Capitol Coverage

Colorado Business
3:36 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Brand Colorado Slowly Gaining Steam

John Scaggs with Haystack Mountain Goat Dairystands beside aging cheese. Scaggs' company has started using the state's new Colorado branding.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 5:16 pm

More and more companies are starting to use the new Colorado logo and slogan - “it’s our nature” - to promote their products, helping the state's efforts to strengthen its brand and global competitiveness. The branding effort though has been somewhat controversial and it will take some time to determine its success.

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Capitol Coverage
5:04 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Governor Hickenlooper Signs Stricter Pot Regulations

Governor John Hickenlooper signs House Bill 1361 to create an equivalency between marijuana that is smoked, and marijuana in a concentrate form that is vaporized.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 6:57 am

Governor John Hickenlooper signed two measures into law Wednesday, both aimed at tightening rules around marijuana edibles and concentrates. One goal is to make sure young children don’t accidentally ingest the drug.

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Capitol Coverage
4:35 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

A Look Back At The Wrapped Colorado Legislative Session

Colorado Senate GOP Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 8:45 am

Colorado’s legislative session wrapped up on a muted tone Wednesday with most major bills already tied up before the closing gavel fell. This session was relatively calm compared to the previous, when Democrats pushed through historic and controversial proposals.

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Capitol Coverage
7:06 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Final Day of Legislative Session Sees Passage of Disaster Tax Relief Bill

Credit file

Colorado’s legislative session wrapped up with a quiet final day, as lawmakers put the finishing touches on several bills and gave tributes to outgoing members. And as Bente Birkeland reports, one of the least controversial measures passed after last minute negotiations.

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Capitol Coverage
7:08 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Marijuana Edible Proposal Watered Down

Credit clipart

A bill to require stricter labels for edible marijuana products faced a setback on Thursday. Members of the Senate Health and Human Services committee voted to study the issue rather than move forward with new labels. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

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Capitol Coverage
7:06 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Wildfire Prevention Proposal Likely to Fail

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One of the key wildfire prevention measures of this year’s legislative session is in jeopardy of failing. The proposal has cleared the house, but as Bente Birkeland reports it faces new opposition in the senate.
 

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Capitol Coverage
4:45 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Electronic Data Search Warrants in Colorado

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Colorado voters are likely to decide whether law enforcement agencies need a warrant to search electronic records, such as data stored on cell phones. Lawmakers are trying to refer a measure to the November ballot. The U.S. Supreme Court heard hearing two cases on the issue yesterday. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

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Capitol Conversation
9:04 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Capitol Conversation: Session Nears its End

Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

Colorado's annual legislative session is close to wrapping up for the year. As part of our capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks with statehouse reporters about upcoming measures that will soon be decided.
 

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Capitol Conversation
4:52 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Vaccine Bill Stripped Down

The state senate significantly watered down a vaccine education proposal on Wednesday. Many parents came to the state capitol to testify that the original bill was a government overreach.
 

House Bill 1288 requires schools and day care centers to collect data on the number of children immunized and the rate of exemptions. But the bill originally required parents to take an online education class or get a letter from a doctor or public health official before opting their children out of vaccines.

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Capitol Conversation
10:34 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Capitol Conversation: Dems Scuttle Abortion Rights Bill

Credit D. Utterback

Democrats at the state capitol scuttled an abortion rights bill just before the senate was about to debate it on the floor. It was broadly written and would have banned Colorado from "enacting any policy that denies or interferes with and individual’s reproductive healthcare decisions.” As part of our Capitol Conversation series, Bente Birkeland analyzes the political motivations behind the measure and why Democrats reversed course so quickly.
 

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Elections
4:09 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Republicans Whittle Down GOP Candidates

Republicans gathered in Boulder for their state assembly on Saturday and narrowed down the list of candidates for Governor. As Bente Birkeland reports, the party also nominated people for other statewide races and for the U.S. Senate.
 

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Capitol Conversation
3:55 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Capitol Conversation: Pending Measures

Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

Lawmakers at the state capitol have some big-ticket items to iron out before the session wraps up in May.

As part of our Capitol Conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to statehouse reporters about some of those measures.

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Capitol Coverage
5:07 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Sponsor Pulls Cyber-Bullying Bill

Credit file

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.
 

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Capitol Coverage
7:20 am
Thu April 10, 2014

'Student Success Act' Passes House on Initial Vote

Lawmakers have scaled back several provisions in a major education bill after hearing the concerns from school districts across the state. The Student Success Act initially passed the House on Wednesday with the new changes. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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Capitol Conversation
3:25 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Capitol Conversation: State Budget Enters Final Stages

Credit D. Utterback

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.
 

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Capitol Coverage
4:46 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

State Senate Passes Bi-Partisan Budget

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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.
 

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Capitol Coverage
10:45 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

State Senate Adds Money for Aerial Firefighting Fleet

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.
 

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Capitol Coverage
2:50 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Budget May Douse State Aerial Firefighting Fleet

A Type 1 helicopter, known as a snorkel, drops water on the High Park Fire near Fort Collins, Colo., June, 2012.
National Guard Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 10:56 am

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.

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Capitol Coverage
5:00 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Telecom Proposals Move Forward

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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.
 

Similar proposals have failed in the past, but this year there’s more momentum and strong backing from the Governor’s office. Supporters say the flagship measure would redirect some of the money currently used to pay for high cost land lines into building broadband in underserved areas.

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Capitol Conversation
4:59 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Annual Report on Children's Well-Being

Colorado Child Well-Being Index
Credit Kids Count in Colorado! / Colorado Children's Campaign

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 Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

 (You can find the full report from the Colorado Children's Campaign here.)

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Capitol Conversation
10:51 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Capitol Conversation: The Upcoming Budget Debate

Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

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.
 

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Southwest Chief
8:12 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Railroad West: Colorado Lawmakers Weigh In on the Southwest Chief

Amtrak's Southwest Chief pulls into the Lamar station.
Credit Maggie Spencer / KRCC

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.  It’s part of a multi-state effort.
 

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.

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Capitol Coverage
10:10 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Cigarette Restriction Bill Goes Up In Smoke

Smokers in Old Town Fort Collins, in this file photo from May 2007.
Paul L. Dineen Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 8:44 am

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.

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Capitol Coverage
5:28 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

State Budget Forecast is Stronger than Anticipated

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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.
 

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.

“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.

She says the recovery has been slow, but it’s picking up.

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Capitol Conversation
5:05 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Capitol Conversation: Health Bills & the Budget

Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

A number of controversial healthcare bills are up for debate at the statehouse this legislative session.  For this week’s Capitol Conversation, statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about some of them, and also talks about one of the biggest budget fights going forward.
 

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Capitol Coverage
10:12 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Cell Phone Driving Ban Defeated

Credit clipart

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.
 

The hearing was emotional at times and lawmakers were brought to tears after Shelly Forney 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.

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Capitol Coverage
7:16 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Disaster Relief On The Docket At The State Capitol

Jim Hill KUNC

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 6:50 pm

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.

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Capitol Coverage
8:12 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Taking A Tally At The Colorado Legislative Midpoint

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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.

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.

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Education
6:49 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Funding K-12: Bi-Partisan Bill Gets First Hearing

Credit Clipart

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.
 

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Capitol Conversation
7:33 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Capitol Conversation: Senate Race Shakeup

Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

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.  The move has caused some Republicans to drop out of the race.  As part of our weekly Capitol Conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about the change.
 

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