Capitol Coverage

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado is well known for its outdoor recreation offerings, but Governor John Hickenlooper wants to take it to the next level by making it even easier for people to access open space and parks. Over the summer he unveiled the Colorado the Beautiful Initiative and more recently a $100 million pledge to create and connect bike trails. 

Thursday Newscast, 9/24/15, 5:32 PM

Sep 24, 2015

Newscast for Thursday, September 24, 2015, 5:32 PM:

Tom Koerner/USFWS / Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Interior decided on Tuesday that the greater sage grouse does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The bird spans eleven western states including Colorado, where it lives in pockets along the western slope.  The population is mostly concentrated in the northwest part of the state. Governor John Hickenlooper was one of the many people working to avoid a federal listing for the bird.  He sat down with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland to talk about the decision and other initiatives.

Interview Highlights

Tuesday Newscast, 9/22/15, 5:32 PM

Sep 22, 2015

Newscast for Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 5:32 PM:

Tuesday Newscast, 9/22/15, 7:20 AM

Sep 22, 2015

Newscast for Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 7:20 AM:

Monday Newscast, 9/21/15, 6:04 PM

Sep 21, 2015

Newscast for Monday, September 21, 2015, 6:04 PM:

Friday Newscast, 9/18/15, 5:32 PM

Sep 18, 2015

Newscast for Friday, September 18, 2015, 5:32 PM:

Colorado's ban on collecting rain from residential rooftops has been a contentious topic at the statehouse, and a proposed bill for 2016 means it will likely be debated once again.

"Colorado is the only western state where rain barrels are illegal," said Drew Beckwith, a water policy manager with the nonprofit Western Resource Advocates.

"Every other western state that has our water laws has them legal, and it has not caused the Earth to come crashing to a halt."

So why is there so much controversy over collecting rainwater? The sticking point is whether doing so impacts downstream water users.

Thursday Newscast, 9/17/15, 5:32 PM

Sep 17, 2015

Newscast for Thursday, September 17, 2015, 5:32 PM:

Wednesday Newscast, 9/16/15, 7:43 AM

Sep 16, 2015

Newscast for Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 7:43 AM:

Tuesday Newscast, 9/15/15, 5:32 PM

Sep 15, 2015

Newscast for Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 5:32 PM:

Oil drilling on Colorado's populous Front Range has forced more interactions between communities and the energy industry – and that's caused tension. At the recent annual Rocky Mountain Energy Summit, one of the discussions centered on how to improve relations between the industry and the public.

It's an ongoing issue that the state will tackle in a new rule making hearing.

Monday Newscast, 9/14/15, 5:32 PM

Sep 14, 2015

Newscast for Monday, September 14, 2015, 5:32 PM:

  • A bi-partisan committee of Colorado lawmakers is wrapping up statewide hearings this week on Colorado’s water plan. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
  • The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for much of southern Colorado tomorrow, starting at 11 and ending at 8..  Low humidity and gusty winds are in store for the region.  The National Weather Service has also issued a fire weather watch for Wednesday.

Thursday Newscast, 9/10/15, 6:04 PM

Sep 10, 2015

Newscast for Thursday, September 10, 205, 6:04 PM:

Colorado has largely been spared from this summer's political wrangling ahead of the 2016 presidential race. But as Republicans nationally are working to narrow the presidential field, the GOP in Colorado wants to widen its field of candidates to run against incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet next year.

"The numbers tell us Senator Bennet is vulnerable," said Republican state party Chairman Steve House. "It would be great to hold onto the U.S. Senate. Republicans have to defend a number of seats more than the Democrats."

The number of Coloradans who don't have health insurance has dropped by about half since President Barack Obama's signature health care law went into effect. The state's uninsured rate fell from 14.3 percent in 2013 to 6.7 percent in 2015. Not only does the Colorado Access Health Survey say that the uninsured are at a record low, it also finds that more people have enrolled in Medicaid.

Tuesday Newscast, 9/1/15, 5:32 PM

Sep 1, 2015

Newscast for Tuesday, September 1, 2015, 5:32 PM:

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Judge Richard Gabriel will soon be sworn in as Colorado's next State Supreme Court Justice. He currently serves on the Colorado Court of Appeals. He received his undergrad degree at Yale University and went to the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. He talked to statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland about his view of politics in the judicial process, why he became a lawyer, and some of his significant cases. 

Highlights from the Interview:

On Criticisms that Judges and Decisions are Too Political

Students are heading back to school, but the road to graduation for this year's incoming crop of seniors varies by high school. The reason? Unlike other states, Colorado does not have a set requirement for what it takes to receive a diploma.

Creating a standard is an ongoing debate and one that state lawmakers tried to answer in 2007 and 2008 when they approved legislation requiring a minimum statewide requirement.

A program to provide long acting reversible contraceptives to low-income women has been funded for another year. About a dozen health and community foundations have stepped up to provide the funds, something the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had been working overtime to try and secure.

Tuesday Newscast, 8/25/15, 5:32 PM

Aug 25, 2015

Newscast for Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 5:32 PM:

Thursday Newscast, 8/20/15, 5:32 PM

Aug 20, 2015

Newscast for Thursday, August 20, 2015, 5:32 PM:

  • According to a new state study, Colorado has a significant shortage of hospital beds for people suffering from mental illness and has increased needs for people behind bars.
  • A 3.9 magnitude earthquake shook Las Animas County last night, with an epicenter about 24 miles west of Trinidad.

Wednesday Newscast, 8/19/15

Aug 19, 2015

Newscast for Wednesday, August 19, 2015:

  • Business groups in Colorado are urging state regulators to finalize oil and gas rules recommended by a task force created by the Governor.
  • The La Plata County Sheriff's Office is releasing more information in the case of Dylan Redwine, the Monument 13-year-old who disappeared in 2012.

Tuesday Newscast, 8/18/15, 5:32 PM

Aug 18, 2015

Newscast for Tuesday, 8/18/15, 5:32 PM:

  • Several school superintendents came to the state capitol on Monday to talk about the challenges of preparing young children for kindergarten.
  • Colorado lawmakers are starting to quantify the state's racial profiling by law enforcement in the aftermath of high-profile clashes between the public and officers around the nation.

Monday Newscast, 8/17/15, 5:32 PM

Aug 17, 2015

Newscast for Monday, 8/17/15, 5:32 PM:

  • Some business groups in Colorado are raising concerns over an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to update air quality standards, which includes lowering the threshold for ground level ozone.
  • Colorado native Taylor Phinney has won the opening stage of the USA Pro Challenge.

UPDATE:  Without a consensus from the jury between life in prison and the death penalty, James Holmes receives the sentence of life in prison without the  possibility of parole.  

Original Post:

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

A six million dollar project to spiff up the state capitol is almost done. A two-year renovation of the building's signature gold dome is complete and now workers are restoring the inside of both the House and Senate chambers.

Colorado's capitol opened in 1894 and has gone through a few renovations since then. The latest iteration restores the chambers to how they looked at the turn of the century. As you peek in the chambers, you see scaffolding everywhere and behind it, the walls are covered with vibrant color panels and ornate stenciling.

Bente Birkeland

Dan Haley is the new executive director of the state's largest oil and gas industry trade group, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. He began the position on June 1st. His background is in media and journalism. He spent 20 years as a journalist and editor, serving as the editorial page editor at the Denver Post. He then joined the private sector as a media consultant.

Interview Highlights with Dan Haley:

On How his Media Background will help him lead the industry in Colorado.

Thursday Newscast, 7/23/15, 5:32 PM

Jul 23, 2015

Newscast for Thursday, 7/23/15, 5:32 PM:

  • A committee of state lawmakers studying water issues is wrapping up a tour in Durango, Montrose and Craig this week. The goal is to hear from local communities about the Colorado water plan and other water issues. Bente Birkeland has more.
  • High winds have caused the closure of some recreational areas on National Forest land in Douglas County.

Tuesday Newscast, 7/21/15, 5:32 PM

Jul 21, 2015

Newscast for Tuesday, 7/21/15, 5:32 PM:

  • A burned American flag was discovered on a statue in front of Colorado Springs City Hall.
  • Vice President Joe Biden toured a manufacturing center at the Community College of Denver today. Bente Birkeland reports.