John Tomasic

Author Archive | John Tomasic

Colorado House wrestles with an evangelical moment

State Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, talks in the lobby outside the House chamber, April 5. (John Tomasic/The Colorado Statesman)
State House Minority Whip Lori Saine said she had been working on the memorial resolution offered for Bill Armstrong during a joint session of the Legislature on and off for a year. Same with the eulogy she delivered — and she was clearly charged with deep feeling as she read it out to a chamber […]

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Colorado Open Records Act digital update bounds over last legislative hurdles

Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, in his legislative office, 2017. (John Tomasic/The Colorado Statesman)

The Colorado Open Records Act this year will receive a long-overdue digital-era update after Senate Bill 40 on Wednesday ended its switchback journey over the entire course of the 120-day legislative session Wednesday, finishing in the Senate with an against-all-odds unanimous vote of support. “No one would have guessed it would receive all 35 votes […]

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On the 2017 legislative session, transportation lobbyist sees hope in the wreckage

Sandra Hagen Solin, founder of Capitol Solutions, in a Capitol lobby, 10 May 2017. (John Tomasic/The Colorado Statesman)
Sandra Hagen Solin, spokesperson for the Fix Colorado Roads economic-development coalition, worked the legislative trenches all year to bring Capitol leaders to a place where they could make a deal to pass a major transportation funding proposal. After months of back and forth, leadership this session brought out House Bill 1242, which failed spectacularly. Critics […]

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Lawmakers: Let Colorado Vote celebration more about spin than a win

Colorado's "gold dome."

Let Colorado Vote, the group advocating for open primary elections in the state, celebrated legislative leadership on Monday tied to Senate Bill 305 in a way that lawmakers involved with the bill suggested was little tied to experience on the ground at the Capitol. “The thousands of grassroots activists who helped enact the open primary […]

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Firestone tragedy unlikely to shake up Capitol oil and gas politics

In this April 18, 2017, photo, investigators stand by as debris is removed from a house that was destroyed in a deadly explosion in Firestone, Colo., on April 17. Anadarko Petroleum said Wednesday, April 26, that it operated a well about 200 feet (60 meters) from the house in the town of Firestone. The company didn't say whether the well was believed to be a factor in the explosion or whether it produced oil, gas or both. (Matthew Jonas/The Daily Times Call via AP)
A lot has changed in the wake of the oil and gas industry-linked explosion at the end of April in Firestone that killed two. Anadarko Petroleum shut down 3,000 wells. Matt Lepore, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission director, spoke about conducting “an ongoing conversation about new safety measures” of one kind or another.

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Colorado open primary bill advances over bumpy terrain as negative ad hits airwaves

Screenshot from Let Colorado Vote ad, 8 May 2017.

Debate inside and outside the Legislature around how to best implement the state’s new voter-approved open primary elections has grown hotter by the hour as the legislative session barrels toward closing day. On Monday, the Senate advanced Senate Bill 305 to the House. The bill is meant to guide the secretary of state’s office in […]

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Gas patch lawmakers bring late bill to map oil and gas well flowlines in wake of Firestone tragedy

State Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, talking to reporters in the House offices. (John Tomasic/The Colorado Statesman)

Gas patch lawmakers racing against the legislative clock on Friday introduced a bill that would grant state oil and gas regulators the power to map well flowlines and it would require drilling companies to share flowline maps with the state, cities and counties where drilling occurs and make the maps available to the public.

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House Majority Leader on crucial Hospital Fee bill negotiations: ‘We’re so, so super close’

State Rep. KC Becker, D-Boulder, 2016. (John Tomasic/The Colorado Statesman)

Weeks of tense negotiations and occasional lawmaker blowups are coming to an end, one way or another, over a linchpin bill that in its last iteration would raise $1.8 billion in bond money for state transportation upgrades, save state hospitals from a proposed $500 million cut and lower the state spending limit in future years […]

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Top Colorado regulator uncertain ‘what happens next’ after fatal Firestone explosion linked to oil and gas operations

COGCC Director Matt Lepore at his second press conference in six days, May 2, 2017. (Screen shot from live feed.)

Matt Lepore, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, told reporters Tuesday afternoon that it was a “confluence of events” tied to an uncapped line leading to a gas well that led to the fatal home explosion in Firestone April 17. He said that state well inspections and regulations would not necessarily prevent […]

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