Ernest Luning

Partners say ‘we do’ after civil unions legislation becomes a reality

The Colorado Statesman

Minutes after midnight on May 1, surrounded by hundreds of well-wishers and nearly as many cameras, Fran and Anna Simon spoke the words that would turn their freshly minted civil union license into a binding commitment in the eyes of Colorado law.

“We do,” the women said in unison, grins spread wide across their faces, bringing to a close the ceremony performed by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock in the atrium of the Wellington Webb Municipal Building.

Colorado ASSET bill deemed a real asset to state’s undocumented students (finally!)

The Colorado Statesman

Moments after cheers of “Sí, se puede!” — “Yes, we can!” — filled a packed hall on the Auraria campus on Monday, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law a bill to provide in-state tuition rates to undocumented students at state colleges and universities, capping a decade-long effort to pass the legislation.

“Holy smokes,” Hickenlooper said to the hundreds of students, educators, immigration-rights activists and business leaders as he took the stage at the signing ceremony. “Are you guys fired up?”

Mother Nature has delivered...

But drought still lingers
The Colorado Statesman

The frequent and heavy snowfall this month has flummoxed meteorologists, left drivers cursing and put broad smiles on the faces of the folks at Denver Water.

When officials at the state’s largest water utility declared a Stage 2 Drought and put in place the harshest watering restrictions in over a decade at the beginning of April, they mentioned that another seven or so feet of snow might help — and that’s nearly what Mother Nature has delivered. There’s even time left for more fresh powder, though none was in the forecast at press time.

Management of water resources will impact Colorado’s economy and quality of life

The Colorado Statesman

Despite increasing pressures on Colorado’s fragile water supply in the coming decades, competing interests — cities, industries, agriculture, recreation and environmental groups — could all be satisfied if the state takes a smart approach to growth combined with revamping antiquated policies governing how the precious resource gets used.

Silent March against gun violence is ‘soleful’

The Colorado Statesman

Nearly 1,800 pairs of shoes filled the west steps of the State Capitol on Thursday, symbolic of the more than 7,000 Coloradans felled by gunfire in the years since the Columbine Massacre, said organizers of the so-called Silent March to bring attention to victims of gun violence.

Congress urged to follow Colorado

The Colorado Statesman

President Barack Obama urged Congress to follow Colorado’s lead by enacting “common sense” proposals to reduce gun violence, including expanding background checks for all firearms sales, in a speech on Wednesday at the Denver Police Academy.

“If we’re really going to tackle this problem seriously, then we’ve got to get Congress to take the next step,” Obama said. “As soon as next week, they will be voting. As soon as next week, every senator will get to vote on whether or not we should require background checks for anyone who wants to purchase a gun.”

SoS Gessler sues to overturn ethics plank

Amendment 41 authors cry foul
The Colorado Statesman

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is asking a court to overturn a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution because, he charges in court filings, its wording is “unconstitutionally vague” and denies due process rights to those targeted by a state ethics panel, including Gessler himself.

State GOP Chair Call views Sen. Udall’s hefty fundraising as a sign of weakness

The Colorado Statesman

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall raised upwards of $1.5 million for his reelection bid in the first quarter of 2013, his campaign announced on Monday. The Eldorado Springs Democrat — who has yet to draw a Republican opponent for next year’s election — will report “over $2.5 million” cash on hand, a Udall spokesman said, adding that checks were still arriving in the mail on the day after the fundraising period had closed.

Civil unions legislation signed into law; third time is a charm

The Colorado Statesman

For Denver couple Fran and Anna Simon, it was the end of one particular journey that began on Valentine’s Day two years ago, when the Colorado Civil Union Act was first introduced in the legislature. The couple appeared at rally after rally, committee hearing after com-mittee hearing, each time bearing a tall stack of documents they said had taken hundreds of hours and cost thousands of dollars in order to put into place some of the rights enjoyed by married couples in Colorado.

Death penalty repeal killed

The Colorado Statesman

Two Democrats joined every Republican on the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to put the brakes on a proposed death penalty repeal after Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper had earlier hinted that he might veto the legislation.

“In my heart, this is absolutely the right thing to do. I know we should repeal the death penalty,” said Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, before explaining that Hickenlooper’s publicly stated reservations had prompted her to “very regretfully be a no vote” on the measure.