Current News

Hick talks pot, fracking, ed reform at Denver Young Dems holiday party

The Colorado Statesman

A boisterous crowd of Democrats had plenty to celebrate at the Denver Young Democrats’ annual holiday party on Dec. 11 at the Boettcher Mansion — better known as the Governor’s Residence — amid festive decorations from local artists marking Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa.

“Here’s to Obama. That stuff doesn’t happen by accident, and I realize how hard you all worked,” said Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, raising a toast to the record number in attendance, estimated at roughly 120 by party organizers.

Colorado Repubs revel at Christmas party

The Colorado Statesman

Republican lawmakers told members of the Colorado Republican Business Coalition at the organization’s holiday party last Thursday that, even though Democrats will be in control at the Capitol next year, the minority legislators will have their backs.

“Next year, even though we are outnumbered, we can still stir a pretty mean pot,” said state Sen.-elect Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, who drew cheers from the party-goers when she declared, “I am a capitalist pig, and I’m damn proud of it!”

Challenge is likely to GOP State Chair

Douglas County GOP Chair Mark Baisley leaning to run against incumbent Call
The Colorado Statesman

In the wake of a solid thumping at the polls that has left Colorado Republicans trying to figure out what went wrong, state GOP Chairman Ryan Call could face a challenge from the head of one of the state’s most conservative county parties if he seeks a second term early next year. Mark Baisley, chairman of the Douglas County Republicans, told The Colorado Statesman this week that he’s leaning toward a bid for the top spot after receiving numerous calls from Republicans urging him to replicate the suburban county party’s successes statewide.

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.