Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 5:04 am
Colorado's latest revenue forecast was good news for lawmakers, showing a healthy economy and more money for the state budget. There was also one notable hedge, the uncertainty around low oil prices and the oil industry's effect on the state economy.
So just what are the implications of more state revenue? We turn to the reporters that work the halls of the capitol to find out.
Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 7:56 am
Colorado's childhood poverty rate has decreased for the first time in five years. The latest data comes as part of the annual Kids Count Report, which offers information on the health and well-being of children across the state.
"That is great news for Colorado," said Lt. Governor Joe Garcia. He went on to add that there's always a but, "We know that there are still far too many children growing up in households where they don't have access to the opportunities and resources they need to be healthy and succeed."
Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:30 am
Several efforts in Washington are converging on the sensitive question of how best to safeguard the information software programs are gathering on students.
A proposed Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015 is circulating in draft form. It has bipartisan sponsorship from Democratic Rep. Jared S. Polis of Colorado and Republican Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana.
The federal government has changed the way it pays hospitals through Medicare. It now factors in patient satisfaction. To discuss the affects on a local hospital, KVNF’s Laura Palmisano speaks with Jason Clecker, the CEO of Delta County Memorial Hospital. Over 60 percent of DCHM patients are on Medicare.
Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:05 am
A bipartisan measure to reduce testing for students in Colorado's public schools is not proceeding as planned through the statehouse. Senate Bill 215 [.pdf] was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee Thursday. No longer, it was pulled from the calendar before the hearing.
"We just need to make sure we get the policy right," said state Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs), a sponsor of the measure along with Senator Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood).
The sponsors are unsure of when SB 215 will get a hearing. The bill would eliminate mandatory assessments in the 11 and 12th grade and reduce redundant tests in the earlier grades. It has been billed as the major school testing reform bill of the session.
Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:18 pm
The Department of the Interior has unveiled new regulations on hydraulic fracturing operations that take place on federal lands, requiring companies using the drilling technique to ensure wells are safe and to disclose chemicals used in the process.
The rules change follows a more than three-year review process and will affect the 90 percent of oil and gas wells on federal lands that now use so-called fracking to extract oil and gas.
Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 10:21 am
When it comes to the food stamps — or SNAP benefits as they're now called — there are few areas where Republicans and Democrats agree. But getting some of the 46 million people now receiving SNAP into the work force is one of them.
Last year Congress approved $200 million for states to test the best way to move people into jobs. And today, the Obama administration is announcing grants to 10 states to do just that.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the demonstration projects should help able-bodied recipients take advantage of an improving economy.
Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 7:59 am
The executive director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Tisha Schuller, recently announced that she's leaving the state's largest trade organization for the energy industry.
In a statement released by COGA, Schuller said it was a "wild ride" and that she was honored to have represented the state's oil industry. While remaining in her position until the end of May, Schuller sat down to talk about the future of the industry and why she decided to leave her position.
Colorado has announced the location for a 'first of its kind' aerial firefighting research facility.
The Rifle-Garfield County Airport will be home to the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting.
"So virtually everything we do in wildland firefighting will be subject to be looked at by this center of excellence," Paul Cooke, the director of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, says.
He says the center will test and evaluate existing and new technologies used in aerial firefighting.
Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 9:54 am
As they prepare to write the annual budget, there's mixed news for Colorado lawmakers. The latest revenue forecast shows the economy will remain strong, but there is a lot of uncertainty going forward, especially when it comes to low oil prices and how it ripples through the state's economy.
"On net low oil prices are good for the national economy, but for areas where you have energy production, energy production states, on net it has been negative in the past," said nonpartisan Chief Legislative Economist Natalie Mullis. "Colorado is a third tier energy producing state and it does have a dampening effect on our economy."
The city of Delta curfew for kids goes in effect in April. Unaccompanied minors need to be off the streets by midnight. There are some exceptions to the rule. For example, kids can be out after the city's curfew if they are getting of work, leaving a movie or coming back from a school event.
Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 7:31 am
We're just past the halfway mark for the annual 120-day legislative session. As lawmakers (and the reporters that cover them) enter the home stretch, what's the scuttlebutt under the gold dome? Which bills are being delayed? How is the Governor handling split legislative control?
For insights we picked the brains of reporters who work the halls on daily basis at the capitol.