Legislature

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
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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

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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

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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 Coverage
9:39 am
Wed February 26, 2014

'The $100 Million Question': What To Do With All That Marijuana Tax Money?

Marijuana at a newly legal grow operation in Colorado. Lawmakers are expecting a windfall of tax revenue from legalized recreational marijuana.
Brett Levin Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 10:29 am

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.

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Capitol Coverage
4:07 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Superintendents Seek Greater Role in Education Policy

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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.

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Capitol Coverage
10:14 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Debating US Hwy 36 and a Public-Private Partnership

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.
 

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Local News
6:32 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

"Making Colorado" Brand Sees 250 Registrants

Credit brandColorado

250 companies have registered for Colorado’s new branding program since its launch last year, even as the logo faces a legislative challenge. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
 

“Making Colorado” looks to have a unified logo for products made in the state. The logo is currently under legislative review after mixed reaction. 

Chief Marketing Officer Aaron Kennedy says the new registrations are a great start and it’s too early to tell what may come of action at the statehouse.

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Capitol Coverage
3:56 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Democrats Strike Down Background Check Repeal

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The gun debate that riveted the state capitol last session once again took center stage yesterday. As Bente Birkeland reports, emotions were strong, but compared to last year, fewer people came to the capitol to testify on a key gun bill.

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.

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Capitol Coverage
7:55 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Guns Stay Hot Topic at Statehouse

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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.
 

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.  

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Capitol Conversation
7:01 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Capitol Conversation: Measures Start Moving through Statehouse

Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland
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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.
 

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Capitol Coverage
7:44 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Wildfire Legislative Proposals

Helping prevent and fight wildfires is one of the top priorities for Colorado lawmakers in both parties this session. But so far, substantial policy changes recommended by the Governor’s wildfire task force are being rejected. As Bente Birkeland reports, the current package of legislative proposals is not nearly as aggressive as some would like.
 

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Capitol Conversation
7:26 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Capitol Conversation: The Session Begins

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It didn’t take long before tempers flared during the first full week of Colorado’s legislative session. In the state senate, party leaders had an intense back and forth about a Republican bill to repeal universal background checks for gun purchases. Bente Birkeland analyzes the dynamic as part of our capitol conversation series.
 

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Capitol Coverage
8:41 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Lawmakers Briefed on School Safety

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School safety experts briefed lawmakers on the joint education committee yesterday. They asked the state to focus on preventing school violence rather than simply trying to stop it. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

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Capitol Coverage
8:42 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Renewable Energy Standard Target of State GOP Repeal Efforts

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State lawmakers are expected to debate the repeal of a controversial renewable energy bill today. As Bente Birkeland reports, Senate Bill 252 was one of the most hotly debated bills last legislative session.

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Capitol Coverage
7:39 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Lawmakers to Consider Shield Law for Journalists

A newly elected Republican state senator wants to strengthen the shield law for journalists. The measure would mean reporters would not have to reveal confidential sources. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

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Capitol Coverage
7:25 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Legislative Priorities in the 2014 Session

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Education and recovery from natural disasters are some of the top priorities for lawmakers this upcoming session. As Bente Birkeland reports, legislators in both parties have already introduced dozens of bills.
 

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Capitol Conversation
7:24 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Capitol Conversation: State of the State, Session Begins

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State lawmakers are back to work under the gold dome for the annual legislative session. As part of our capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to political reporters about the first few days, and the Governor’s state of the state address.
 

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Capitol Coverage
8:11 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Governor Delivers State of the State Address

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Governor John Hickenlooper says Colorado has weathered a tough year but showed the world what it means to come together and be strong. The Governor gave what could be his final state of the state address on Thursday – before facing reelection in the fall. 

The Governor’s speech began on a somber note as he remembered the tests Colorado faced in 2013. The head of the State’s Department of Corrections was gunned down. Natural disasters plagued the summer and fall – and then there was December’s shooting at Arapahoe High School…

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Capitol Coverage
7:36 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Colorado Legislature Opens 2014 With A Call For Collaboration Rather Than Confrontation

Lawmakers get reacquainted before the new legislative session opened at the Colorado capitol Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:08 pm

As the 2014 legislative session opened Wednesday, newly elected state Senate President Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) – the second woman to hold the position – urged lawmakers to problem solve and skip the shouting matches in her opening day speech.

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Capitol Coverage
7:27 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Capitol Conversation: Previewing Legislative Priorities

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Last legislative session state lawmakers tackled a host of controversial issues from changing how Colorado funds K through 12 schools, to new renewable energy standards for rural utilities. Democrats who control both chambers and the Governor’s office also passed stricter gun laws.

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Capitol Coverage
7:31 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Capitol Conversation: Session Preview

State lawmakers return to the capitol on Wednesday and they face a tough political climate. Several members are running for higher office. The makeup in the senate has also changed since last session: two Democrats were recalled for supporting stricter gun laws, and another Democrat resigned rather than face a potential recall election. Bente Birkeland discusses how politics will shape the legislature as part of our ongoing Capitol Conversation series.

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Capitol Coverage
7:35 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Lawmakers Reflect on Gun Laws

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State lawmakers are once again heading into a legislative session following a school shooting. Colorado passed controversial gun laws earlier this year in the wake of the Aurora theatre shooting and the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Bente Birkeland takes a look back at the gun legislation and talks to lawmakers who are taking stock of things.

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Capitol Coverage
7:09 am
Fri December 13, 2013

New Background Check Law Impacts Gun Sales

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Democratic state lawmakers say a new law requiring universal background checks for gun purchases is working well. Data from the Department of Public Safety shows 2% of private gun sales were blocked because of the law.

Seventy-two sales were stopped because the would-be buyer was convicted or charged with a serious crime; such as murder, sexual assault, possession of dangerous drugs and theft. 

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Capitol Coverage
8:52 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Lawmakers Consider Bill Proposals

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State lawmakers will review proposed bills to deal with water issues, wildfires and poverty today. The measures are the product of months of hearings at the state capitol. Bente Birkeland has more.

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Capitol Coverage
5:00 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

New State Senate President Elected

State Senate President-Elect, Morgan Carroll (D)
Credit Colorado General Assembly

State senate Democrats unanimously elected a new president to lead the chamber next year following the September recall of John Morse. As Bente Birkeland reports, Morgan Carroll will become only the second female senate president in state history.

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Capitol Coverage
4:43 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Another State Lawmaker Targeted for Recall

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Colorado senate Democrats blasted gun rights groups today for trying to recall another state lawmaker. Two Democrats were ousted in September over support for stricter gun laws. The latest campaign targets Westminster Democrat Evie Hudak.
 

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Capitol Coverage
7:06 am
Thu September 12, 2013

What the Recall Election Means for Next Session

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Gun rights activists in Colorado are savoring what they call a sweet victory. On Tuesday Democratic Senate president John Morse and Senator Angela Giron were voted out of office for supporting stricter gun laws, in the first legislative recall in state history. As Bente Birkeland reports, the election could change the dynamic under the gold dome.

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