: Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015

Oct 7, 2015

  • Former Delta chief of police received $50K severance package
  • Local organizations hope to create business and resource center in Delta
  • Governor heads aboard on trade mission
  • Demonstration plot help farmers optimizes, prepare for drought
  • Nonprofit announces $20 million prize for CO2 innovation

KVNF Regional Newscast: Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015

Oct 6, 2015

  • Marijuana grow operation on public lands found in Montrose County
  • Schools take the fight against bullying into the 21st century
  • Gov. Hickenlooper pushes to develop state’s recreation opportunities

KVNF Regional Newscast: Monday, Sept. 28, 2015

Sep 28, 2015

  • Missing boy from Crawford returns home
  • Livestock disease still widespread, but new infections might be slowing down
  • Signatures hold up connecting Norwood to high-speed internet
  • Program looks to teach residents about local food
  • Governor Hickenlooper looks to change TABOR
  • Roadwork continues for Western Slope

The U.S. Department of Interior decided Tuesday that the greater sage grouse does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The bird spans 11 western states including Colorado, where it lives in pockets along the western slope, but is mostly concentrated in the northwest part of the state.

Gov. John Hickenlooper was one of the many people working to avoid a federal listing for the bird. While the sage grouse decision is a win for the governor, a few other initiatives – and longtime battles in Colorado – still need his attention.

KVNF Regional Newscast: Monday, Sept. 21, 2015

Sep 21, 2015

  • Rare sighting: moose in Grand Junction
  • State water board awards $5.5M for projects at Montrose meeting
  • Governor submits sage grouse conservation plan to feds
  • Organic agriculture in Colorado continues to grow
  • Governor releases Colorado climate change plan
  • Paonia homecoming parade features vintage car tour

Local Motion: Governor's Forum In Montrose

Sep 4, 2015
John Hickenlooper
Laura Palmisano

On this episode of Local Motion, we’ll hear from Governor John Hickenlooper and members of his cabinet who spoke at a forum in Montrose last month. First, Irv Halter, the director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, speaks. Then John Swartout , a senior advisor to the governor, talks about sage grouse. And lastly, Hickenlooper delivers his remarks. 

When President Obama spoke to the Democratic National Convention in Colorado seven years ago, he tried to call a truce in one of the nation's long-running social debates.

"We may not agree on abortion. But surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country," he said to applause.

Not long after that, Colorado launched an experiment aimed at doing just that. The results have been dramatic — but efforts to expand the program using taxpayer money have hit a political roadblock.

Irv Halter
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A lack of access to high-speed internet is an issue for rural communities in western Colorado. 

Hickenlooper Leads Community Forum In Montrose

Aug 21, 2015
John Hickenlooper
Laura Palmisano

Governor John Hickenlooper and members of his cabinet were in Montrose on Thursday for a community forum.

KVNF Regional Newscast: Friday, Aug. 21, 2015

Aug 21, 2015

  • Hickenlooper visits Montrose, talks about river spill
  • Study looks at methane emissions from natural gas development
  • Street mural tries to create a place for community
  • Mental health resources strained across Colorado
  • Grand Junction horse show canceled over livetsock disease fears

It's been a month since Colorado lawmakers wrapped up their 2015 legislative session at the state capitol, but the work is far from over. Many of the bills that failed this year will likely be back next session and some long-standing issues may already be poised to go before voters in 2016.