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State

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

Democrats call for universal health care

Aug 8, 2017
Bente Birkeland

The head of the Democratic National Committee joined Colorado leaders – including Gov.John Hickenlooper – in calling for universal health care and putting forward a united front on health care reform. It’s part of a national bus tour called Drive for Our Lives. The bus is stopping in states where members of Congress, for instance, Sen. Cory Gardner, voted to repeal Obamacare. 

Colorado lawmakers aim to improve digital learning

Jul 31, 2017

Colorado lawmakers want to improve how public schools integrate digital learning in and outside of the classroom. A report released Monday highlights priorities and says combining technology with traditional teaching improves test scores and engages students.

After President Trump tweeted that the U.S. military would no longer “allow or accept” transgender people to serve, troops on the ground were left with uncertainty. Military leaders say the policy won’t change until top Pentagon officials figure out how to implement it.

Emma Shinn is a 41-year-old Coloradan and veteran. She served in the Marine Corps for 20 years before retiring in 2014. When she served there was a ban on transgender people. Last year, she transitioned.  

The state of Colorado collected $180 million in taxes from legal marijuana sales in the 2016 fiscal year.

But could the well run dry?

As of July 1, 2017, Nevada is the eighth state to sell recreational marijuana -- and it won’t be the last. California, the sixth largest economy in the world, will start selling pot Jan. 1, 2018.

With summer here, people are flocking to the outdoors, including the trails, campsites and reservoirs of the Colorado State Parks system. Last year, the parks hit a record number of visitors – 13.5 million.  But Colorado is struggling to keep up with the demand.

Golden Gate Canyon State Park is rolling and green, nestled deep in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Just 45 minutes from Denver, this is the state’s fourth most popular state park. It stays that way for most of the year.

Colorado Energy Office loses state funding

Jun 21, 2017

The state office that focuses on energy efficiency will no longer be funded starting in July. A special last minute request from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office to save state funding for the Colorado Energy Office failed along party lines Tuesday.

Energy office funding still in limbo

Jun 19, 2017

A last-ditch effort to save Colorado’s Energy Office takes place Tuesday. During the legislative session, state lawmakers cut state funding for the office that oversees weatherization and other energy saving programs for residents. 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending the newly-created Bears Ears National Monument be downsized by an unspecified amount, possibly through unilateral action by the President.


Jared Polis enters race for Colorado governor

Jun 13, 2017

The list of Democrats wanting to be Colorado’s next governor is growing. Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder said he’ll run against his colleague Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter, along with other high profile opponents.

Final bills of legislative session signed into law

Jun 13, 2017

Friday was the last day for Gov. John Hickenlooper to sign, veto or let bills become law without his signature. He only vetoed two bills passed during the legislative session, and the final bill he signed was controversial.

Two new laws restrict marijuana black market

Jun 8, 2017
silverpeakapothecary.com

Colorado is ramping up efforts to try and prevent marijuana from being diverted to the black market. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two bi-partisan bills into law Thursday.

An audit released this week shows the Colorado Office of Film Television Media failed to properly award incentives for a number of projects.

Hickenlooper signs rolling coal bill into law

Jun 6, 2017
colorado.gov

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a host of bills into law on Monday, including a measure to increase the fine for rolling coal.

Outdoor Industry Finds Voice Amid Public Lands Fight

Jun 4, 2017

One of the biggest trade shows in the outdoor industry is still looking for a new home after the Outdoor Industry Association decided to leave Utah after two decades. Colorado has thrown its hat in the ring as a new potential site for the event, which brings together many of the world’s largest outdoor companies.

“One of the things we’re going to have to focus on is how a blended economy really works,” said Luis Benitez, head of Colorado’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry.   

One of the most significant pieces of legislation to come out of this year’s legislative session was signed into law Tuesday. Senate Bill 267 avoided deep cuts to hospitals and put about 2 billion dollars into road funding. 

 

Hickenlooper signs $26 billion state budget

May 26, 2017

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the state’s roughly $26 billion budget into law on Friday. 

CDOT will need ten times the $1.88 billion dollars awarded this legislative session for infrastructure projects around the state, says executive director Shailen Bhatt. That money was approved by lawmakers in a last minute deal after a sweeping transportation bill failed at the statehouse last month

Bente Birkeland

State lawmakers may come back to the capitol sooner than expected. Gov. John Hickenlooper is considering calling a special legislative session to, among other things, address transportation funding.

Despite some setbacks, Colorado lawmakers are praising the now completed 2017 legislative session. Lawmakers avoided major funding cuts to hospitals and took a step toward jump-starting condominium developments. But they failed to send a measure to voters that sought to raise the state’s sales tax to fund road infrastructure repair.

Bente Birkeland spoke with Democratic Speaker of the House Chrisanta Duran about some of the major pieces of legislation that passed through the Democratic House and Republican Senate.

Flow line mapping clears first committee

May 7, 2017

A last-minute bill to require oil and gas companies to map information on all of their flow lines and gathering lines is making its way through the statehouse. It’s in response to a house explosion that killed two people in Firestone.

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