Capitol Coverage

Capitol Conversation
7:45 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Capitol Conversation: Checking in on the Session

Colorado’s 2015 legislative session has been marked by a host of interesting and controversial issues, rather than one or two topics dominating debates. Bente Birkeland checks in with other statehouse reporters as part of our weekly capitol conversation series.
 

Read more
Capitol Coverage
2:54 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Mineral Rights Bill Clears Committee

Credit file

A measure that would require cities and counties to compensate mineral owners who aren’t able to develop oil and gas because of local regulations cleared its first committee at the statehouse on Thursday. Bente Birkeland has more:
 

Read more
Marijuana
10:11 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Legalized Marijuana and an Education Conundrum

Arapaho Ridge High School in Boulder
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

It has been more than a year since recreational marijuana stores opened in Colorado and retail sales began. Schools are grappling with the best way to discusses marijuana in the classroom amidst changing attitudes. 

While schools aren’t required to separate out marijuana incidents from other illicit drugs such as cocaine, anecdotal evidence compiled by Rocky Mountain PBS I-News suggests more students are using marijuana.

Read more
Marijuana
4:05 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Measuring Pot Use in Schools

Credit Clipart.com

Even after a full year of being able to purchase recreational marijuana – questions still remain for the state of Colorado. Is its use dangerous, should there be tighter labeling on pot edibles – and is its easy access impacting middle and high school students? Recent data compiled by the Department of Education and Rocky Mountain PBS I-News show incidents of student drug use last year hitting a ten-year high, but state officials don’t have a clear picture if the two are related.

Read more
Capitol Conversation
7:45 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Capitol Conversation: Physician Assisted Suicide

Capitol reporter Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

Democratic lawmakers in Colorado recently introduced a measure to allow terminally ill patients to take medication to end their lives. The patients must be given a prognosis from two different physicians giving them less than six months to live.

Why do supporters say it’s the compassionate choice?

Who strongly opposes it?

Bente Birkeland discusses the proposal with statehouse reporters.

Some key points from the conversation:

Precautions in Place

Ivan Moreno with the Associated Press

Read more
Capitol Coverage
4:58 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Background Checks for Youth Leagues Defeated

Credit file

A bill to require background checks for volunteers and employees of youth sports clubs failed to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Opponents said the measure had too many gaps in it. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

In Colorado, roughly 6 million children play in youth sports clubs, ranging from soccer and baseball to swimming and basketball.  Supporters say these sports clubs attract sexual predators because of lax standards.

Read more
Capitol Coverage
2:58 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Physician Assisted Suicide Bill Introduced

Credit file

A bill to allow terminally ill patients to take their own lives was introduced at the state capitol Tuesday. Supporters say they want to give patients an option to die with dignity.
 

House Bill 1135 [.pdf] would let people who have less than six months to live take a prescription to die. 

Read more
Capitol Conversation
7:31 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Capitol Conversation: Republicans Flex New Senate Majority Status

Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

Colorado’s new Republican Senate majority flexed their muscles last week at the state capitol. They used their power on the joint budget committee to defund a 2013 law allowing people in the country illegally to obtain a state driver’s license. They also struck down a bill to harmonize Colorado’s civil unions law with a gay marriage ban that was deemed unconstitutional by the 10th circuit court of appeals. They also struck down a commission looking pay equity between men and women.

Read more
Capitol Coverage
1:59 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

State Republicans Look to Supreme Court for Civil Union/Gay Marriage Clarity

Credit file

Republicans at the state capitol defeated a bill on Wednesday that sought to clean up and harmonize the state’s civil unions and gay marriage laws. Lawmakers said they wanted to wait and see how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue this summer. Bente Birkeland has more.
 

 

Read more
Capitol Conversation
9:54 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

Capitol Conversation: Hickenlooper's State of the State

Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

Governor John Hickenlooper gave his annual State of the State Address in front of a joint session of the General Assembly Thursday. 
 

Capitol Conversation Highlights

What stood out in Address

 Ed Sealover- Denver Business Journal

Read more
Capitol Coverage
12:45 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Hickenlooper Q & A: 'We Have Some Very Difficult Choices to Make'

Governor John Hickenlooper
Credit Colorado.gov

Governor John Hickenlooper said he was intentionally vague at times during his annual state of the state address, which he delivered to the legislature on Thursday. He recently sat down to discuss his speech and what it means for the year ahead with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland.

Interview highlights:
 

Governor Hickenlooper on the Constitutional Conflicts between TABOR, Amendment 23 and Gallagher

Read more
Capitol Coverage
8:47 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

State Of The State Is 'Strong' As Hickenlooper Outlines 2015 Plans

Stephen Butler Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 6:38 pm

Governor John Hickenlooper received a warm reception from lawmakers in both parties during his annual State of the State Address. The Governor talked about policies he wants the legislature to adopt, announced a few new initiatives and urged lawmakers to face facts about the challenges facing Colorado.

During his roughly 45-minute speech Hickenlooper highlighted many of his budget proposals, such as giving more money to higher education and K-12 schools. He also pledged to look at ways to creatively fund roads and bridges, and threw his support behind a felony DUI law. Colorado is one of four states without one.

Read more
Capitol Coverage
7:58 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Hickenlooper, State Lawmakers Take Oath of Office

Credit file

Governor John Hickenlooper was sworn into office Tuesday for his second term. The ceremony took place on a chilly morning outside the west steps of the state capitol. Several hundred people gathered to watch Hickenlooper along with other statewide elected officials take the oath of office.
 

Read more
Capitol Conversation
8:57 pm
Sun January 11, 2015

Capitol Conversation: 2015 Legislative Session Opens

Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

Colorado’s legislative session opened last week. As part of our Capitol Conversation series, statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland discusses the beginning of the session with other political reporters, and touches on some of the bills that were introduced during opening week.

Read more
Capitol Coverage
7:32 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Colorado's Legislative Session Opens

Credit clipart

One hundred lawmakers from across Colorado converged on the state capitol Wednesday for opening day of the annual legislative session. Freshman lawmakers from both parties were officially sworn in and both chambers which have new leaders.

Much of the day’s attention was focused on the Senate, where Republicans gained the majority for the first time in a decade. For all their gains, newly elected senate president Bill Cadman [R- Colorado Springs] gave a rather subdued speech – talking less about policy and more on building trust and civility among lawmakers.

Read more
Capitol Coverage
4:42 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Legislative Preview: Q & A with Morgan Carroll, Colo. Senate Minority Leader

Morgan Carroll, Senate Minority Leader
Credit Colorado General Assembly

In a series of interviews with legislative leaders, statehouse correspondent Bente Birkeland discusses the upcoming legislative session and the change of control in the state Senate. Morgan Carroll [D-Aurora] is going from senate president to minority leader.  
 

Morgan Carroll on Republicans gaining control of the state Senate

Read more
Capitol Coverage
5:02 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Legislative Preview: Q & A with Colo. House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst

Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Speaker of the House
Credit Colorado General Assembly

Dickey Lee Hullinghorst [D-Boulder] will be the next speaker of the House. She discusses her priorities and her party’s agenda for the session, as a part of a series of interviews with legislative leaders.

Dickey Lee Hullinghorst discusses the Governor’s Oil and Gas Task Force

Read more
Capitol Coverage
7:44 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Legislative Preview: Q & A with Brian DelGrosso, Colo. House Minority Leader

Brian DelGrosso, House minority leader [R-Loveland]
Credit Colorado General Assembly

House minority leader Brian DelGrosso [R-Loveland] discusses his thoughts on the upcoming legislative session as part of a series of interviews with legislative leaders. DelGrosso was the minority leader for the last two years, and his party made gains in the house last November to narrow the Democratic majority.

DelGrosso on Spilt Legislative Control

Read more
Capitol Conversation
7:44 am
Fri January 2, 2015

Capitol Conversation: Previewing the 2015 Session

 
State lawmakers return to the capitol for the annual legislative session on Wednesday, January 7th. Bente Birkeland gets a preview of what to expect as part of our Capitol Conversation series.
 

Read more
Water
4:05 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Draft Water Plan for Colorado Unveiled

Governor Hickenlooper releases the draft water plan for the state. It's open now for public comments.

Governor John Hickenlooper unveiled a draft of the state’s first ever water plan on Wednesday. The goal is to create a comprehensive water strategy to protect rural farm economies and bring more water to millions of people along the Front Range.The plan has been a decade in the making and supporters say it will help the state meet water demands as the population grows.
 

Read more
Capitol Coverage
8:07 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Lawmakers to Consider Physician-Assisted Suicide

Credit file

Colorado is one of several states that will take up the issue of physician-assisted suicide. The topic is once again in the national spotlight with the recent death of Brittany Maynard. The terminally ill 29 year-old moved to Oregon to take advantage of that state’s Death with Dignity law.

Read more
Capitol Coverage
7:53 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Restoration at the State Capitol

Restoration efforts inside the state capitol
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado’s state capitol is getting a major upgrade. A two-year renovation of the building’s signature gold dome was recently completed – and on the inside, work is underway on both the House and Senate chambers. As with any remodeling project, workers have uncovered some interesting surprises along the way.
 

The state capitol opened in 1894 and several restoration projects have been undertaken since then. The most recent work began because of a radiator…

Read more
Sand Creek Massacre
6:45 am
Thu December 4, 2014

In Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of Sand Creek, Governor Hickenlooper Apologizes

Tribal leaders and others gather outside the state capitol to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre.
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Governor John Hickenlooper has apologized on behalf of the state of Colorado for the Sand Creek Massacre. The Massacre happened in the early morning of November 29th, 1864.  U.S. Calvary soldiers converged on a sleeping group of mostly women, children and elderly Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. The 150 year-old event is one of the most notable incidents of violence against Native Americans in the history of the west.
 

Read more
Oil & Gas
12:20 pm
Sat November 22, 2014

Agreement Reached For Colorado's Roan Plateau

Colorado's Roan Plateau
Courtesy of EcoFlight

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 3:25 pm

The Bureau of Land Management, environmentalists, and the energy industry have reached an agreement on a proposal to drill for oil and gas on the Roan Plateau. The new plan cancels 17 out of 19 oil and gas leases that were issued in 2008. Two previous leases at the top of the plateau, and a dozen at the base will remain in place.

"These measures allow us to protect the plateau but harness some of the energy resources," said Governor John Hickenlooper.

Read more
Capitol Conversation
5:07 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Capitol Conversation: A Divided Statehouse

Credit file

Colorado's statehouse will have divided control in January. Republicans gained a one-seat majority in the state senate, while Democrats held onto their house majority. Bente Birkeland talks to statehouse reporters about what that means for some key issues lawmakers hope to tackle.
 

Read more
Election 2014
11:10 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Hickenlooper Wins Re-Election

Hickenlooper declares victory, narrowly, at the state capitol on the day after Election Day.
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Democratic incumbent Governor John Hickenlooper narrowly won re-election after a race that was too close to call on Tuesday night. Hickenlooper faced off against former Congressman, Republican Bob Beauprez. It’s the second time Beauprez has lost the Governorship. Democratic Bill Ritter defeated him in 2006 by a much wider margin of double digits.

Many pundits were surprised at the intensity of the race, which was a nail biter until the end. The race wasn’t called by major news outlets until about 9:30am, more than twelve hours after polls closed.

Read more
Election
4:25 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Final Debate for Hickenlooper and Beauprez

With early voting well underway Colorado’s gubernatorial candidates staked out their positions one last time during their 8th and final debate hosted by KCNC channel 4 and Colorado Public Television last Friday night. Among the routine topics – things got heated over the issue of public safety.
 

Read more
Elections
4:42 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Will Colorado's Growing Latino Voting Bloc Cast Ballots this Midterm Election?

Two volunteers at a Senator Mark Udall field office in heavily Latino Adams County. They were there to help rally the Latino vote and knock on doors.
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Latinos make up about twenty percent of Colorado’s population and continue to be a highly courted voting bloc during this election. It’s a group that more frequently votes for Democrats, but Latinos also turn out less often in midterm elections, and both political parties face challenges in attracting them.
 

Republicans have long been trying to make inroads with Latino voters, especially in competitive states like Colorado, where a small number of votes could swing key races for the U.S. Senate and Governor.

Read more
Elections
6:46 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Amendment 68: Should Gambling Be Expanded And Taxed For Education Funding?

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 7:02 am

While much of the attention the 2014 election season has been focused on Colorado's Senate and gubernatorial races, voters will also be deciding the fates of four statewide ballot questions. One of those questions seeks to expand gambling at racetracks to help fund K-12 education.

If approved, Amendment 68 would allow horse race tracks in Arapahoe, Mesa and Pueblo counties to offer slot machines, roulette, craps, and card games such as blackjack and poker. Arapahoe Park in Aurora is at the center of the campaign.

Read more
Elections
9:10 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Hickenlooper Points To Successes On Economy, Bipartisanship

State of Colorado

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 8:38 am

After four years in office Governor John Hickenlooper is facing the toughest campaign of his political career. A recent poll from The Denver Post shows his race against Republican former Congressman Bob Beauprez statistically tied. What's more, Beauprez is also making gains on Hickenlooper in the Denver metro area and in rural Colorado.

Read more

Pages