Current News

Open records bill also opens Pandora’s box

Opponents claim HB 1041 lacks transparency, but Senate committee passes it on party-line vote
The Colorado Statesman

A well-intentioned bill that aims to make it easier for the public to obtain public documents under the Colorado Open Records Act has caused a kerfuffle. Activists claim that House Bill 1041 secretly seeks to empower dubious records custodians to charge exorbitant fees in order to pad government budgets and block transparency.

Sponsored by Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, and Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, the measure has already cleared the House and made it through the Senate Local Government Committee on Tuesday. The party-line vote was 3-2.

Guv fires off veto threat on firefighters bill

The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday threatened to veto legislation that would ensure statewide collective bargaining rights for Colorado firefighters. But union officials and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, believe the Democratic governor will be spared some of the political battery that his Democratic predecessor, Gov. Bill Ritter, experienced for opposing a similar measure.

Republicans in Jeffco, Denver hope for rosier political future

Direction of party up for grabs
The Colorado Statesman

Quoting one of the Founding Fathers and invoking the arrival of Ronald Reagan on the national scene — just when the country seemed to be floundering in the late 1970s — Secretary of State Scott Gessler told a group of Jefferson County Republicans to stick with their principles and persist trying to educate voters about conservative solutions last week at the county GOP’s central committee meeting at Green Mountain High School in Lakewood.

House approves gun restrictions in marathon session

The Colorado Statesman

A monumental and at times grueling week under the Gold Dome was filled with marathon public hearings and more than 12 hours of House floor debate on gun control. The conversation saw a lot of love lost between Republicans and Democrats during this Valentine’s Day week. But as the midnight hour passed late Friday night, Democrats walked away victorious, clearing a major hurdle by pushing centerpiece agenda items through the divided lower chamber.

Hick gets flak over swig of flack-aid

Governor says energy industry has become ‘unseen villain’
The Colorado Statesman

One day after the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission passed a statewide 500-foot setback on drilling, Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat and former geologist, sent a shockwave through the environmental community by admitting on Tuesday to literally drinking the frack-aid.

Speaking before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in Washington, D.C., Hickenlooper said he took a sip of hydraulic fracturing fluid produced by Houston-based Halliburton, one of the largest providers of products and services to the energy industry.

Gun debate fires off with legislation

The Colorado Statesman

State Democrats this week unveiled their proposals for gun control just two days before National Rifle Association President David Keene made the rounds at the Capitol, expressing his organization’s concerns to legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. Even before the proposals were released, Democrats and Republicans were immersed in a skirmish over the issue.

Democrats unveiled their proposals on Tuesday, and a handful of the measures were introduced later in the week. The agenda includes:

Romanoff’s primary path becomes more certain

Sen. Newell says she won’t run in CD 6; Coffman not focused on campaign right now
The Colorado Statesman

Former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff’s path to take on incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, an Aurora Republican, became clearer this week after a Democratic legislator said she wouldn’t join what could be one of the country’s marquee congressional races.

State Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton, on Friday quelled speculation — fueled by her daughter’s Facebook post the previous week — that she would run in the 6th Congressional District and threw her backing behind Romanoff.

Community forum deals with immigration reform

U.S. Reps. DeGette and Polis joined by Gutiérrez
The Colorado Statesman

Just days before Congress began debating sweeping proposals to reform the country’s immigration policies, one of the key congressional architects of the plans appeared with two Colorado Democratic lawmakers to discuss the issue.

More than 350 packed Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church on Saturday afternoon at a community forum sponsored by U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette that also included U.S. Reps. Jared Polis and Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois, who heads the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force.

Lawmakers brace for broadband battle

The Colorado Statesman

After a 20-month process to reform the state’s telecommunications laws resulted in the dramatic death of a 71-page comprehensive legislative package last year, lawmakers and the industry are bracing for yet another fight at the Capitol.

The question is whether legislators will introduce piecemeal portions of the legislation from last year that aimed to modernize the state’s telecom laws, or once again go for a larger package. That issue could be left in the hands of newly elected Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs.

State treasurer wants to tie reform of PERA to education

The Colorado Statesman

The debate over sustaining the state’s Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) system has surfaced again at the legislature, with proposals aimed at addressing an estimated $23 billion in unfunded liabilities.

Republican Treasurer Walker Stapleton has proposed a different approach, encouraging Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver, to include PERA reform in any legislation that seeks to raise additional dollars for education. Stapleton wants to ensure that funds are directed into the classroom and not used to backfill unfunded liabilities.