Legal Issues

Capitol Conversation
3:06 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Capitol Conversation: Session's Second Half Begins

Capitol Reporter Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

Governor John Hickenlooper recently sat down with reporters to discuss how the legislative session is going so far. Lawmakers are just past the midpoint of the four-month long session.

Which bills are being delayed?

How is the Governor handling split legislative control?

Here are a couple highlights from the conversation:

Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press

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Capitol Coverage
4:24 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Two Republican Religious Freedom Bills Fall In Committee

Opponents of two religious liberty proposals rally at the state capitol prior to the hearing on Monday. They said the bills would hurt business and give people a license to discriminate in Colorado. Jessie Ulibarri (D-Westiminster) attended the rally.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 8:52 am

Two Republican religious freedom bills drew strong opposition from gay rights groups, civil liberties organizations and members of the business community Monday. The first bill, known as House Bill 1171 [.pdf], would have forbade government officials from constraining the exercise of religion had it not been struck down in committee.

The second bill, House Bill 1161 [.pdf], would have protected people from facing penalties for refusing to violate their beliefs and was also defeated.

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Capitol Coverage
10:28 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

House Committee Delays Vote on Drone Use

Credit file

The sponsor of a proposal to put guardrails around the use of drones for non- government purposes asked lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee to delay a vote on the bill on Tuesday.

“I would work with members of the committee to make sure it truly protects the privacy of people in the state,” said Representative Polly Lawrence (R-Roxborough Park).

After nearly two hours of testimony that focused on emerging technologies and a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy, many lawmakers said still they had questions about the bill.

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Capitol Coverage
8:40 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Hickenlooper Responds to the Work of His Oil & Gas Task Force

Governor Hickenlooper responds to the work of his oil & gas task force
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Governor John Hickenlooper’s oil and gas task force will deliver its final recommendations Friday. The group is proposing nine changes to try and mitigate the impacts of energy development near communities. The task force also wants local governments to be more involved in developing large drill sites, but stopped short of allowing cities and counties to adopt stricter rules than the state standards. Bente Birkeland sat down with the Governor to discuss his thoughts on the group’s work and some of the backlash from members of his own party.

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Capitol Coverage
2:26 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Colorado Faces New Challenges to Pot Legalization

Marijuana at legal grow operation in Colorado.
Credit Brett Levin Flickr / Creative Commons

The state of Colorado is facing new lawsuits over recreational marijuana legalization. The Washington DC based Safe Streets Alliance is suing the state in federal court to try and close down the industry.

“It is illegal under federal law to sell marijuana and in this country federal law is the supreme law of the land,” said David Thompson, the lead attorney for the Safe Streets Alliance.

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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:
 

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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

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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. 

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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.
 

 

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Black Forest Fire
4:12 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Black Forest Fire Cause Undetermined; No Criminal Charges

Investigators say there’s not enough evidence to file charges in connection with last year’s devastating Black Forest Fire.

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Legal Affairs
3:52 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Colorado AG: Same-Sex Marriage Licenses will be Issued

Credit clipart

Update: 10/7/14, 10:38 am

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office has announced same-sex marriage licenses are available at the clerk's office, effective immediately.  In a statement, the office says they received "final clearance" from the office of Attorney General John Suthers.

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Energy
5:10 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Colorado Dismisses Lawsuit Against Longmont's Oil and Gas Rules

State energy regulators have dropped their lawsuit against the city of Longmont for adopting stricter oil and gas rules that Colorado officials argued infringed on the state’s rights. Bente Birkeland has more…

Meanwhile, a judge in Fort Collins today ruled that that city's ban on fracking violates state law.

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Capitol Coverage
10:41 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Judge Rules Against Colorado's Gay Marriage Ban

Credit clipart

A federal judge in Colorado struck down the state’s gay marriage ban Wednesday. The judge put a temporary hold on the decision so the state can appeal it to a higher court. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

The judge in this case has issued a stay until late August as part of the ruling to give the state a chance to appeal.  While Attorney General John Suthers and Governor John Hickenlooper both requested a stay so the issue could eventually be decided by the U. S. Supreme Court, both agreed the state ban should be declared unconstitutional.

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Capitol Coverage
4:27 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Reporter Roundtable: Same-Sex Marriage in Colorado's Courts

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A federal judge in Denver said Colorado’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional and three county clerks have been issuing marriage licenses in the state. Bente Birkeland talks to statehouse reporters about the changes and what it means politically.

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El Paso County
4:27 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

EPC Sheriff Faces Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa is facing allegations of inappropriate behavior, including creating a hostile work environment and sexual discrimination.  Several department commanders say the sheriff had affairs with three subordinates, abused those who questioned the alleged relationships, and removed all oversight of the department's $60 million budget.  

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Capitol Coverage
4:45 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Electronic Data Search Warrants in Colorado

Credit clipart

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 Coverage
7:54 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Mug Shots Bill Moves Forward

Credit file

A bipartisan committee at the statehouse has moved forward a bill to make it easier to remove people’s mug shots from commercial websites if they were never convicted of the crime for which they were arrested.
 

Supporters of House Bill 1047 say it’s wrong for businesses to post mug shots and force people to pay to take them down.

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Local News
5:08 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Cantaloupe Farmers Sentenced to Probation

Credit Clipart

Cantaloupe farmers in eastern Colorado responsible for a deadly outbreak of listeria two years ago were sentenced today after pleading guilty to six misdemeanor charges in October. KRCC’s Nat Stein has more.
 

A federal magistrate in Denver sentenced brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen to five years of probation, starting with six months of home detention. Each brother also must pay $150,000 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service.

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Local News
7:26 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Cantaloupe Farmers Seek Probation

Credit Clipart

Two Colorado cantaloupe farmers are asking a federal judge for probation rather than jail time.  Two years ago, a deadly listeria outbreak was traced back to cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms in southeastern Colorado. Brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen own the farm and in October pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. These federal charges can carry penalties of up to six years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

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Local News
7:06 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Colorado Springs Opts Out of Recreational Marijuana Sales

Tally shows which council members voted for the ban on recreational marijuana sales, and who didn't.

Colorado Springs City Council voted yesterday to opt-out of recreational marijuana sales after listening to public comments and a plea from Mayor Steve Bach to opt-out. Bach called it a jobs killer, and cited concerns from the military.  Bach also said it’s important to take a regional approach, mentioning other communities who have opted out of recreational marijuana sales like El Paso County, Monument, and Green Mountain Falls.  If council decided not to opt-out, they would have voted on a moratorium.  But Bach pressed for the ban.

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Capitol Coverage
3:38 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Morse, Giron Recall Elections Set for September 10th

A recall effort is moving forward to oust two Democratic state lawmakers over their support for gun control laws. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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RMCR News
7:06 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Magazine Law Injunction Declared Unneeded

Credit clipart

A group of sheriffs aiming to overturn new gun laws are happy with language they say clears up confusion. Yesterday, attorneys for the two sides came to an agreement on the measure that limits magazine rounds to fifteen. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

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RMCR News
7:35 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Judge to Consider Challenges to New Gun Laws

Credit clipart

A lawsuit filed by more than 50 Colorado sheriffs challenging two new gun laws is scheduled to go in front of a judge today. The laws went into effect July 1st. Now, an attorney representing the sheriffs is asking for the parts of the law setting limits on gun magazines be put on hold. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

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