Current News

Vote delayed on Homeless Bill of Rights

The Colorado Statesman

A House panel on April 15 was transformed into the “There but for the grace of God go I Committee” as several current or former homeless persons — including a former lawmaker — testified on behalf of a bill that would provide the homeless with more public rights.

House Bill 1264, which has been dubbed the Homeless Bill of Rights, or the Right to Rest Act, would allow the homeless to eat, sleep and panhandle in public without being told to leave.

The bill would provide civil remedies for the homeless when their rights are violated.

Student testing battle lines drawn

The Colorado Statesman

Given the recent start of the Colorado Rockies season, it was appropriate last week for state Rep. Jim Wilson to use a baseball metaphor to describe the polarized debate at the Capitol over how best to reduce student testing in our schools.

“We have a lot of folks here today who are trying to hit the home run; just step up and hit the long ball,” the Salida Republican said in an interview with The Statesman. “And my experience playing ball is that was exciting until it was caught in the outfield.”


Log Cabin Republicans disinvited from Western Conservative Summit

The Colorado Statesman

The organizers of this year’s Western Conservative Summit — billed as “the premiere summer destination for Americans who still believe in freedom, family, faith, and the future” — this week told a Republican organization devoted to advocating for gays and lesbians that it can’t formally participate in the June conference in Denver.

Phil Washington — The Accidental Transit Manager

The Colorado Statesman

Forty years ago a 17-year-old African American youth residing in the tough Altgeld Gardens public housing project on Chicago’s Southside decided his best escape was to enlist in the United States Army. (Nearly a decade later, another young man, named Barack Obama, would arrive there as a community organizer.) Twenty-four years into his career Phil Washington had risen through the Army enlisted ranks to Command Sergeant Major, stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs.

Budget heading back to JBC

The Colorado Statesman

The House finished its work on the 2015-16 budget Thursday, returning it to the Joint Budget Committee to work out differences with the Senate version.

But last-minute drama could have sent the budget back $20 million out of balance.

The annual budget bill passed on a 45-20 vote Thursday morning. Eleven Republicans voted for the 2015-16 budget along with the House’s 34 Democrats.

The day before, the House went on a bit of spending spree, approving a dozen amendments to the $26.4 billion budget.

GJ, Glenwood Springs elect new council members

The Colorado Statesman

A businessman and a planner won the Glenwood Springs city council at-large seats in Tuesday’s municipal election, and in Grand Junction the victors were a self-proclaimed forward-thinking progressive and a former corporate executive.

In Glenwood Springs, businessman and homebuilder Steve Davis won the Ward 1 election with 59.38 percent of the vote and Planning and Zoning Commission chair Kathy Trauger won the at-large seat with 62.32 percent.

Both victors are in agreement that the narrow, dangerous Hwy. 82 bridge through central Glenwood Springs needs to be replaced,


The Colorado Statesman

Davidson leaving Clerks Assoc.

Former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson announced this week that she is stepping down as executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association on June 30.


A new convention center, and a visit from the first lady

The Colorado Statesman

Twenty-five Years Ago this week in The Colorado Statesman … Construction companies handed Denver Mayor Federico Peña a “giant skeleton key, finished in brilliant gold” to the new Colorado Convention Center, which was set to open on time and on budget. “Each of you need to share in the celebration,” said Phelps Construction president Jerry Morgensen as he handed the enormous key to Peña.

Colorado Water Plan all about West Slope water diversion

The Colorado Statesman

GRAND JUNCTION — James Eklund, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, told Club 20 in late March that the “seven points of consensus” thus far approved as a preliminary step in finalizing the Colorado Water Plan requested by Gov. John Hickenlooper represent a “new paradigm” in Front Range and Western Slope relations regarding water, but it’s really the same old paradigm: The Front Range wants and needs the Western Slope’s water.

Six of the seven points mention a “TMD,” short for transmountain water diversion.

‘Economic gardening’ supports local business efforts

The Colorado Statesman

It was 1987, and Chris Gibbons had a big problem. He was the business affairs director for the city of Littleton, and the biggest employer in town, Martin Marietta, had just announced that it was closing its Littleton operation and cutting 7,500 jobs.

To fill that huge hole in the local economy, Gibbons could have tried the traditional economic development strategy, focusing on luring another giant out-of-state company by offering it tax incentives, utility rebates and workforce training subsidies.