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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Voters ousted two Democratic state lawmakers yesterday in the first ever recall elections of state legislators. The recalls come in the wake of new gun legislation passed earlier this year.
Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs conceded around 9:30, calling the defeat symbolic. Morse was unapologetic over his stance on the new gun control measures, and says it was worth the political risk.
It’s election day for parts of El Paso and Pueblo Counties. State senators John Morse and Angela Giron are facing possible recalls. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin caught up with the El Paso County Clerk at Centennial Hall, where at mid-day, voter traffic was moving swiftly.
This is one of seven voting centers open today in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs. Clerk Wayne Williams says turnout today has been lighter at times than last week, but he says there could be an after-work rush.