Legislature http://krcc.org en Capitol Conversation: Pending Measures http://krcc.org/post/capitol-conversation-pending-measures <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 102); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, Geneva, geneva, arial, helvetica, sans-serif, veranda, Veranda; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20px;">Lawmakers at the state capitol have some big-ticket items to iron out before the session wraps up in May.<br /> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 21:55:58 +0000 Bente Birkeland 17700 at http://krcc.org Capitol Conversation: Pending Measures 'Student Success Act' Passes House on Initial Vote http://krcc.org/post/student-success-act-passes-house-initial-vote <p></p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 13:20:16 +0000 Bente Birkeland 17501 at http://krcc.org 'Student Success Act' Passes House on Initial Vote Capitol Conversation: State Budget Enters Final Stages http://krcc.org/post/capitol-conversation-state-budget-enters-final-stages <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 102); font-family: verdana; line-height: normal;">The state’s 23 billion dollar budget has cleared both legislative chambers. Now it’s up to lawmakers on the joint budget committee to iron out any differences. In this week’s capitol conversation Bente Birkeland sits down with statehouse reporters to discuss the major highlights in this year’s budget.</span><br />&nbsp;</p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 21:25:43 +0000 Bente Birkeland 17359 at http://krcc.org Capitol Conversation: State Budget Enters Final Stages State Senate Passes Bi-Partisan Budget http://krcc.org/post/state-senate-passes-bi-partisan-budget <p>The state senate has passed the annual budget – and it cleared the chamber with more Republican support than in previous years. As Bente Birkeland reports, a conference committee will now meet to iron out differences between the versions the two chambers passed.<br />&nbsp;</p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 22:46:23 +0000 Bente Birkeland 17269 at http://krcc.org State Senate Passes Bi-Partisan Budget State Senate Adds Money for Aerial Firefighting Fleet http://krcc.org/post/state-senate-adds-money-aerial-firefighting-fleet <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 102); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, Geneva, geneva, arial, helvetica, sans-serif, veranda, Veranda; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20px;">Colorado’s $23 million budget is nearing the end of its legislative journey after floor debate in the senate Thursday. As Bente Birkeland reports, the senate made one noteworthy change to the house’s version.</span><br />&nbsp;</p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 04:45:19 +0000 Bente Birkeland 17224 at http://krcc.org State Senate Adds Money for Aerial Firefighting Fleet Budget May Douse State Aerial Firefighting Fleet http://krcc.org/post/budget-may-douse-state-aerial-firefighting-fleet Lawmakers on Colorado’s powerful joint budget committee are skeptical about finding money for an aerial firefighting fleet for the upcoming wildfire season. A report from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control recommends spending $33 million on spotter planes, small air tankers, helicopters, and leasing large air tankers for wildfire season.<p> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 20:50:26 +0000 Bente Birkeland 17157 at http://krcc.org Budget May Douse State Aerial Firefighting Fleet Telecom Proposals Move Forward http://krcc.org/post/telecom-proposals-move-forward <p><br />Even in 2014, many parts of the Colorado are still not connected to the Internet – and if they are it’s not at high speeds. A package of bills to reform and update the state’s telecommunications industry cleared its first committee at the state capitol on Tuesday.<br />&nbsp;</p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 23:00:54 +0000 Bente Birkeland 16847 at http://krcc.org Telecom Proposals Move Forward Railroad West: Colorado Lawmakers Weigh In on the Southwest Chief http://krcc.org/post/railroad-west-colorado-lawmakers-weigh-southwest-chief <p><br />Colorado’s Amtrak rail line in southeastern Colorado is in need of major repairs. Upgrades to the track are expected to be in the millions, and a measure is moving through the statehouse to try and find ways to finance the project and save the rail line.&nbsp; It’s part of a multi-state effort.<br />&nbsp;</p><p></p><p>The Southwest Chief line runs through the towns of Lamar, La Junta, and Trinidad. It’s part of a longer passenger route stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles.</p><p></p> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 02:12:25 +0000 Bente Birkeland 16576 at http://krcc.org Railroad West: Colorado Lawmakers Weigh In on the Southwest Chief Cigarette Restriction Bill Goes Up In Smoke http://krcc.org/post/cigarette-restriction-bill-goes-smoke A bill to increase the smoking age in Colorado to 21 failed in the house finance committee Wednesday. One Democrat joined with Republicans to defeat the measure.<p> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 16:10:00 +0000 Bente Birkeland 16542 at http://krcc.org Cigarette Restriction Bill Goes Up In Smoke State Budget Forecast is Stronger than Anticipated http://krcc.org/post/state-budget-forecast-stronger-anticipated <p>Colorado lawmakers learned today that the state’s economy is stronger than expected and they’ll have more money to spend in next year’s budget.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;">For the past few weeks, the grumblings around the state capitol were that the revenue forecast would be lower than anticipated. Instead, it’s $61 million higher.</span></p><p></p><p>“Right now you have a lot of flexibility in the budget because revenues are growing,” said Natalie Mullis, the state’s non-partisan chief economist.</p><p></p> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 23:28:30 +0000 Bente Birkeland 16471 at http://krcc.org State Budget Forecast is Stronger than Anticipated Capitol Conversation: Health Bills & the Budget http://krcc.org/post/capitol-conversation-health-bills-budget <p>A number of controversial healthcare bills are up for debate at the statehouse this legislative session.&nbsp; For this week’s Capitol Conversation, statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland&nbsp;talks to reporters about some of them, and also talks about one of the biggest budget fights going forward.<br />&nbsp;</p> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 23:05:06 +0000 Bente Birkeland 16423 at http://krcc.org Capitol Conversation: Health Bills & the Budget Cell Phone Driving Ban Defeated http://krcc.org/post/cell-phone-driving-ban-defeated <p>A bill to ban talking on cell phones while driving failed in the House Transportation Committee on Wednesday. Two Democrats joined Republicans in defeating the measure.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The hearing was emotional at times and lawmakers were brought to tears after Shelly </span>Forney<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> from Fort Collins testified about her 9 year old daughter Erica’s death. Erica was biking near her home when a woman talking on her cell phone hit her with her car.</span></p> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 16:12:47 +0000 Bente Birkeland 16233 at http://krcc.org Cell Phone Driving Ban Defeated Disaster Relief On The Docket At The State Capitol http://krcc.org/post/disaster-relief-docket-state-capitol The annual legislative session is typically marked with plenty of partisanship – but this year lawmakers in both parties are working together on flood relief bills. As dozens of natural disaster bills are making their way in the statehouse, some of the more significant policies are stalled.<p> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 01:16:41 +0000 Bente Birkeland 16210 at http://krcc.org Disaster Relief On The Docket At The State Capitol Taking A Tally At The Colorado Legislative Midpoint http://krcc.org/post/taking-tally-colorado-legislative-midpoint <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Colorado’s 2014 legislative session is already halfway over. So far lawmakers have tackled a whole host of issues – everything from gun law repeals to wildfire and flood related measures.</span></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">By all accounts this year’s session has been much less contentious compared to the previous year. In 2013, Democrats used their majority to pass stricter gun laws, a new voting bill, and tougher renewable energy standards for electric coops.</span></p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 14:12:19 +0000 Bente Birkeland 16058 at http://krcc.org Taking A Tally At The Colorado Legislative Midpoint Funding K-12: Bi-Partisan Bill Gets First Hearing http://krcc.org/post/funding-k-12-bi-partisan-bill-gets-first-hearing <p>Dozens of school superintendents told lawmakers on the house education committee Monday that Colorado needs to do more to restore K through 12 budget cuts. After a 2013 ballot initiative failed to pass and solve the state’s funding challenges, the problem now falls into the laps of lawmakers. A bi-partisan bill to begin pumping more money into schools got its first hearing at the capitol.<br />&nbsp;</p> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 01:49:34 +0000 Bente Birkeland 15861 at http://krcc.org Funding K-12: Bi-Partisan Bill Gets First Hearing 'The $100 Million Question': What To Do With All That Marijuana Tax Money? http://krcc.org/post/100-million-question-what-do-all-marijuana-tax-money The market for legal recreational marijuana in Colorado is booming, and the state is expecting millions of dollars more in tax revenues that initially projected. That has lawmakers grappling with the best way to spend all of that additional cash.<p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:39:15 +0000 Bente Birkeland 15606 at http://krcc.org 'The $100 Million Question': What To Do With All That Marijuana Tax Money? Superintendents Seek Greater Role in Education Policy http://krcc.org/post/superintendents-seek-greater-role-education-policy <p>School superintendents in Colorado are concerned about the state’s legislative agenda this session. Nearly every school district in the state wrote a letter asking lawmakers to focus exclusively on restoring budget cuts to schools and drop bills they’re calling unnecessary. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.</p><p></p> Thu, 20 Feb 2014 23:07:06 +0000 Bente Birkeland 15371 at http://krcc.org Superintendents Seek Greater Role in Education Policy Debating US Hwy 36 and a Public-Private Partnership http://krcc.org/post/debating-us-hwy-36-and-public-private-partnership <p>Colorado is embarking into uncharted territory as the Department of Transportation creates its first public private partnership along U.S. Highway 36. CDOT officials say they don’t have the money to repair and maintain all the state’s roads and bridges and this agreement is necessary. But as Bente Birkeland reports, several lawmakers have serious concerns and want to slow down the project.<br />&nbsp;</p> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 17:14:29 +0000 Bente Birkeland 15036 at http://krcc.org Debating US Hwy 36 and a Public-Private Partnership "Making Colorado" Brand Sees 250 Registrants http://krcc.org/post/making-colorado-brand-sees-250-registrants <p>250 companies have registered for Colorado’s new branding program since its launch last year, even as the logo faces a legislative challenge.&nbsp;KRCC’s<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Eliza </span>Densmore<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> reports.</span><br />&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“Making Colorado” looks to have a unified logo for products made in the state.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The logo is currently under legislative review after mixed reaction.&nbsp;</span></p> Wed, 05 Feb 2014 01:32:48 +0000 Eliza Densmore 14722 at http://krcc.org "Making Colorado" Brand Sees 250 Registrants Democrats Strike Down Background Check Repeal http://krcc.org/post/democrats-strike-down-background-check-repeal <p>The gun debate that riveted the state capitol last session once again took center stage yesterday. As Bente&nbsp;Birkeland reports, emotions were strong, but compared to last year, fewer people came to the capitol to testify on a key gun bill.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Republicans have vowed to repeal a package of gun control proposals that the Democrats passed. The first bill in their sights? The bill that brought universal background checks and fees for gun purchases to Colorado.</span></p> Tue, 04 Feb 2014 22:56:00 +0000 Bente Birkeland 14714 at http://krcc.org Democrats Strike Down Background Check Repeal Guns Stay Hot Topic at Statehouse http://krcc.org/post/guns-stay-hot-topic-statehouse <p>After dominating last year’s legislative session, state lawmakers are once again beginning to debate the issue of guns. Republicans are taking the lead this time around, trying to repeal many Democratic bills including stepped up background checks.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The background check law was part of a larger package of gun control bills Democrats passed in the wake of the Aurora Theater shooting and shooting in Newtown Connecticut. Republicans say Democrats overreached. &nbsp;</span></p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 14:55:26 +0000 Bente Birkeland 14636 at http://krcc.org Guns Stay Hot Topic at Statehouse Capitol Conversation: Measures Start Moving through Statehouse http://krcc.org/post/capitol-conversation-measures-start-moving-through-statehouse <p>Some of the meatier bills of the legislative session are beginning to move through the statehouse. As part of our capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to political reporters about what's on the horizon.<br />&nbsp;</p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 14:01:11 +0000 Bente Birkeland 14634 at http://krcc.org Capitol Conversation: Measures Start Moving through Statehouse Wildfire Legislative Proposals http://krcc.org/post/wildfire-legislative-proposals <p>Helping prevent and fight wildfires is one of the top priorities for Colorado lawmakers in both parties this session. But so far, substantial policy changes recommended by the Governor’s wildfire task force are being rejected. As Bente&nbsp;Birkeland reports, the current package of legislative proposals is not nearly as aggressive as some would like.<br />&nbsp;</p> Mon, 27 Jan 2014 14:44:53 +0000 Bente Birkeland 14333 at http://krcc.org Wildfire Legislative Proposals Capitol Conversation: The Session Begins http://krcc.org/post/capitol-conversation-session-begins <p>It didn’t take long before tempers flared during the first full week of Colorado’s legislative session. In the state senate, party leaders had an intense back and forth about a Republican bill to repeal universal background checks for gun purchases. Bente&nbsp;Birkeland analyzes the dynamic as part of our capitol conversation series.<br />&nbsp;</p> Mon, 20 Jan 2014 14:26:51 +0000 Bente Birkeland 14062 at http://krcc.org Capitol Conversation: The Session Begins Lawmakers Briefed on School Safety http://krcc.org/post/lawmakers-briefed-school-safety <p>School safety experts briefed lawmakers on the joint education committee yesterday. They asked the state to focus on preventing school violence rather than simply trying to stop it. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.<br />&nbsp;</p> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 15:41:05 +0000 Bente Birkeland 13929 at http://krcc.org Lawmakers Briefed on School Safety Renewable Energy Standard Target of State GOP Repeal Efforts http://krcc.org/post/renewable-energy-standard-target-state-gop-repeal-efforts <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">State lawmakers are expected to debate the repeal of a controversial renewable energy bill today. As </span>Bente<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>Birkeland<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> reports, Senate Bill 252 was one of the most hotly debated bills last legislative session.</span></p><p></p> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 15:42:18 +0000 Bente Birkeland 13879 at http://krcc.org Renewable Energy Standard Target of State GOP Repeal Efforts Lawmakers to Consider Shield Law for Journalists http://krcc.org/post/lawmakers-consider-shield-law-journalists <p>A newly elected Republican state senator wants to strengthen the shield law for journalists. The measure would mean reporters would not have to reveal confidential sources. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.<br />&nbsp;</p> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 14:39:55 +0000 Bente Birkeland 13876 at http://krcc.org Lawmakers to Consider Shield Law for Journalists Legislative Priorities in the 2014 Session http://krcc.org/post/legislative-priorities-2014-session <p>Education and recovery from natural disasters are some of the top priorities for lawmakers this upcoming session. As Bente Birkeland reports, legislators in both parties have already introduced dozens of bills.<br />&nbsp;</p> Tue, 14 Jan 2014 14:25:14 +0000 Bente Birkeland 13829 at http://krcc.org Legislative Priorities in the 2014 Session Capitol Conversation: State of the State, Session Begins http://krcc.org/post/capitol-conversation-state-state-session-begins <p>State lawmakers are back to work under the gold dome for the annual legislative session. As part of our capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to political reporters about the first few days, and the Governor’s state of the state address.<br />&nbsp;</p> Mon, 13 Jan 2014 14:24:17 +0000 Bente Birkeland 13786 at http://krcc.org Capitol Conversation: State of the State, Session Begins Governor Delivers State of the State Address http://krcc.org/post/governor-delivers-state-state-address <p>Governor John Hickenlooper says Colorado has weathered a tough year but showed the world what it means to come together and be strong. The Governor gave what could be his final state of the state address on Thursday – before facing reelection in the fall.&nbsp;</p><p></p><p>The Governor’s speech began on a somber note as he remembered the tests Colorado faced in 2013. The head of the State’s Department of Corrections was gunned down. Natural disasters plagued the summer and fall – and then there was December’s shooting at Arapahoe High School…</p><p></p> Fri, 10 Jan 2014 15:11:08 +0000 Bente Birkeland 13695 at http://krcc.org Governor Delivers State of the State Address