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.
State Democrats recently unveiled their much-anticipated package of bills aimed at curbing gun violence. As part of our capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland takes a look at the chances of the bills passing, and the internal debate among state Democrats.
The Governor and Democratic lawmakers announced plans to try and improve the state’s child welfare system Wednesday. The move comes after the deaths of dozens of children linked to human service departments over the last several years. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
“We’ve listened to concerns raised in numerous comments and public meetings and we are responding by deferring the North Fork Valley parcels at this time,” said Colorado State Director Helen Hankins. “We are addressing the deferred parcels through continued dialogue with the local community and with ongoing planning efforts in the Uncompahgre Field Office.
KVNF’s Marty Durlin interviewed BLM spokesperson Steven Hall, a Hotchkiss native, about the decision. He was speaking on his cell phone from an airport, and began by stressing that the parcels were not deferred because the the agency’s 20-year-old Resource Management Plan is inadequate. Hear that interview below:
Yesterday Delta County Commissioners passed an ordinance banning commercial marijuana enterprises in the unincorporated areas of the county. Amendment 64, which legalizes recreational marijuana in Colorado, allows counties to opt out of some provisions. A small group attended the commissioners’ regular meeting to discuss the issue. KVNF’s Marty Durlin reported on the story.
State senators took the unusual move of voting to take away a portion of state money from the Colorado Energy office for the rest of the fiscal year. As Bente Birkeland reports, the move follows a scathing audit, which showed the energy office mismanaged millions of dollars.
The debate over gun violence and gun control is everywhere today. Here's a different way to look at it, something called Sounds of the High County, a collaboration between Paonia-based High Country News and Rocky Mountain Community Radio affiliate KDNK. KDNK’s Nelson Harvey talks with High Country News Senior Editor Jonathan Thompson about his story on how westerners feel about gun control.
The gun debate will be one of the central issues during the state’s legislative session, and lawmakers have already heard the first Republican proposals. They both failed along party lines and highlight the wide difference between Democrats and the GOP when it comes to tackling gun violence. Bente Birkeland discusses the dynamic as part of our capitol conversation series.
Lenny Frieling is the current board chair of Colorado NORML – the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The organization recently worked to pass Amendment 64, and now has a seat on the governor’s 24-member task force to advise the legislature on regulating marijuana and hemp. A criminal defense attorney for the past 37 years, Frieling is also a one of the 350-plus lawyers who make up the NORML legal committee. Marty Durlin spoke with Frieling from his office in Boulder about the future of regulating legal marijuana in Colorado.
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.
Last week the local advocacy group Citizens for a Healthy Community announced it would file a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management if the agency does not withdraw the remaining 20,000 acres in the North Fork from its February 14 lease sale. Along with other citizens’ groups and individuals, CHC has been fighting the proposed sale since it was announced in December of 2011, saying it jeopardizes the North Fork’s economy, its organic farms, orchards, ranches, wineries and way of life. KVNF’s Marty Durlin spoke with CHC director Jim Ramey.
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.
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.