Legislative News

State’s state? Broke!

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

A dose of hard economic reality seemed to overshadow Gov. Bill Ritter’s third annual State of the State address on Thursday.

Dem, GOP lawmakers share sushi and budget woes

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Maybe it was the sushi. Maybe it was the gravity of the tough economic situation facing Colorado in the coming year. Whatever the reason, members of the state’s legislative leadership acted overly gracious toward one another at Tuesday’s legislative sneak preview luncheon, an annual event hosted by the Denver office of Greenberg Traurig, an international law firm.

Bitterness scarcely noticeable as Senate opens

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Cue the lights. Raise the curtain. Places everyone.

The start of the 67th General Assembly and the 2009 legislative session kicked off Wednesday morning amid pomp, circumstance and color. Opening day ceremonies in the Senate moved relatively quickly — especially when compared to the pace in the House, which took nearly two hours to honor former lawmakers and swear in new ones.

Projected budget gap either bad or REALLY bad

By Chris Bragg
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Is this year’s budget gap in Colorado a whopping $604 million or a manageable $77 million? That depends on which report you read.

In competing reports that came out Dec. 19, the non-partisan Colorado Legislative Council cited the big figure, the governor’s office the much smaller one.

Revenue shortfall threatens Healthy Forests initiative

By Nathan Rodriguez
SPECIAL TO THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Almost eight years have passed since President George W. Bush signed the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act into law. Most observers lauded the intent of the legislation, only to be disheartened when lack of funding made it powerless.

May files complaint against Balmer; Acree files against lobbyist

Some Republicans accuse May of playing politics

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Rep.-elect Cindy Acree — a freshman Republican legislator who won’t be sworn-in until Jan. 7 — inadvertently created a tempest that resulted in canceling the imminent retirement of House Minority Leader Mike May, compromising a lobbyist and crushing the reputation of Assistant Minority Leader David Balmer.

Ironically, Balmer had endorsed Acree’s candidacy and helped raise money for her campaign.

Ritter braces for cuts

Colorado hopes for $250m in federal funds

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Gov. Bill Ritter delivered a “good news — bad news” economic forecast for Colorado in 2009.

On the bright side, compared to such states as California, New York and Michigan, which are facing budget deficits of up to $11 billion, Colorado’s economy appears relatively healthy. On the gloomy side, the state is, nevertheless, grappling with an estimated $100 million budget shortfall.

Part of that shortfall may be offset by budget cuts, a hiring freeze, suspended pay raises and an

Voting panel narrowly escapes legal tizzy

By Chris Bragg
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

The layers of election law written in near-crisis mode over the past few years have created an ambiguous legal landscape for the state’s election officials.

And it’s hard to imagine that idea being expressed more eloquently than it was at a Capitol hearing last Tuesday morning.

Economic stress forces May to retire

McNulty, Balmer campaign for House Minority Leader

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Colorado legislators were stunned when House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, announced Friday that he will retire his HD 44 seat next month because he needs to devote full time to his hotel business during the economic crisis.

May’s decision “was completely unexpected,” said Rep. Kent Lambert, R-Colo. Springs. “I don’t think anyone thought that something like this could happen.”

Buescher’s fall pushes Carroll, Weissmann into leadership posts

By Chris Bragg
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Asked on Election Day who he thought would be the next speaker of the House in Colorado, Denver Rep. Terrance Carroll responded that it almost assuredly would be Grand Junction’s Bernie Buescher, who, Carroll believed, was about to be elected for a fourth term representing House District 55.