Legislative News

Left, right in agreement on state testing

The Colorado Statesman

Education policy can lead to strange bedfellows. Several school policy debates playing out at the legislature this year have brought an alignment between the left and the right, offering hope that there is a middle road when it comes to education reform.

The most recent example occurred Monday in the House Education Committee when Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, brought a bill that would allow certain districts to opt out of mandated tests for all but third, eighth and 10th grades, and the ACT tests in 11th grade.

Will hearings lead to clean air... or hot air?

The Colorado Statesman

Hearings kicked off this week for air quality rulemaking that would make Colorado the first state to regulate detection and reduction of methane emissions by the oil and gas industry.

The plan — touted by Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat — aims to capture 95 percent of emissions by requiring expedited inspections for leak detection and repair, as well as controls on storage tanks and other emissions sources. The target is on hydrocarbons, including both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and methane.

GOP candidates for guv attack Hick and absent front-runners

The Colorado Statesman

Four of Colorado’s Republican gubernatorial hopefuls took turns attacking Democratic incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday at a debate in Denver but also heaped criticism on the two GOP front-runners, who have so far declined to participate in debates they say will only sow division among Republicans.

Legislators gun down efforts to repeal last year’s gun bills

The Colorado Statesman

It was a tough week for Republicans and gun rights activists as they watched several of their efforts to roll back gun control backfire. A gaffe by one Senate Republican made national headlines, while interest waned on attending legislative hearings seeking to expand gun rights.

The legislature this week heard two separate measures seeking to repeal a law backed by Democrats last year that banned high-capacity ammunition magazines, while also debating another measure that sought to give school districts the right to arm teachers.

Detractors form road block to US 36 toll road proposal

FasTracks, other transportation projects aren’t on such a fast track
The Colorado Statesman

Funding the state’s transportation system has long been a controversial issue. Facing shortfalls, state transportation officials and local governments are examining ways to creatively fill a $770 million gap, including tolling and gas and vehicle mileage-based taxes.

But convincing voters to raise revenues for roads and highways has never been an easy conversation; taxpayers have never appeared hungry for an increase.

Election bill likely to get swift signing

HB 1164 deals with residency requirements; GOP lambasts it
The Colorado Statesman

The longest floor debates of the legislative year have revolved around a controversial measure that aims to fix problems revealed by a Democratic-backed election law passed last year that some Republicans equate to “Stalin-like” policy.

The multiple hours of debate have offered Republicans an opportunity to lambast last year’s House Bill 1303, suggesting that the measure was so flawed that Democrats must now come back with a “fix it” bill this year.

Last year’s law permitted same-day voter registration and required that all voters receive a mail ballot.

State Rep. Angela Williams faces suit for ‘retaliation’

Progressive activist hires high profile attorney
The Colorado Statesman

A progressive activist is threatening to sue state Rep. Angela Williams for “retaliation” after a Denver County Court magistrate in November rejected a request by Williams for a protection order against the activist.

Boulder County resident Darren O’Connor, a member of the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition (CFRC), has hired the high-profile civil rights Denver-based law firm of Killmer, Lane and Newman to handle the case.

Can Beauprez help lure RNC to Denver — and run for guv?

Let’s see... I’ll run against Hick this year, and hope he’ll continue to help us promote Denver as the host city for the 2016 RNC at the same time...
The Colorado Statesman

The intrigue surrounding the possibility of Bob Beauprez running for governor this year has become more intense, with rumors widely circulating that the unsuccessful 2006 Republican nominee for governor is on the verge of jumping into this year’s already crowded contest against incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper.

But Beauprez, who just two weeks ago assumed the helm of the Colorado effort to bring the GOP National Convention to Denver in 2016, insists this newest salesmanship venture is “100 percent of my focus” and that he’s “all in on that.”

Sen. Udall faces tight reelection race, poll says

...but Hick maintains comfortable lead over GOP challengers so far
The Colorado Statesman

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall is locked in a tight race for a second term, running just barely ahead of several potential Republican challengers, according to a poll released on Thursday by Quinnipiac University.

Voters approved of Udall 45 percent to 42 percent but were evenly split on whether he deserves reelection, with 42 percent picking each side of the question.

Renewable energy has helped rural counties

Surprise, surprise?
The Colorado Statesman

Lawmakers on Wednesday heard from renewable energy industry leaders and county commissioners on how energy portfolio mandates are helping to increase business and create jobs, as well as boost tax revenues in rural Colorado.

The hearing before a joint meeting of the Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources committees came as Democrats have killed several Republican measures this year to scale back or repeal a rural renewable energy standard backed by Democrats last year.