Legislative News

Storm brewing over sales of 'obsolete' 3.2 beer

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

David Parker, a Colorado Springs convenience store owner, is more than ready to see the last of Colorado’s Blue Laws dissolve.

Deep cuts pain lawmakers

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The cuts were far worse than anyone had expected.

When Gov. Bill Ritter’s budget team told the Joint Budget Committee on Tuesday that his plan would cut $823 million from the 2009-’10 fiscal year, the hearing room packed with journalists, lobbyists and legislative staffers went stone still as everyone sharply inhaled and held their breath.

Groves probe: High crimes or misdemeanors?

PANEL TO DETERMINE COMPLAINT AGAINST LOBBYIST FEB. 3

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

On Feb. 3, a joint legislative ethics committee will decide the outcome of a complaint filed by Rep. Cindy Acree, R-Aurora, against Erik Groves, a lobbyist for the Colorado Chiropractic Association. Groves is accused of attempting to influence Acree’s vote in the race for Republican leadership posts in the Colorado House of Representatives — a violation of rules governing lobbyists.

Missing info stalls Balmer probe

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Members of a legislative ethics committee agreed to postpone a vote on “probable cause” in a complaint filed against Assistant House Minority Leader David Balmer while expressing frustration that — because Balmer hasn’t complied with requests for e-mails, phone records and other pertinent information — their investigation has been stalled.

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.