Legislative News

Vote nudges GOP to the right

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

FORT COLLINS — Lower taxes, family values and the protection of TABOR were the major themes Larimer County Republicans reiterated during a vacancy committee hearing to replace Sen. Kevin Lundberg in House District 49 on Saturday.

Higher ed braces for cuts

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The fiscal state of Colorado’s higher education system is bad and getting worse.

The system was already on unstable financial footing after the 2002 recession forced lawmakers to substantially cut funding to the state’s 28 college and university campuses, and it’s up for another $30 million slashing this year.

Ethics probe widens

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The investigation into ethics complaints against Assistant House Minority Leader David Balmer and Erik Groves, a Colorado Chiropractors Association lobbyist, pivoted on a sticky note, phone logs and recollections of conversations and phone messages.

It took a wider turn this week — requesting relevant memos, phone records, text messages and e-mails during the week of Dec. 10 from every Republican House member.

GOP future in SD 15?

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The first round of infighting in the Republican Party over how to best win future elections may have played out last Saturday in Larimer County.

The county’s 128-person Republican vacancy committee voted by a 2-to-1 ratio to select Rep. Kevin Lundberg to fill out the remainder of Sen. Steve Johnson’s second term in Senate District 15, passing up the never-elected but more moderate Republican, West Point graduate and Loveland businessman Mike Lynch.

Ritter seeks traction for FASTER plan

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Surrounded by Democratic lawmakers, construction workers and a handful of business and civic leaders at the Capitol Wednesday, Gov. Bill Ritter continued to push for a solution to Colorado’s transportation woes.

At a colorful press conference, Ritter promoted his omnibus transportation plan, dubbed FASTER, an acronym for Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation & Economic Recovery. Despite calling for a bipartisan solution, Republican lawmakers were noticeably absent.

Lawmakers learn about CO poisoning the hard way

By Elizabeth Stortroen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Emotional testimony on Tuesday, Jan. 13, shook the normally placid House Business Affairs and Labor Committee as Don Johnson, the father of carbon-monoxide poisoning victim Lauren Johnson, spoke firmly between tears, at one point demanding cooperation from the assembled lawmakers.

“Don’t you dare not pass this bill! Please! Please!” he shouted as held up a photo of his 23-year-old daughter, a University of Denver graduate student who died Jan. 5 in her apartment near the campus.

Springs Dems, GOP gang up on budget woes

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

When the Democrats and Republicans in El Paso County’s legislative delegation talk about forging a bipartisan effort to cure Colorado’s economic woes, they sound a lot like the members of an Indiana Jones expedition — with an equally colorful cast of characters charting divergent paths to the treasure.

Carroll makes state history

By Elizabeth Stortroen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

On Wednesday, Jan. 7, a standing-room-only crowd in Colorado’s House chambers witnessed an historic moment.

As outgoing Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff handed his gavel over to his successor, Rep. Terrance Carroll, Carroll became the state’s first black Speaker of the House. And, as Carroll joined Senate President Peter Groff in a leadership role, Colorado became the first state in the nation to have black lawmakers simultaneously head both legislative chambers.

Balmer & Groves ethics probe problem: missing evidence, conflicting witness accounts

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The ethics complaints against Assistant House Minority Leader David Balmer and lobbyist Erik Groves might boil down to “he said, she said” debatable memories of phone messages and conversations.

Recorded phone messages — the basis of both complaints — apparently don’t exist.

Penry, May hatch plan to fund infrastructure

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Colorado’s 100 legislators have vowed to hammer out a bipartisan solution to the state budget’s $600 million shortfall. And true to their vows, members voiced bipartisan criticism when Republican leaders floated a quick-cash plan to infuse $500 million into the state coffers for improvements to highways and bridges.