Current News

Wage Battle Begins

Minimum wage hike not expected to pass this session
The Colorado Statesman

Democrats this week began what is likely to be a multi-year effort to persuade fellow lawmakers and the public to support a hike in the minimum wage.

Monday, supporters held a rally on the west steps of the state Capitol, with a crowd numbering well over 250, to show support for two measures scheduled for hearing later that day.

House Concurrent Resolution 15-1001 seeks to raise Colorado’s current minimum wage of $8.23 per hour to $9.50 per hour, starting Jan. 1, 2017. The minimum wage would increase annually until it reaches $12.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2020.

Imbroglio embroils election bill

The Colorado Statesman

The Legislature could be on the verge of approving sweeping changes to the way most municipalities conduct elections in the state, but not until a lawmaker intends to introduce last-minute changes before the final Senate vote on the legislation.

Tears, cheers as mascot bill passes committee

The Colorado Statesman

Some who wept in sorrow, later cheered in joy.

An attempt to persuade Colorado schools from using American Indian images as mascots got through a tumultuous hearing Monday, sparked by tears from some who recounted the abuses suffered by American Indians, and the two-hour absence of a lawmaker who walked out after a presentation by the sponsors didn’t go as planned.

Two West Slope sheriffs join pot suit

The Colorado Statesman

Six Colorado sheriffs, including two from the Western Slope, have joined the Drug Free America Foundation’s lawsuit against Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado.

The goal of the lawsuit, according to Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee, is to force the U.S. Supreme Court to finally rule on whether states can defy federal law to legalize marijuana within their state borders.

“I believe the issue needs to be resolved,” Sheriff McKee said. “I think it needs to be debated in court by Constitutional attorneys.”

Joint Budget Committee debuting state budget Friday

The Colorado Statesman

The 2015-16 state budget, under a divided General Assembly and equally divided Joint Budget Committee, is scheduled to debut on Friday

With a divided legislature, it was certain that no one would get everything they wanted. “This was a difficult balancing act, but we did it with bipartisan support,” according to Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley. “We have a balanced budget that lives within our means and within our budgetary constraints.”

Federal water bill bites the dust, again

The Colorado Statesman

A bill that has enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the House for the past two years got a very different response recently, and Republicans are crying foul.

Senate Bill 15-064 is the third in a three-year effort to tell the federal government that they do not have the right to demand water rights from ski resorts in exchange for renewing their leases for federal lands.

Q&A with House Majority Leader Rep. Crisanta Duran

The Colorado Statesman sat down this week to talk to Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, about everything from legislation to dancing. Duran is currently serving as House Majority Leader.

CS: Where were you raised and can you tell me a little about your family and some memories growing up?

Colorado’s Jewish community celebrates

The Colorado Statesman

More than 400 well-wishers gathered to celebrate Colorado’s Jewish community and bestow honors at the Jewish Community Relations Council’s ninth annual luncheon last Thursday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver.

“The one unique thing about the JCRC is, it truly is the only single consensus voice for the Jewish community in representing our point of view to elected officials,” said JEWISHcolorado president Doug Seserman, welcoming the over-capacity crowd.

LEGISLATIVE BRIEFS: MARCH 27, 2015

Follow up:

Gun Bills: The Senate Wednesday gave final approval to Senate Bill 15-086, which would repeal 2013 legislation requiring background checks for transfer of firearms. The bill passed along party lines, 18-17, and now heads to the House where similar legislation has already been rejected this session.

CLARIFICATION: March 20, 2015 Yesteryear

While The Statesman reported in the March 20 Yesteryear, 10 years ago that Republican Sam Zakhem said he was running for Republican National Committeeman, in part, because he objected to a letter sent out by former U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer taking fellow Republican state Rep. Ramey Johnson to task over a vote against school vouchers, the letter didn’t urge voters to opt for Johnson’s Democratic opponent.