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Valley Roundup - May 3, 2018

May 3, 2018

This week on Valley Roundup, we get the good the bad and the ugly from the 2018 Colorado Legislative session, Snowmass Village may be coming around on legal marijuana, how will e bikes change our trials? And we appreciate Aspen for what it is, season in and season out, awesome or not.

There are 850 families in the Roaring Fork Valley covered by CHIP - a government program that helps with healthcare costs for children and pregnant women. To ensure that they still get financial assistance, regardless of budget talks in Washington D.C., Colorado lawmakers took action yesterday.

TIME magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017 is the #metoo movement. The honor goes to the people behind the movement – "The Silence Breakers" – men and women who have come forward publicly with allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

[Update 12/14/17 1:15 p.m.] No charges will be filed against Rep. Lori Saine. The news was announced Dec. 14 by the Boulder district attorney’s office. The case was passed to Boulder because Denver’s district attorney Beth McCann worked closely with Saine when they were both state lawmakers. The Boulder district attorney’s office says Saine “totally forgot the firearm was in her purse and no criminal case against Ms. Saine can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.” 

Another woman has decided to file a formal complaint alleging sexual harassment by a state lawmaker. The former legislative intern said Sen. Jack Tate made inappropriate comments and repeatedly leered at her and nudged her during the 2017 legislative session. That brings the number of complaints against lawmakers to four.

A former legislative aide has filed a sexual harassment complaint against Republican state Sen. Randy Baumgardner for inappropriately touching her. 

The woman alleges that Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs slapped and grabbed her buttocks about four times over a three month period during the 2016 legislative session when she worked at the State Capitol. She alleges that each incident happened inside the Capitol building during her workday, often while she was walking through a corridor next to the Senate Chamber. 

On Tuesday state Rep. Steve Lebsock went on the offensive regarding the sexual harassment allegations against him, claiming he was being blackmailed in an effort to force him to resign his House seat.

“This is a story about blackmail and coercion and extortion, is what this is,” he said.

Colorado’s Speaker of the House is calling on Democratic Representative Steve Lebsock to resign after allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment.

Nine legislators, staffers and lobbyists are alleging that Rep. Steve Lebsock, a Democrat running for state treasurer, harassed, intimidated or made unwanted sexual advances against them. And in response to our reporting, a top Democratic leader is calling on Lebsock to “do the right thing and resign.”

colorado.gov

Colorado is a global player for both the import and export of goods and services. Some of this business is drummed up by international trade missions. Gov. John Hickenlooper recently returned from India and is already hinting of possible partnership announcements at the start of 2018.

STEPHEN BUTLER / FLICKR - CREATIVE COMMONS

Gov. John Hickenlooper unveiled his 2018 budget proposal Wednesday. It would put more money into education, public safety and a rainy day fund.

President Trump recently declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency. Colorado lawmakers are poised to take more action on the topic than ever before.

http://ventureburn.com/

Turnout is expected to be low for the Nov. 7 election. That’s largely because there is no statewide ballot question to help generate excitement for or against an issue.

Gov. John Hickenlooper is back from a two-week trade trip to India. The focus was tech start-ups and entrepreneurship.

A group of Colorado lawmakers are working to lower health insurance premiums for residents on the individual market created in the wake of the Affordable Care Act. Rates are predicted to rise 34 percent on average next year. There are concerns that healthy people will opt out of coverage and that could cause rates to rise even higher as the insurance risk pool thins out.

Bob Collins, a small business owner and the father of three in Thornton, said the rise will cost him $18,000 to cover his family next year. That’s a significant increase to what he pays now.

November election ballots are being mailed to voters across Colorado this week. There’s no statewide ballot question this year.

Colorado’s Senators are weighing in on the possibility that President Trump will decertify the Iran nuclear deal this week in favor of a tougher policy.

STEPHEN BUTLER / FLICKR - CREATIVE COMMONS

Lawmakers examining state water issues are wrapping up their work ahead of next year’s legislative session.

State lawmakers met on Friday to discuss how to promote and help young farmers.

 

Legislators are trying to consolidate all the information on loans, state and federal resources, and other help into one single location to make it easier. Nathan Weathers owns Weathers Family Farms in Yuma. He said the biggest thing Colorado could do is improve amenities that young farmers want.  

Four years ago state lawmakers – and the governor – created a law to help undocumented children follow their American dreams. They allowed them to pay the significantly cheaper in-state tuition to go to state colleges instead of higher out-of-state prices. The requirements: They must graduate from a Colorado high school that they’ve attended for three years and promise to pursue citizenship.

“This is an issue that has been a challenge in our state and our country for many years,” said Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran, one of the main sponsors of Senate Bill 33.

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