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COURTESY OF SENATE PRESIDENT KEVIN GRANTHAM

A top Republican joined with Democratic leaders at the Colorado legislature Wednesday evening in an effort to find solutions to ongoing transportation woes.

To do that, lawmakers are proposing a bipartisan bill, HB1142, that would send the question to voters, asking for a 0.62-cent sales tax increase. That money would go towards priority infrastructure projects, as well as to provide funding to local governments for transit, roads, trails, and potholes.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

The master planning process is underway for a section of North Cheyenne Canyon called Strawberry Fields, which the city of Colorado Springs traded to the Broadmoor Hotel in a controversial land exchange last year. The plan, which is being developed by local company N.E.S. Inc, will establish parameters for future management and trail development on the 180-acre property.

With reports of more recent youth suicides in Colorado Springs, one local suicide prevention group says the numbers are high. 

91.5 KRCC

State lawmakers are leading an effort to change how the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) is calculated. The goal: Let Colorado keep more of the tax money it collects.  Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland talked to John Frank with The Denver Post and Charles Ashby with The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel about how the measure could free up millions of dollars for transportation, education and health care, and why it faces an uphill battle. 

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Advocates say Senate Bill 40 does something simple: It brings the Colorado Open Records Act into the 21st century by requiring state agencies to provide information in a digital format , such as a database or a spreadsheet, where feasible.

"These are the people's records. We are the custodians, we are the stewards of these records," said Democratic Sen. John Kefalas of Fort Collins. He's the main sponsor of the bill.

For some, the issue is more complicated.

Daniel Hoherd / FLICKR (Creative Commons)

Colorado Springs ranks 11th in the country for birthplace diversity according to a recent study. That means many of its residents weren't born here. 

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

"If you put an entire community in danger, that shouldn't be a felony?" asked  Republican Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling during a packed committee hearing on Feb. 16.

The topic of debate was Senate Bill 35, a measure that would increase the penalty for tampering with oil and equipment and attempting to interrupt operations.  Since it was first introduced, SB 35 has generated a lot of public interest. It has consistently been one of the "most accessed bills" on the state's legislative website.

U.S. Air Force

The 21st Space Wing located at Peterson Air Force Base was recognized for excellence in space and cyberspace missions.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE: As of around 7PM Monday evening, all evacuations have been lifted.  Residents must have ID to reenter.

Deric Stowell/Courtesy Daneya Esgar

A bill for a new license plate featuring the Pueblo chile will get its day on the House floor. 

Republican state Sen. Ray Scott could help define one of the most often used phrases of 2017: fake news. 

The battle centers around an opinion column published in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel about Senate Bill 40, a bill to increase access to public records. The column implies that a scheduled hearing was postponed because Scott -- who serves as assistant majority leader -- didn’t support it. 

A proposal to study whether passenger rail is viable along the Front Range has cleared the State Senate. It now heads to the House.

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

Oral health falls under Governor John Hickenlooper's Top 10 Winnable Battles for health in Colorado. Consuming fluoride in water is one safe and inexpensive way to help prevent dental decay, according to public health experts, and it was discovered right here in Colorado.

Charles Gatebe / Nasa flickr

Researchers at NASA have launched a new project to pioneer technologies for measuring snowpack. 

Penrose-St. Francis Courtesy of Chris Valentine

Penrose-St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs ranks among the best in the country for the 10th time in a row.

Cora Lubchenco / State of the Rockies Project

Voters in the West care about conservation of public lands and the environment according to a recently released poll

91.5 KRCC

Colorado is roughly a third of the way through the four-month long legislative session. John Frank, a reporter for The Denver Post, and Peter Marcus with ColoradoPolitics.com sat down with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland to take stock of the big issues this session.

Courtesy Jodene Parlapiano

After a 90-year absence, a Rockefeller has returned to Pueblo. Once considered the wealthiest family in the world, the Rockefellers are often blamed for the 1914 Ludlow Massacre - a notorious event in labor history when striking coal miners and their families were killed in southern Colorado.

COLORADO SENATE REPUBLICANS

A Colorado newspaper is fighting claims that it peddles fake news stories. The publisher of Grand Junction's Daily Sentinel is accusing a state lawmaker of defamation and threatening a lawsuit. If filed, legal experts said it would be the first of its kind, potentially setting a legal definition for what is considered fake news and what is not.

Courtesy of Steelworks Center of the West, Pueblo, Colorado

David Rockefeller, Jr. will speak in Pueblo February 17 at a fundraiser for the Steelworks museum. It's the first time in 90 years that a Rockefeller has been to southern Colorado.

Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [LC-USF343-001617-ZE] / Library of Congress

A new study looked into what would happen if the modern agricultural industry was to experience a 1930s Dust Bowl style event.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

In the last decade, Democrats have attempted to repeal Colorado's death penalty four times. Their latest attempt on Feb. 15 was amid contentious debate.

John Suthers State of the City 2016 / Colorado Springs

UPDATE: 2/16/17. The Senate Finance committee passed SB-153 on a 4-1 vote. The bill now heads to the full Senate.

Original post 2/14/17:

A proposal to study whether it's viable to create passenger rail from southern Colorado to Fort Collins has cleared its first hurdle at the state legislature.

Ed Suominen / FLICKR All creative Commons

Pueblo City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution today that places a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035.

91.5 KRCC

A proposal to repeal Colorado's healthcare exchange and move to the federal program has prompted a lot of debate at the State Capitol. It has also set off a larger fight about the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Colorado officials have highlighted seven shovel-ready road and water projects should the Trump administration secure roughly $1 trillion in infrastructure funding. The National Governor’s Association sent that list, along with projects from 48 other states and territories, to the Trump administration on Feb. 8.

Colorado’s list includes adding two urgent projects -- an express lane heading west into the mountains on I-70 and adding capacity lanes along the northern and southern parts of I-25. It also includes water projects and one to expand rural broadband.

President Trump’s battle with the media doesn’t show any signs of letting up. But, in Colorado, Republicans hope divisive rhetoric doesn’t impede their ability to get their message out. They’ve come up with something very un-Trump -- a model they say will improve their relationship with the media. 

“We really want to be more open and inclusive,” said Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert. He has started doing something old school -- something the president had been criticized for not doing enough of. He and the Senate president are holding weekly briefings with the press. That’s also something his predecessor in Colorado didn’t do. And the Senate GOP plans to hold its first ever off-the-record happy hour with reporters.   

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

In the midst of an ongoing national fight about the future of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, a measure to replace Colorado's health care exchange is igniting passion in Denver. On Feb. 7, people rallied outside the state capitol to protest repealing the Affordable Care Act, while in the capitol, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 3, known as the 'Repeal Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Bill.'

Malika Ladak / Flickr-Creative Commons

The Colorado State Forest Service is reminding folks to keep up with watering their trees throughout the winter.

John Suthers State of the City 2016 / Colorado Springs

Among balancing the budget and finding money for transportation projects, lawmakers will decide if creating a passenger rail line along Colorado's Front Range—from southern Colorado to Fort Collins—is worth a look.   

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