3/2/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Rick Palacio won reelection to a third term as chair of the Colorado Democratic Party on Saturday at the biennial meeting of the party’s state central committee in downtown Denver, fending off challenges from campaign consultant David Sabados and former congressional candidate Vic Meyers.

Palacio won on the first ballot with 53 percent of the vote. Out of 468 votes cast, the incumbent received 248, Sabados got 182 and Meyers had 38.

2/27/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Who will chart the course?

The three candidates for chair of the Colorado Democratic Party agreed that the state party needs to chart its own course distinct from Washington, D.C., at a forum on Sunday in Denver. But the candidates disagreed sharply over whether stunning losses in last year’s election mean it’s time for a change in party leadership or that experience counts more than ever as next year’s presidential election looms.

2/27/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The task force established by Gov. John Hickenlooper last summer to resolve conflicts between the oil and gas industry, local governments and environmentalists over drilling in Colorado voted Tuesday to deliver a handful of proposals to the governor but fell short of producing the sweeping compromise some had anticipated.

HUDSON: DOES THE SENATE MAJORITY HAVE A STRATEGY?
2/27/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

If you’ve been watching “House of Cards” on Netflix, you might be misled to believe legislative politics requires sophisticated strategic planning. Alas, this is rarely the case. In most instances, our solons make it up as they move along — playing their cards pretty much when and as they are dealt. If that strikes you as shortsighted, you wouldn’t be wrong. NFL coaches earn millions of dollars for developing winning game plans.

2/27/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

“This is an example of a life well-led….”

The Colorado State Senate on Wednesday memorialized the life and service of one of the titans of the state Senate in the 20th century, former Sen. Regis Groff, who passed away in October at the age of 79.

Groff served 20 years in the Senate, from 1975 to 1994, including four years as minority leader.
Wednesday’s memorial saw a long line of current and former legislators eager to share their memories of Groff and the impact he had on Colorado.

HUDSON: TWEEDLE DEE OR TWEEDLE DUM?
2/27/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

Four years ago both the Colorado Republican and Democratic Parties elected unusually young chairmen. Historically, both parties often turned to senior donors or business heavyweights for whom this recognition was, in part, a reward for long service and/or a readiness to pull out their own checkbooks in support of party candidates.

2/27/2015
By Leroy Garcia
GUEST COLUMNIST

Growing up in Southern Colorado, I was fortunate to experience many of the activities that make Colorado wonderful. From farmer's markets to dude ranches, whether it's the Colorado State Fair or picking fruit at an orchard, agritourism is critical to Colorado's agrarian lifestyle and economy.

2/27/2015

Dear Editor,

President Obama spoke in his State of the Union address of the need to shape a new, “middle class economics” for America. Then he introduced his budget, which contained a host of tax increases that would pound the middle class.

His budget raises taxes on oil and gas companies by $44 billion. Plenty of people in Congress share his view that average Americans will be helped if “the rich” or “big corporations” are made to pay confiscatory tax rates. But the economy doesn’t work that way.

2/20/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

On the morning after a federal judge in Texas stalled President Barack Obama’s executive orders to defer deportation of some undocumented immigrants, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and representatives of groups that support the policy change gathered in Denver to urge immigrants to stay calm and carry on.

2/20/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Two lawsuits filed in federal court Thursday seek to force Colorado to end the legalization of marijuana.

The Safe Streets Alliance, along with a Frisco hotel and two Lakewood residents are suing the state, the local jurisdictions that zoned marijuana operations, and several marijuana distributors.

2/20/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

In the wake of the controversial shooting death of a Denver teenager by police and howls of outrage over protesters defacing a monument to fallen police officers, state Rep. Angela Williams brought together Democratic lawmakers, law enforcement officials, faith leaders, students and others from the northeast Denver community to talk about easing tensions and rebuilding trust.

2/20/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Endorsements are piling up in the race for state chair of the Colorado Republican Party, which will be decided at a meeting of the GOP’s state central committee on March 14 in Castle Rock. Chairman Ryan Call is seeking a third two-year term leading the party, while former Adams County Republican chair and former gubernatorial candidate Steve House is challenging him.

HUDSON: HONOR THE WARRIOR, NOT THE WAR
2/20/2015

For those too young to remember the treatment of Vietnam veterans as they returned to civilian life, a reminder is in order. There is a reason why so many veterans subscribe to the admonition that, “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,” whatever their opinion of the wisdom of our current conflicts. I left the U.S. Navy in July of 1970. That fall I attended a party where a schoolteacher discovered I had recently returned from a tour keeping Southeast Asia safe for democracy. She assaulted me with disparaging accusations regarding my decision to serve.

2/20/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

The General Assembly’s rural caucus began its 2015 activities Wednesday, hosting a meeting with the Colorado Ag Council to find out how they can help the ag community in the coming months.

Concurrent committee hearings kept some rural members from taking part in the Feb. 18 lunch meeting, although a dozen legislators were able to attend, some for the entire meeting and some for just a few minutes. One-third of the legislators are new members this year.

HUDSON: NOVELIST KENT HARUF WAS RURAL COLORADO’S POET LAUREATE
2/20/2015

Born in Pueblo in 1943, Kent Haruf has emerged as the premier chronicler of life on our eastern plains through the vehicle of his fictional creation: Holt, Colorado. Based on his years as a schoolteacher in Yuma, also Senator Cory Gardner’s hometown, Haruf published three novels that earned him critical acclaim as the Plainsong Trilogy. Joining them later this year will be Our Souls at Night which will make for a quartet of paeans to the satisfactions of small town relationships, caring and mutual respect.

2/13/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

What is expected to be the landmark bill of the 2015 legislative session was introduced Tuesday. Senate Bill 15-177 would amend Colorado’s construction defects law, first passed in 2001. Supporters, including four bipartisan lawmakers, say the bill will help address a dearth of affordable middle-class housing in Colorado, primarily in the condo market.

SB 177 is the third attempt in as many years to address what supporters claim is an inability of developers to build affordable condos because of fear of class-action lawsuits.

2/13/2015
By Lars Gesing
The Colorado Statesman

When everything was said and done, all Katie Behnke and Kristin Strohm could do was wait. Wait and see what a string of caffeine-fueled, sleep-deprived months of endless phone calls, conversations and a flurry of hastily written checks would translate to in percentage points.

Would Cory Gardner clear the 50 percent hurdle? What about Mike Coffman? And his wife Cynthia? Wayne Williams?

The night turned into a triumphant whirl.

2/13/2015
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

Robert “Bob” Edward Allen was only 26 years old and Chairman of the Young Democrats when he persuaded Denver party leaders to place his name on the Democratic candidate list for election to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1950. It would be the 60s before state legislators ran from individual districts rather than on county slates. Allen would serve for a decade in the House before moving to the Senate, where he served a single term from 1961-65.

Buck: Spending cuts, not tax increases are the answer
2/13/2015
By Ken Buck
Contributing Columnist

As a member of Congress I have the opportunity to tackle what I view as our nation’s most dangerous threat, the $18.1 trillion debt. We face serious threats from bad actors on the international stage, from Iran to ISIS, but my greatest concern is the debt. It is fast approaching economically damaging levels, and both political parties are culpable.

2/6/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock launched his bid for a second term on Tuesday, boasting that the city has rebounded from the recession and has “a vibrant economy firing on all cylinders,” with every reason to be optimistic about the future.

2/6/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

A Republican vacancy committee on Saturday named former Navy fighter pilot Lang Sias to fill the House District 27 seat left open when former Assistant Minority Leader Libby Szabo, R-Arvada, was appointed earlier in January to fill a vacancy on the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners.

Calling himself “very pleased and very humbled” by the appointment, Sias said he planned to carry “a sense of humility and a desire to get smarter” to the Capitol.

2/6/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

It’s always about water in Colorado, and the present Legislative Session is no exception. A bill headed for the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee will attempt to make sure Colorado doesn’t wind up with the same water pollution problem as other states.

House Bill 15-1144 will be heard on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 1:30 p.m. in the public health committee. Its sponsor is Rep. Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield, the committee’s chair.

GESING: OUTSIDE THE BOX
2/6/2015
By Lars Gesing
The Colorado Statesman

U.S. House Republicans are poised to push their legislative pet issue, the Keystone XL pipeline bill, down Pennsylvania Avenue and onto the President’s desk this week after a 62-36 Senate majority okayed the amended measure on Jan. 29.

The White House has consistently hurled veto threats at lawmakers. But the GOP-led Congress has rolled up its sleeves and clinched its fists, ready to pick a marquee fight.

1/30/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

More than 150 friends, family members and fans of Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher gathered to watch the premiere showing of a documentary film chronicling the storied North Denver Democrat’s life and political career on Wednesday night at the Oriental Theater.

1/30/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Next week Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia will sit down with the joint House and Senate Education Committees to explain how the General Assembly will fund higher education for the foreseeable future.

The conversation will deal with House Bill 14-1319, which changed the decade-long funding formula that some claimed lacked transparency and didn’t meet state policy goals.

1/30/2015
By Lars Gesing
The Colorado Statesman

The Erie board of trustees’ 4-3 decision last week to not put a one-year hold on any new oil and gas drilling permits may very well have saved the city from some looming financial backlash.

Two bills currently floating through the ranks of the Colorado legislature propose that if a local community wants to put in place a ban or moratorium on energy development, in return it has to compensate mineral owners who would stand to lose money from that decision.

CARNO: CRUSHING THE AMERICAN DREAM
1/30/2015
By Laura Carno
GUEST COLUMNIST

Editor’s Note: On Jan. 29, the House passed House Bill 1031, sponsored by Rep. JoAnn Windholz, R-Commerce City, on second reading. The bill delays the sale of powdered alcohol in Colorado until the state can implement an adequate regulatory framework. While powdered alcohol is not currently legal for sale here, it can be purchased online.

1/23/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

The dome isn’t the only part of the state Capitol to sport new duds for the 2015 legislative session. The House and Senate chambers were both restored to bring out architectural details from the past. A new hearing room has replaced the “bullpen” that served as offices for House members. Even the bathrooms at the north end of the capitol have gotten a makeover. But this could be the legislative session remembered for all the walking everyone will do to get from one end of the capitol complex to the other.

1/23/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Majority Republicans in the Senate are flexing their muscles this week, putting to an end two commissions designed to address issues often found on Democratic agendas.

Wednesday, the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted along party lines to sunset the Colorado Voter Access and Modernized Elections Commission, a body created through 2013 legislation. The commission is due to issue its final report next month, with analysis from the 2014 election and recommendations for the 2016 election.

1/23/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

The new chair of the Joint Budget Committee has stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest with a bill that would radically change the mission and admission standards for Metropolitan State University of Denver. And it’s not a change that they sought.

Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, is the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 15-072, which would change Metro’s admissions standards from “modified open” to “moderately selective.”

1/23/2015
By Maggie Tharp and Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

The Colorado Restaurant Association’s 24th annual Blue Ribbon Reception, deemed by legislators as their favorite party of the session, got underway Jan. 7 on the evening of the first day of the 70th General Assembly. Usually held on the 38th floor of downtown Denver’s Grand Hyatt Hotel where guests had a stellar view of the city skyline at sunset, this year’s well-attended event was instead staged in a large ballroom at the historic Brown Palace Hotel.

1/23/2015
By Judie Schwartz
The Colorado Statesman

1/16/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper took the oath of office for his second term on Tuesday, marking profound changes wrought on the state during his first term and casting a hopeful eye toward the next four years.

The self-described “incorrigible optimist” lauded the state economy’s climb in the aftermath of the Great Recession, all while facing unprecedented floods, fires and mass-shootings, along with the dissolution of his own marriage, he noted in one of several remarkably personal notes struck during the Denver Democrat’s second inaugural address.

1/16/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Some 2,000 revelers celebrated Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia’s second inauguration on Tuesday night with dinner and a concert on Capitol Hill, and the Democrat got some seasoned words from predecessors squeezed in among the tasty bites and tunes.

Echoing Hickenlooper’s first inaugural celebration four years ago — it also included a dinner at the Fillmore Auditorium and a concert featuring Colorado bands at the Ogden Theater — Garcia introduced former Govs. Dick Lamm, Roy Romer and Bill Ritter to offer advice to the governor.

HUDSON: THE GOVERNOR’S SECOND INAUGURATION
1/16/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

Colorado’s inauguration day was a crisp winter morning this year. As John Hickenlooper took his oath of office, it was hard not to marvel at the fact that when his second term concludes in January of 2019, Democrats will have filled the Governor’s chair for 36 of the past 44 years. Starting in 1974 with Dick Lamm, who served three terms, then followed by another three terms under Roy Romer, a bright red electorate kept returning Democrats to the Governor’s mansion.

1/9/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Boulder Democrat Dickey Lee Hullinghorst was elected speaker of the Colorado House as the 70th Session of the General Assembly launched on Wednesday, wielding a slimmer majority than Democrats had in the last session and facing a Republican-controlled Senate for the first time in a decade.

1/9/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

The first full day as a new member of the Colorado General Assembly left many humbled, excited and at least a few with butterflies in their stomachs.

The Senate has four new members that have never served in the Legislature among its 10 new senators. Four members of the House were elected to Senate seats, and two more are returning to the Capitol after serving in the past.

The House has 20 new members, although two also are returning after past terms.

1/9/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Republican lawmakers celebrated along with their supporters and Capitol denizens at a pair of fundraising receptions held at the University of Denver the night before the Legislature was set to convene.

1/9/2015
By Catherine Strode
POLICY OUTREACH SPECIALIST WITH ADVOCACY DENVER


An interview with Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins

1/9/2015

The Imitation Game
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance; directed by Morten Tyldum

The Theory of Everything
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis; directed by James Marsh

GOP State Chairman Ryan Call to be challenged by former Adams County chairman Steve House
1/2/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

A political riddle for all those who followed the 2014 elections here in the state: Would you call Colorado Republicans “winners” for taking the U.S. Senate seat away from a well- entrenched Democratic incumbent; sweeping the statewide offices; taking control of the state senate; and picking up seats in the state house?

Or, were Colorado Republicans ultimate “losers” for failing to regain the coveted governorship; and only slightly increasing their ranks in the state house, thereby leaving them short of recapturing control of the chamber?

Answer: Depends on who you ask, naturally.

1/2/2015

AG COMMISSIONER SALAZAR RETIRES

Colorado’s Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar has retired his cabinet position, having served in the role since 2011.

HUDSON: SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS ISN’T EASY
1/2/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

At 3 p.m. on the Friday afternoon before the final weekend leading up to Christmas you couldn’t help but wonder how many Denver residents would be willing to show up for a discussion of race, justice and police brutality. The answer turned out to be that a lot of people found the time to fight traffic, parking and a balky, Internet reservation system to claim 150 seats at the Colorado History Museum.

1/2/2015

The annual year-end list of movies shows — yet again — that these are just that: Lists. It all depends on who’s doing the sorting and on what basis. For example, here are some lists that show the absurdity of the whole endeavor and justify why some — including artists themselves — eschew awards and reject the notion of comparing artistic endeavors.

1/2/2015

We are pleased to announce that Jared Wright is joining our team at The Colorado Statesman as a new editorial cartoonist. Jared is a former Republican state representative from Fruita. During the 69th General Assembly Jared served in the House of Representatives where he proudly represented his hometown of Grand Junction, located in HD 54. He was the ranking member on the House Local Government Committee and a member of the House Judiciary and Business Committees. He did not seek reelection last year.

12/19/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

It was standing room only on Friday afternoon when Denver Mayor Michael Hancock led what he termed a “very frank” discussion about race relations and law enforcement at the History Colorado Center.

“Sometimes in our life, we don’t have an option whether we have tough conversations,” Hancock said, pointing out that the crowd of more than 200 had shown up on one of the busiest days of the holiday season.

12/12/2014
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Learn to count.

That was the first word of advice from former Senate Majority Leader Norma Anderson, R-Lakewood, to new legislators at the last event of orientation on Wednesday.

Anderson was joined by three other distinguished former lawmakers, all who served in the Colorado General Assembly: former U.S. Senator Hank Brown, R-Colo., former Governor Dick Lamm and former state Senator Penfield Tate, D-Denver.

12/12/2014

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has appointed Don Mares, President and CEO of Mental Health America of Colorado, as executive director of the newly established Office of Behavioral Health Strategies. The office is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation for a major metropolitan city.

12/12/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The Lincoln Club of Colorado’s third annual holiday party rang in the seasonal cheer on Wednesday night at the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association’s building in Denver, giving members a chance to toast Republican victories on last month’s ballot and look forward to more success in the new year.


HUDSON: FLASHBACK FROM THE 1970s
12/12/2014
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

In the fall of 1970 when I returned to Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone in Washington, D.C., I found a much different company than the one I’d left three years earlier as I departed for the U.S. Navy and a once in a lifetime opportunity to help keep Southeast Asia safe for democracy. AT&T, the nation’s largest employer, had executed a nationwide consent decree with the Nixon administration’s EEOC during my absence.

12/12/2014

STEVE PALMER HEADS NATIONAL PRACTICE AT GRAYLING

12/5/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Denver Republicans haven’t had much to toast in the aftermath of elections for the past decade — beyond camaraderie in the face of mounting Democratic wins -— but this year it was different.

“Don’t we have a lot to celebrate this year?” asked Denver Republican Chair Wendy Warner at the county GOP’s Christmas party on Saturday. The hundred or so revelers gathered at the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association headquarters raised their glasses to toast the candidates who won statewide, due in part to closer-than-usual margins in Democratic-dominated Denver.

12/5/2014

The innovative folks at R&R Partners got double bang for the buck on Dec. 4 when they celebrated both the upcoming holidays and the grand opening of their new very large office space in Centennial, which will soon feature a huge wrap-around deck for events and parties that will provide both city and mountain views. It was also the introduction of R&R’s new yuletide tradition of an Ugly Sweater Contest.

3/3/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

The Joint Budget Committee on Tuesday voted to dramatically scale back a request from the Governor for a state scholarship program that he mentioned in the 2015 State of the State address.

The JBC is in figure-setting this week for the 2015-16 budget. On Tuesday, the committee took up the budget for the Department of Higher Education. Gov. John Hickenlooper had asked for $30 million for the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) for its second year of funding.

3/2/2015
State Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, demonstrates his yoga expertise with a particularly difficult position called "the crow". Hill struck the pose after a hearing last Wednesday on Senate Bill 186, which would exempt yoga teachers from the authority of the Division of Private Occupational Education.
2/27/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

This post has been updated to include comments from Palacio.

Some Democrats are crying foul after incumbent Colorado Democratic Party chair Rick Palacio announced plans late Thursday to appoint 46 men to the state central committee in order to achieve gender balance the day before it meets on Saturday to select party leadership for the next two years.

WRIGHT: CHANGE, TRANSPARENCY AND A RENEWED EXCELLENCE IN POLITICAL REPORTING
2/27/2015
By Jared Wright
The Colorado Statesman

“The only thing you can count on to stay the same is change,” my late grandfather used to tell me. I have found throughout my life that his simple analysis of the human condition has been pretty accurate.

The Colorado Statesman is a Colorado establishment — not just a news source, but an enduring institution and reliable messenger of all things politics. Founded just 39 years after Colorado’s first newspaper, the since-closed Rocky Mountain News, The Statesman is one of our state’s most enduring news franchises.

2/27/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

More than 75 die-hard conservatives braved a blizzard on Wednesday night to hear Colorado Republican Party chair Ryan Call, who is seeking a third term heading the party, and his challenger, former gubernatorial candidate Steve House, discuss their visions for the GOP at a forum in Greenwood Village.

2/27/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Follow up:

Bill deadlines — Wednesday marks the first deadline for bills to move out of their original chambers, unless they are granted late bill status or otherwise had deadlines extended. This session looks to be off to a slow start in getting bills to the governor, highlighting the divisive nature of this year’s General Assembly.

2/27/2015
By Lars Gesing
The Colorado Statesman

“We want to regulate our industry.”

Have you ever heard a businessperson utter those words?

2/27/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

The Democratic-led House on Wednesday sent a supplemental bill back to the Republican-led Senate that will start another round of dueling press releases around ideological differences over driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.

2/27/2015
By Lars Gesing
The Colorado Statesman

When Sen. Cory Gardner unseated Democratic incumbent Mark Udall in the 2014 midterm elections, he was the first challenger to boot a sitting Colorado U.S. senator out of office since 1978. The highly competitive race topped priority lists on both sides of the aisle. But on election night, only the Republican camp celebrated. Not only did Gardner pull off the upset. A majority of races south of the Gardner/Udall contest on the ballot also went into the conservative column.

After dominating Colorado politics for most of the 2000s, Democrats had to ask themselves: How did we get here?

2/27/2015
By Rep. Justin Everett
GUEST COLUMNIST

Apparently this legislator has a “reputation” for a few things around the Capitol (some we can’t mention), that apparently has made me unapproachable in some Capitol circles. One of the reputations I allegedly have is for voting “NO” for no apparent reason (not true). Another is that I follow marching orders from outside groups or organizations that rate bills (also not true). Yet another is that I’m completely philosophically driven (not true either). The reputation that is true, is I do read all of the bills before I vote.

STROGOFF: THANK YOU FOR THE MEMORIES
2/20/2015

After more than 35 amazing years at The Colorado Statesman, I have made the difficult yet exciting decision to turn over the reins to allow me to focus on some other writings and to build on my relationships to further shape our community. These years have been filled with incredible experiences, political drama and deep friendships that I shall always treasure.

2/20/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

As local governments wait for the General Assembly to begin its work on Senate Bill 15-177, the construction defects bill, others continue to make decisions about their own ordinances, in hopes of attracting more affordable multi-family construction.

Tuesday night, the Lone Tree City Council, located in the south metro area, unanimously passed an ordinance partly based on one passed late last year by the Lakewood City Council. The vote came after about two hours of testimony from representatives of the Community Associations Institute and several Lone Tree realtors.

2/20/2015
By Jared Polis
CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST

Next week in the House of Representatives, we’ll consider the most significant piece of federal legislation for K-12 schools: the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

In non-Congressional speak, it’s known as No Child Left Behind.

HUDSON: POLITICIANS & TECHNOLOGY — A MATCH MADE IN HELL
2/20/2015

Several years ago while visiting Los Angeles, I found myself trapped on a gridlocked freeway, not an unusual predicament in America’s strip mall utopia. The car idling immediately in front of mine sported a bumper sticker that suggested, “FOR A LISTING OF ALL THE WAYS TECHNOLOGY HAS IMPROVED YOUR LIFE, PLEASE PRESS 3.” The voice on my car radio was reporting that the computer controlling local streetlights had crashed. Traffic was moving at a crawl everywhere. Time to reach an exit, crawl to a sports bar and quaff a cold beer or two or three.

2/20/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Senate Republicans flexed their muscles this week in a big way, shooting down a supplemental bill for the Department of Public Safety that seeks to provide more funding for background checks.

2/20/2015
By Policy Outreach Specialist with Advocacy Denver
Catherine Strode

A bill requiring health plans in Colorado to provide health care services delivered through telehealth has passed through the House. House Bill 1029, sponsored by Rep. Perry Buck, R-Windsor. The bill would provide coverage for telehealth in any area of the state. Buck has called the bill “revolutionary” for the delivery of health care in the state.

Ben Price, Executive Director of the Colorado Association of Health Plans, the trade association of the state’s private insurance carriers, says his organization is throwing its support behind the bill.

2/20/2015

Fifty Shades of Grey

Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle, Eloise Mumford; directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson

Kingsman: The Secret Service

2/20/2015

Dear Editor,

This bill would require taxpayers to reimburse owners of mineral rights for the property value lost where hydraulic fracking has been banned or limited.

My name is on two US patents for hydraulic fracking technology. I worked as a consultant to major oil companies, DOE, DOD and major corporations. I own stock in Schlumberger and most major oil companies.

2/18/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The political consultant appointed last year by the Colorado Republican Party to run its independent expenditure committee pleaded guilty last week to illegally coordinating contributions between a political action committee he ran and a campaign he managed in a 2012 congressional race in Virginia.

While the Virginia-based consultant, Tyler Harber, is no longer at the helm of the Colorado GOP’s super PAC, prominent state Republicans say his involvement raises questions about the entire operation and are demanding answers.

2/13/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Note: This story has been updated with breaking news on new candidate endorsements for Friday, February 13.

The race to head the Colorado Republican Party is heating up this week as county parties pick officers and bonus members to the state central committee, which will cast its votes for state chair and other positions next month.

2/13/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The race for Colorado Democratic Party chair is nearing the home stretch as county parties wrap up reorganization meetings and contenders for the leadership position lob charges at one another.

2/13/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

A bill to reduce the burden on small businesses that handle credit card transactions is pitting businesses against credit card companies, banks and the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce.

House Bill 15-1154 is sponsored by Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, and Rep. Alec Garnett, D-Denver.

Current law requires businesses to send sales tax to the states. When those businesses accept credit cards, they are charged a percentage, usually 2 to 3 percent, as a fee by the credit card companies and banks. That fee is charged not only on the purchase but on the sales tax as well.

Hudson: Recalling a time when vaccines were a godsend
2/13/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

In recent years no matter how dismal Colorado’s performance might be on most public policy measures — whether they be high school graduation rates or taxpayer support for schools and roads — we could generally rely on the fact that one or more members of the old Confederacy, frequently Mississippi, would slip between us and the bottom of the heap. Consequently, it was startling to learn that Mississippi leads the nation in measles vaccinations among its school children at 99.9 percent while Colorado stands dead last among the states at somewhere between 82 and 85 percent, depending on who’s doing the counting.

2/13/2015
By Catherine Strode
POLICY OUTREACH SPECIALIST WITH ADVOCACY DENVER

An interview with Rep. KC Becker, D-Boulder

Birth control, in the opinion of state Rep. KC Becker, D-Boulder, is an economic issue that impacts the health and social wellbeing of women, children and families statewide. That’s why she is sponsoring House Bill 1194, which would appropriate $5 million in state general fund dollars to distribute long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) to low-income women across the state. The funds would allow for the continuation of a four-year, grant-funded pilot project, implemented by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in 2009, to family planning clinics in 37 counties throughout the state.

2/10/2015
By Jared Wright
The Colorado Statesman

To the layperson accustomed to what might seem a steady stream of partisan bantering between elected politicians, an event Monday night in Denver may have come as a surprise. Had they walked into the Vine Street Pub at 6:30 p.m., they would have encountered a very bipartisan group of state representatives and state senators assembled around a large table, smiles on their faces, drinks in hand and lively conversation underway.

The Bipartisan Israel Caucus convened its first ever official meeting Monday to discuss just one topic: Israel and its important relationship with Colorado.

2/6/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

An effort to deregulate licensing requirements for childcare providers who serve up to nine children has run into trouble in its first committee in the Senate.

Thursday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee reviewed Senate Bill 15-070, sponsored by its chair, Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud.

The bill would remove licensing, registration and other regulatory requirements for childcare providers who serve fewer than 10 children. Current state law caps the number of children cared for by an unlicensed provider at four or fewer.

2/6/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

This week, the General Assembly began the process of dealing, once again, with legislation that seeks to repeal some of the controversial 2013 gun control laws.

Six legislators in the 2015 session can tie their 2014 elections either directly or indirectly to the 2013 gun debates. All of them own guns, some with lifelong histories with firearms, and three were part of Monday’s hearings in the House and Senate.

2/6/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The three candidates in the race for Colorado Democratic Party chair agree that the party needs to retool in the wake of defeats in the last election but differ sharply on how much change is necessary and who to blame.

Democrats will decide at the end of the month whether to elect chair Rick Palacio to a third term or to hand over the reins to David Sabados, a Denver-based campaign consultant, or Vic Meyers, the Trinidad rancher who lost a congressional bid in November.

2/6/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Two-thirds of the Colorado General Assembly live in the state’s population centers along the Front Range. Over the last several years, rural legislators outside the Front Range have complained that some of their urban cousins don’t understand the rural way of life, which has led to heated battles over gun rights, energy and agriculture. It has also led to the formation of a caucus that, its members hope, will lead to a better understanding of rural issues.

MILLER: TERM-LIMITS, CAUCUS SYSTEM IN NEED OF REPAIR, SAYS PANEL
2/6/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

Jim Griesemer, former Aurora City Manager, who now serves as Director of the University of Denver’s, Strategic Issues Program recently launched another of his panels examining the workings of Colorado government and politics. This year the focus is legislative accountability, including an exploration of who gets elected. The Strategic Issues Program uses a non-partisan, consensus-based process for developing its recommendations.

2/6/2015
By Jared Wright
The Colorado Statesman

Republicans experienced a political aftershock at the state Capitol Monday morning that exposed a difference of opinion among members on leadership qualities, leadership roles and the caucus members most fit to lead.

WASDEN: DEBT PROBLEM CAN ONLY WORSEN
2/6/2015
By Jeff Wasden
Contributing Columnist

“Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.” – Herbert Hoover

While Congress and the President will find no shortage of issues in the coming year that will require their attention, one that needs to be front and center is our nation’s crippling debt. While here in Colorado we have experienced low unemployment rates and a strong economic recovery, that doesn’t dampen the fact that the national debt is a serious, crippling issue we must address.

1/30/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

A deal to deregulate CenturyLink and get broadband services into unserved areas has hit a snag: the Public Utilities Commission.

CenturyLink filed a lawsuit against the PUC earlier this month, challenging the way the agency decided to allocate funds tied to two of five telecommunications reform bills passed by the General Assembly in 2014.

1/30/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The same day a state agency reported Colorado’s unemployment rate had dropped to its lowest level since October 2007, Gov. John Hickenlooper told a civic group that he plans to increase efforts to combat joblessness by expanding to additional populations a recently launched program intended to assist the long-term unemployed find work.

1/30/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

As the election dust finally settles from 2014 and we enter headlong into a new year, I can’t help but recall that old adage about the more things change, the more they stay the same. The proverb was used initially by the French novelist Alphonse Karr in the late 1890s but certainly is applicable in today’s world. It came to mind several times these last couple of weeks as I was editing stories for the newspaper.

HUDSON: A TRAVELING CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN
1/30/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

Two weeks ago Los Angeles celebrity attorney Gloria Allred brought the traveling press conference that provides muscle to her law practice into the basement of Denver’s Crawford Hotel at Union Station. Any doubt that Americans live in a fame-obsessed culture was erased by 10 video cameras squeezed into a tiny meeting room. Allred’s website declares she is the “most famous woman attorney practicing law in the nation today.” Critics argue she more accurately operates a reparations racket, rather than a law office, shaking down the bad boys of Hollywood.

GESING: AN OUTSIDE THE BOX PERSPECTIVE
1/30/2015
By Lars Gesing
Intern

In an effort to stall the passage of a bill that would approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, U.S. Senate Democrats over the past few weeks launched a harangue of amendments centered around climate change. The strategy was designed to force their foes on the other side of the aisle to gamble with their political capital.

1/30/2015

American Sniper

Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner; directed by Clint Eastwood

1/23/2015
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Campaign consultant David Sabados announced late this week that he is challenging Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio, who is seeking a third term as head of the state party at the Democrats’ reorganization meeting next month. Former congressional candidate Vic Meyers of Trinidad is also seeking the chairmanship.

1/23/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Imagine, if you will, that after the recent State of the Union speech by the President on Jan. 20, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Republican House Speaker John Boehner worked together to craft a mutually acceptable press release about the historic event, managing to not offend or embarrass one another in the shared effort.

An improbable scenario, right?

1/23/2015

Dear Friends,

I write today to encourage your support of Steve House for Chairman of the State Republican Party.

1/23/2015
By Lars Gesing
The Colorado Statesman

Five years after a slim majority of Supreme Court justices handed down its game-changing Citizens United ruling — opening the floodgates for virtually unlimited corporate campaign contributions — even the decision’s most ardent opponents now admit that money in elections is here to stay.

GESING: A DAY WORTH REMEMBERING
1/16/2015
By Lars Gesing
The Colorado Statesman

When you wonder what makes Colorado a special place, you could turn your face toward the snow-capped, majestic Rocky Mountains. You could praise the deep sense of freedom and independence instilled in its people, or the quality of life they get to enjoy day in, day out.

Or you could watch the governor pick the strings of a banjo during one of the marquee days of his tenure.

1/16/2015
By Lars Gesing and Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

After Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered a State of the State address Thursday that was widely regarded as a renewed pitch to bridge pending partisan trench warfare in the Capitol, lawmakers across the aisle seized the moment and grabbed the governor’s outstretched hand.

1/16/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper began his second term this week with a different set of challenges than the ones he faced during his first term. His fifth State of the State address Thursday outlined how he will address the challenges of a more prosperous state than the one he led in 2011, and perhaps the legacy he wants to leave.

1/16/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Well known lobbyist and former state legislator Steve Durham has been a fixture at the Colorado Capitol since the late 1970s when he began his political career as a Republican state representative from El Paso County, later moving on to the state Senate. Last month, a State Board of Education vacancy committee selected Durham over three other candidates to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Paul Lundeen, another El Paso Couty Republican who was elected to the statehouse in November and sworn in a couple weeks ago.

1/16/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Wildcatter and energy tycoon, newspapers and television stations owner, real estate developer and railroad baron, sports teams owner and hotelier, film producer and philanthropist: Phil Anschutz, this year’s Citizen of the West, is all of these. But, according to his public persona and his own family’s account, he is unwilling to live in the limelight. He seldom grants interviews to the press, is usually too private to have his picture taken, and doesn’t like to accept awards.


1/16/2015

Please join us in welcoming Lars Gesing on board as our editorial intern. Lars is 26 years old, from Hamburg, Germany, where he also received his undergraduate degree in journalism.

Now a second-year master’s student at CU-Boulder, he graduates in May.

Fascinated by international politics & affairs, he describes himself as the kid who would pull an all-nighter to watch coverage of U.S. elections even when he had to go to school the next day.

1/16/2015

Selma
Starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Oprah Winfrey, Andre Holland, Tim Roth; directed by Ava DuVernay

This week’s review is written using portions of the text of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech (delivered Aug.0 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.); with apologies to him and all who have been inspired by his powerful words.

1/16/2015
By Maggie Tharp
The Colorado Statesman

If you haven’t been to Earls Kitchen and Bar in the past few months, it might be time for a visit. After a full renovation and menu revamp, the delightful restaurant — which Earls’ staff admits was “dated” — has caught up with Denver’s fast-moving dining scene.

1/9/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Newly installed Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, began his first speech in his new role with the state motto, “Nothing without providence.”

But it may as well have been “Expect the unexpected.”

Cadman led off his first speech with tributes to his family, and to his mother, who died of cancer when he was in his early 20s. He then lit the first of three memory candles at a nearby table in her honor.

1/9/2015
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder County, sat down with The Colorado Statesman on Jan. 2, 2015, at the newspaper office across the street from the Capitol for an interview with Editor & Publisher Jody Hope Strogoff. Hullinghorst was scheduled to be officially ushered in as the new speaker of the House five days later when the 70th General Assembly convened. She discussed her upcoming role as the first Democratic woman speaker of the House and her expectations of the session.

1/9/2015

House Republicans held their reception Tuesday evening at the Ritchie Center, on the club level overlooking DU’s hockey rink. The GOP narrowed the Democrats’ margin by several seats to 34-31 in the November election and had plenty to celebrate, legislative leaders said.


HUDSON: GOVERNMENT DYSFUNCTION PREVAILS
1/9/2015
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

George Gallup opened his polling firm 80 years ago in Princeton, New Jersey, successfully predicting Franklin Roosevelt’s re-election victory over Alf Landon in the 1936 presidential campaign. In following years his company began to offer marketing surveys, advertising advice and economic evaluations to American businesses.

1/2/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

The most important investment most Coloradans make — buying a home — may once again take center stage this month, when a divided Colorado General Assembly starts its 2015 session on Jan. 7.

The General Assembly has failed twice in the last two sessions to pass reforms to the construction defects law, with one effort dying in the House (2013) and the other, Senate Bill 14-220, in the Senate.

1/2/2015
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Supporters of the effort to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer are turning away from the General Assembly and on to voters.

For four years, beginning in 2009, the Legislature tried but failed to pass laws allowing grocery and/or convenience stores to sell full-strength beer or wine. The push from grocery store owners came after the Legislature lifted a ban on Sunday sales for liquor stores in 2008.