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.
Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 3:48 pm
An appeals panel in Florida has upheld a deportation order against a former defense minister of El Salvador, who is alleged to have presided over human rights violations in that country, including the murders of four American churchwomen in 1980. Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova was allowed to retire in the U.S. in 1989. Now, a little known unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is trying to expel him as well as others charged with human rights abuses.
Cottage food laws are on the books in almost every state. These statutes allow people to make food products in their home kitchens and sell their goods directly to consumers. In Colorado two bills would expand the state's three-year-old Cottage Foods Act.
Monica Wiitanen is adding wood to her outdoor brick oven. She uses it to bake artisanal breads that she makes in her home kitchen.
Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 4:55 am
Back in December, following the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., President Obama called for $75 million in funding for 50,000 body cameras to be used by police around the United States. The cameras record police activity, and their use is intended to boost accountability.
From left to right, Trustee Erik Gould, Trustee Ross King, Mayor Pro-Temp Charles Stewart and Mayor Neal Schwieterman at the Paonia Board of Trustees meeting where Town Clerk Barbara Petersen was officially dismissed.