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State

Colorado state news and state government coverage from our correspondents on the Front Range. 

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Three lawmakers face formal complaints at the state Capitol alleging sexual harassment. We went to the districts these lawmakers represent to see what their constituents think about the situation. The overall message: sexual harassment shouldn’t be tolerated and there should be consequences should the allegations be proven true.

 

The National Republican Senatorial Committee and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner are urging Alabama Democrat Doug Jones, who won the state’s special election, to fill a vacant Senate seat, to vote with the GOP.

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.” 

A state lawmaker from Firestone, about 30 miles north of Denver, was arrested on Tuesday at Denver International Airport for carrying a firearm. She is being held, pending an investigation and possible charges.

 

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 state lawmaker has drafted legislation to remove Rep. Steve Lebsock from office as Lebosck has refused calls for his resignation. It sets the stage for a battle, as allegations of sexual harassment continue at the Colorado Capitol. Lebsock is a Democrat running for state treasurer.

Rep. Matt Gray, also a Democrat, said he will introduce a resolution when lawmakers return to the legislature in January. Gray said he believes the accounts of the women who first accused Lebsock in our stories last month. 

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. 

COLORADO SENATE REPUBUBLICANS

New claims of sexual harassment have been brought up at the Colorado legislature involving Sens. Randy Baumgardner and Jack Tate. Both, in comments to us, strongly deny any wrongdoing, although they refused to answer our specific questions directly.

Another woman has filed a formal complaint against Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock for sexual harassment.

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.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday that his "story has never changed" about his and other Trump campaign officials' connections to Russia.

"I will not accept, and reject accusations that I have ever lied," Sessions said. "That is a lie!"

A flood of lawmakers are now calling for the resignation for Rep. Steve Lebsock, a Democrat running for state treasurer, in the wake of our reporting on allegations of sexual misconduct.

Meanwhile, a second woman has come forward with additional allegations that raise questions about Lebsock’s behavior at the State Capitol.

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.

A project to create a passenger rail line from Fort Collins to Pueblo – and even further – is still in its early stages. The Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission in charge of the project briefed state lawmakers on Thursday.

Jacob Riger, the vice-chair of the Commission said the group would spend part of next year establishing a preferred route for the line.

Former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo has added his name to the list of people vying to become Colorado’s next governor.

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.

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