Capitol Coverage http://krcc.org en Republicans Whittle Down GOP Candidates http://krcc.org/post/republicans-whittle-down-gop-candidates <p>Republicans gathered in Boulder for their state assembly on Saturday and narrowed down the list of candidates for Governor. As Bente&nbsp;Birkeland reports, the party also nominated people for other statewide races and for the U.S. Senate.<br />&nbsp;</p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:09:37 +0000 Bente Birkeland 17701 at http://krcc.org Republicans Whittle Down GOP Candidates 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 Sponsor Pulls Cyber-Bullying Bill http://krcc.org/post/sponsor-pulls-cyber-bullying-bill <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 102); font-family: verdana; line-height: normal;">A bill aimed at creating new penalties for cyber bullying failed in the senate judiciary committee on Wednesday. The sponsor reluctantly asked lawmakers to postpone the bill, saying it needs more study. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.</span><br />&nbsp;</p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 23:07:52 +0000 Bente Birkeland 17539 at http://krcc.org Sponsor Pulls Cyber-Bullying Bill '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 Annual Report on Children's Well-Being http://krcc.org/post/annual-report-childrens-well-being <p><br />Child advocates say more children continue to live in poverty in Colorado compared to when the state was in the depths of the recession. Bente&nbsp;Birkeland has more from the state capitol.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><em>&nbsp;(You can find the full report from the Colorado Children's Campaign&nbsp;<a href="http://www.coloradokids.org/data/kidscount/2014kidscount.html" target="_blank">here</a>.)</em></p> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 22:59:39 +0000 Bente Birkeland 16788 at http://krcc.org Annual Report on Children's Well-Being Capitol Conversation: The Upcoming Budget Debate http://krcc.org/post/capitol-conversation-upcoming-budget-debate <p>Lawmakers in the statehouse are gearing up to debate the budget in the coming days. As part of our weekly capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about what to expect and what makes this year's dynamic different.<br />&nbsp;</p> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 16:51:49 +0000 Bente Birkeland 16711 at http://krcc.org Capitol Conversation: The Upcoming Budget Debate 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 Capitol Conversation: Senate Race Shakeup http://krcc.org/post/capitol-conversation-senate-race-shakeup <p>News last week that Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is entering the U.S. Senate race to try and unseat Democrat Mark Udall sent shock waves through Colorado’s political landscape.&nbsp; The move has caused some Republicans to drop out of the race.&nbsp; As part of our weekly Capitol Conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about the change.<br />&nbsp;</p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 14:33:00 +0000 Bente Birkeland 15769 at http://krcc.org Capitol Conversation: Senate Race Shakeup '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? Capitol Conversation: Education http://krcc.org/post/capitol-conversation-education <p>Lawmakers are rolling out a new bi-partisan funding plan for K through 12 schools, but many in the education community are not board with it. As part of our capitol conversation series, Bente&nbsp;Birkeland talks to statehouse reporters about the education agenda this session, and some unusual alliances it's creating.<br />&nbsp;</p> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 14:33:00 +0000 Bente Birkeland 15495 at http://krcc.org Capitol Conversation: Education 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 GOP Gubernatorial Challengers Debate http://krcc.org/post/gop-gubernatorial-challengers-debate <p>Four of the six Republican candidates seeking to replace Governor John&nbsp;Hickenlooper in the fall faced off in their first formal debate last night at the <em>Denver Post</em>. As Bente&nbsp;Birkeland reports, they touched on a host of topics – including the two missing candidates.<br />&nbsp;</p> Thu, 20 Feb 2014 02:21:08 +0000 Bente Birkeland 15336 at http://krcc.org GOP Gubernatorial Challengers Debate 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 Capitol Conversation: Branding Colorado http://krcc.org/post/capitol-conversation-branding-colorado <p>Last summer Colorado officials rolled out a new state brand and logo. It’s popular among some groups but received mixed support at the state capitol. A Republican bill to send the branding question to a vote of the people failed at the statehouse. As part of capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about the back story and where the branding issue goes from here.<br />&nbsp;</p> Mon, 10 Feb 2014 14:48:26 +0000 Bente Birkeland 14937 at http://krcc.org Capitol Conversation: Branding Colorado Radio Communications Bill Clears First Committee http://krcc.org/post/radio-communications-bill-clears-first-committee <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A bill to study how to upgrade the state’s emergency radio communication system is moving through the statehouse. Lawmakers say the bill is important in the wake of recent wildfires and floods. </span>Bente<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>Birkeland<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> has more from the state capitol.</span><br />&nbsp;</p> Thu, 06 Feb 2014 23:44:48 +0000 Bente Birkeland 14815 at http://krcc.org Radio Communications Bill Clears First Committee 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