Legislative News

Hardly special...

After all the hullabaloo about working together to find a compromise on local control, hope for a special session finally fizzles out...
The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday morning ended months of anticipation and anxiety over a possible special session to address oil and gas regulation in the face of looming ballot initiatives, announcing that he was unable to strike a grand bargain.

The Democratic governor and former geologist had hoped to stave off a series of ballot proposals by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a fellow Democrat from CD 2, that aim to expand regulations over oil and gas development.

And this one’s about a real horse race...

Will voters allow gambling at racetracks to help fund education in the state?
The Colorado Statesman

Two former state legislators submitted signatures on Monday for a ballot initiative that proponents believe would raise millions of dollars for K-12 education by expanding casino gambling to racetracks.

But with millions of dollars already pouring into the race, opponents — largely made up of current Colorado casino owners — are alleging an ulterior motive by a Rhode Island-based casino to hijack the education issue in a selfish attempt to expand operations.

McLachlan vs. Brown — A rematch in HD 59

The Colorado Statesman

A rematch in southwest Colorado's House District 59 is likely to end up being one of the state's most expensive legislative races, as Democrats will fight to preserve the seat against an onslaught of Republican and conservative third-party attacks.

Democrat Mike McLachlan, a Durango attorney, is facing off once again against Republican Ignacio rancher J. Paul Brown. When they competed in 2012, Brown was the incumbent. McLachlan won by only 917 votes, or just over 2 points.

Local control ballot measures continue to prove controversial

Campaign complaints, splintered relationships add to drama
The Colorado Statesman

Opponents of proposed ballot initiatives that aim to give local governments more control over oil and gas regulation presented a campaign finance complaint before an administrative-law judge on Wednesday.

Former legislator seeks senate seat lost in recall

...But incumbent Herpin is mounting strong defense
The Colorado Statesman

Following a bitter recall election in which former Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs was ousted from office over his support for gun control, Democrats are eager to take back the Senate District 11 seat.

They have chosen former Rep. Mike Merrifield of Manitou Springs to lead them to victory. But Sen. Bernie Herpin, R-Colorado Springs, who was elected to succeed Morse, is mounting a campaign that he believes will defy odds in the Democratic-leaning district.

Potential for real food fight if GMO labeling makes ballot

Drive comes following failed legislative attempts
The Colorado Statesman

Proponents of a proposed ballot initiative that would require labeling of genetically modified foods are nearing the end of their signature drive, setting up a real food fight between citizens and producers.

The Right to Know initiative has collected about 90,000 signatures. They must collect at least 86,105 valid signatures by Aug. 4 in order to make the November ballot.

Restructuring of state legislature effort resurrected

The Colorado Statesman

A campaign to restructure the state legislature with the aim of giving rural Colorado more of a voice first suspended its efforts after a lackluster response, but then days later announced that it was forging ahead.

Time for special session dwindles

...But fracking fracas keeps on going
The Colorado Statesman

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday affirmed the remaining proposed ballot titles pushed by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis that attempt to offer local jurisdictions the power to regulate oil and gas activity, including banning hydraulic fracturing and increasing setbacks.

The high court’s ruling came just days after citizens in Loveland rejected a ballot question that would have imposed a two-year moratorium on so-called “fracking.” It remains to be seen whether the failed time-out in Loveland foreshadows similar defeat of statewide questions.

State’s new gun-control laws upheld by court

The Colorado Statesman

A U.S. District Court judge on Thursday released a 50-page ruling that systematically and carefully tears apart a lawsuit filed by gun rights supporters, upholding Colorado’s laws banning high-capacity ammunition magazines and requiring universal background checks.

More than 30 groups and individuals sued the state over the gun control laws passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature last year. Plaintiffs are already planning an appeal of the ruling.

Caldara: Let the sunshine in

Ballot initiative requires open school board meetings
The Colorado Statesman

The leader of a free-market think tank is pushing a proposed ballot initiative that would require open meetings for school boards during collective bargaining or employment contract negotiations.

Jon Caldara, president of the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute, said the proposal is not meant to be political, despite the many political implications that come with collective bargaining agreements between unions and school boards.