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Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Despite some setbacks, Colorado lawmakers are praising the now completed 2017 legislative session.  Lawmakers avoided major funding cuts to hospitals and took a step toward jump-starting condominium developments, but they failed to send a measure to voters that sought to raise the state's sales tax to fund road infrastructure repair.

Bente Birkeland spoke with Democratic Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran about some of the major pieces of legislation that passed through the Democratic House and Republican Senate.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

CDOT will need ten times the $1.88 billion dollars awarded this legislative session for infrastructure projects around the state, says executive director Shailen Bhatt. That money was approved by lawmakers in a last minute deal after a sweeping transportation bill failed at the statehouse last month

91.5 KRCC

Colorado's annual 120-day legislative ended May 10. Lawmakers passed several bipartisan initiatives to restore proposed cuts to hospitals, and put more money into roads and schools. But many bills addressing key issues also failed.

Bente Birkeland talked with Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal and Brian Eason with the Denver Post about some of the highs and lows of the 2017 session.

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

A White House source has told Fox News that nearly a dozen candidates are under consideration to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey, including Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.

Colorado lawmakers waited until Wednesday, the final day of their annual session, to vote on what many people felt was their most significant bill: one addressing transportation. Democratic and Republican leaders wanted a deal. So did Gov. John Hickenlooper. And it took lawmakers until the last minute to hammer out a deal on transportation.

Nobody seemed to get everything they wanted, but Senate Bill 267 passed the house with a vote of 49 to 16 vote and is on its way to Hickenlooper for a signature. It adds about $2 billion for roads, but those who hoped to see  money go to mayors to address local problems, or to transit, were disappointed.

91.5 KRCC

Colorado's annual legislative session ends Wednesday, May 10. Several hundred bills have already passed this year, but some major items still remain. Bente Birkeland talked to statehouse reporters Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal and Nic Garcia at Chalkbeat Colorado about what's left to do.

Ginger Campbell / Flickr All Creative Commons

The Bureau of Land Management Royal Gorge Office is creating a new management plan for 650,000 acres of land and resources across eastern Colorado.  The current plan is more than 20 years old.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Governor John Hickenlooper wants the state to reevaluate how it inspects oil and gas wells in the wake of a fatal home explosion in Firestone. An oil and gas flow line was found to be severed and leaking methane and other gases. Two people died and another was critically injured in the explosion.  

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

A recent report on bicycle accessibility shows some areas where Colorado Springs biking infrastructure could improve. 

The report is part of the city's Bicycle Master Plan. It found that only 0.7% of Colorado Springs residents commute on bikes, compared to 1.3% statewide. Among other things, it also brought up frequent high speed limits as an impediment to safe biking. 

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

If lawmakers won't address the issue of transportation, several groups say they will, through a ballot initiative asking Colorado voters to raise taxes to improve roads, bridges and transit projects.

One of the most important advocates of the plan to increase taxes in the legislature was an unlikely ally, the Senate's top Republican. But he couldn't prevent members of his own party from defeating House Bill 1242 at the end of April.

91.5 KRCC

Colorado energy regulators are trying to quell the public's fears after a house built near an oil and gas well exploded, killing two men. The explosion happened in the small community of Firestone, thirty miles north of Denver, where oil and gas wells are common.  State officials are still investigating the explosion and don't know what caused it.

The largest oil and gas producer in Colorado has temporarily shut down 3,000 wells as an investigation into the explosion of a house where two people died continues.

KIRK SIEGLER / KUNC

Transportation funding, the highest legislative priority for the governor and leaders in both parties, failed in the Republican-controlled Senate Finance Committee Tuesday, April 25.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Earlier this month, Fort Collins Coloradoan reporter Nick Coltrain won the First Amendment Award in the Society for Professional Journalists' Top of the Rockies contest for a battle with Colorado State University. He wanted to know if there were inequities in pay between men and women.  He discovered there were, but only after a lot of work. The school provided him with a printout of all the information—150 pages of an Excel spreadsheet—rather than the files themselves.

Coltrain's struggle to convert the printouts into something he could analyze prompted a battle about the public's right to access data. On April 25, a senate bill to require electronic records be made available where possible advanced by a 7 to 6 vote in the House Finance Committee.

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

La comida es algo muy fuerte, or, Food is a very strong thing.

A fryer full of oil and empanadas bubbles inside Angie's Latin Food truck. It's parked in an empty lot on Chelton St. under a Walmart sign.

In the cramped space, Wilmer Adelid Machado and Olga Canales sidestep one another, taking orders at the window, talking to customers on the phone, and preparing traditional Honduran food with fresh ingredients.

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

Training is underway at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeast Colorado with the Army's 1st Stryker Brigade.

Officials say this is the largest training exercise ever to take place at the site, with about 5,500 soldiers participating.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado Springs city planners are asking for more public input on their PlanCOS initiative.

PlanCOS is an overarching road map for the city, looking at a broad range of issues including housing, economic development, and land use.

91.5 KRCC

Colorado's legislative session is starting to wind down, but two of the major policy goals are unraveling.

Getting more money for transportation infrastructure projects and transit is one of them. A bill that would send a sales tax increase to voters cleared the Democratic House and its first Senate committee. But Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham now says he doesn't have enough Republican Party support for the measure to pass the Finance committee.

KIRK SIEGLER / KUNC

Tempers are flaring in the final weeks of Colorado's legislative session and some of the top priorities for lawmakers are in serious jeopardy of failing.

Steve Wilson / Flickr - Creative Commons

The state's Southwest Chief commission, tasked with preserving Amtrak's Southwest Chief long-distance passenger rail route through southern Colorado, is set to expand its mission.

An app that encourages users to support farmers and growers in southern Colorado is moving into its third year. 

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Left-of-center candidates made out well in this month's Colorado Springs City Council election. Progressive favorites Richard Skorman, Yolanda Avila, and Jill Gaebler beat their more conservative challengers, and left-leaning David Geislinger was elected following an unopposed campaign. Together, along with at-large representative Bill Murray, these four could comprise a new, more liberal majority on Colorado Springs City Council. 

91.5 KRCC

With just weeks left in the legislative session, bills are moving through the statehouse at rapid speed. Topics that have recently generated a lot of interest are teen sexting and oil and gas legislation.

Shanna Lewis / 91.5 KRCC

Additional funds are needed to complete repairs on the Arkansas River levee that protects downtown Pueblo from flooding.

Karen Montgomery / Flickr.com - Creative Commons

Colorado is now the first state in the country to allow all Olympic athletes training in here to get in-state college tuition. Right now, it only applies to athletes living at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Colorado's $28.6 billion budget is nearing the end of its legislative journey. Each year, the six-member, bipartisan Joint Budget Committee crafts a balanced budget before sending it to the House and Senate for amendments. The JBC then has to reconcile those changes.

But in most cases, they go back to the original budget they spend months writing. This year, the House and Senate have added about 30 amendments to the so-called "long bill."

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Congressman Doug Lamborn, Republican representative for Colorado’s 5th District, took questions from constituents at a heated town hall forum in Colorado Springs Wednesday. Half-an-hour before the meeting was scheduled to start, police were already turning away attendees at the Stetson Hills police substation, saying that the 110-person capacity had been met in the community room where the forum was to be held.

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith [LC-DIG-highsm-11937]

Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River is a new book from David Owen, a staff writer with the New Yorker magazine and author of more than a dozen books.  His latest takes him on a journey across the west following the Colorado River: the dams, reservoirs and pipelines that help quench the thirst of seven states and parts of Mexico. 

91.5 KRCC

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is term limited and the race to succeed him in 2018 is already underway. Some big names have recently announced their campaigns and much earlier than usual. The moves could impact one of the biggest agenda items still facing lawmakers during this year's legislative session – transportation funding.

Ed Sealover, a reporter for The Denver Business Journal, and Peter Marcus, with ColoradoPolitics.com, spoke to Bente Birkeland about the race.

Brian Turner / Flickr / Creative Commons

Colorado’s 4th Judicial District is being recognized for the work of its Veterans Trauma Court. The court serves vets in El Paso and Teller Counties, and has been selected as one of four “mentor” courts around the country.

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