Current News

Controversy over fracking in Colorado runs deep

Rift among stakeholders could spill over to legislative session
The Colorado Statesman

The debate over whether state regulators can responsibly govern hydraulic fracturing is leaving few parties satisfied — causing a rift between regulators themselves, the governor’s office, legislators and environmental and industry stakeholders. The upcoming legislative session, as a result, is likely going to offer heated disagreements over the growing conversation, including bills that compete with state rulemaking.

DU panel hears fixes to campaign finance reform

Free airtime, public financing?
The Colorado Statesman

A University of Denver panel charged with making recommendations for campaign finance reform was told on Wednesday that the best way to stop money from corroding the political system is to offer public financing and free advertising airtime for campaigns.

The 19-member task force has been holding a series of meetings with experts to determine whether there should be campaign finance regulations, and what those regulations should look like. Panel members include Joe Blake, former chancellor of the Colorado State University System and former chief executive of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Dick Robinson, chief executive of Robinson Dairy, attorney John Moye, a partner with Moye White, LLP, former state Sen. Polly Baca, D-Greeley, and Stephanie Villafuerte, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center, to name a few.

Legislators energized for new session

The Colorado Statesman

State lawmakers on Thursday outlined an extensive legislative agenda related to energy for the upcoming session that begins on Jan. 9. The legislature is likely to address establishing a renewable thermal standard, incentivizing so-called “green” construction and capturing methane gas, increasing the value for diseased trees to be used as fuel, accelerating the use of alternative fuels for state fleets, and establishing a clean energy commercial building program.

Choice is clear: Schaffer embodies essence of true reform in education

Out-going State Board of Ed member lauded by diverse group of Republicans and Democrats
The Colorado Statesman

Politicians from both sides of the aisle joined education reform activists to honor term-limited State Board of Education Chairman Bob Schaffer last week for his more than two decades of work at all levels of government to give parents a choice when it comes to their children’s schools.

‘Colorado Compact’ aims for immigration reform

The Colorado Statesman

While the document isn’t binding and doesn’t propose specific legislation, backers of an agreement on immigration reform unveiled this week say the Colorado Compact could help chart a course out of one of the country’s longstanding policy thickets and might help heal a yawning rift between Hispanic voters and the Republican Party.

Gessler gets earful on listening tour

Arapahoe County GOP chair cites blackjack-wielding volunteer and ‘hideous’ scene in Mission Viejo
The Colorado Statesman

Secretary of State Scott Gessler got an earful this week at the first stops on his self-described “listening tour” designed to solicit comments from the public about the conduct of the 2012 election.

Poll watchers, canvass board members, party officials and regular citizens lined up to air their grievances on Wednesday in Boulder and Centennial, complaining about everything from faulty polling lists and ham-handed county clerks to Gessler’s own actions chasing suspected non-citizens on the voter rolls while, some claimed, creating unnecessary hurdles for residents to register and vote.

Another beer bill on tap at the Legislature

Priola crafting legislation for craft beer at grocery, convenience stores
The Colorado Statesman

Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, is crafting legislation that would allow some small-batch microbreweries to sell full-strength beer in grocery and convenience stores in Colorado. But the craft beer industry isn’t quite sure it’s ready to toast the measure quite yet.

Priola points to skyrocketing demand for micro beers in Colorado, with the state having become known as the sort of “Napa Valley of craft beer” for its burgeoning microbrewery scene.

Immigration reporting law has high cost for the state

The Colorado Statesman

Six years after state lawmakers backed a measure that instituted a strict immigration-reporting law in Colorado, critics say enforcement by local communities has cost $13 million statewide.

Senate Bill 90, passed in 2006, requires a police officer who has probable cause to believe that an arrestee is an undocumented immigrant to report the incident to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office (ICE).

Scaled back telecom reform may be on table

PUC will play major role with its rule-making
The Colorado Statesman

State lawmakers may look at a more narrow focus for telecommunications reform in the upcoming legislative session after a massive undertaking by the legislature earlier this year ended in political gridlock and inter-party fights over subsidies and deregulating telephone service. But legislators are first watching steps being taken by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to adopt rules that will serve as a framework for similar efforts.

U.S. Sen. Bennet to head Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

The Colorado Statesman

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet on Tuesday accepted a position to lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, bringing to an end several weeks of speculation as to whether the moderate Coloradan would thrust himself into such a partisan spotlight.

Bennet’s role — which he was asked to take on by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada shortly after the November election — earns Colorado a Senatorial leadership position for the first time in more than 20 years. The last time was in the mid-1980s when Sen. Bill Armstrong chaired the then-Republican Policy Committee.