Bente Birkeland

Capitol Coverage Reporter for Rocky Mountain Community Radio

Bente Birkeland has covered Colorado politics and government since spring of 2006. She loves the variety and challenge of the state capitol beat and talking to people from all walks of life. Bente's work has aired on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, American Public Media'sMarketplace, and she was a contributor for WNYC's The Next Big Thing. She has won numerous local and national awards, including best beat reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. Bente grew up in Minnesota and England, and loves skiing, hiking, and is an aspiring cello player. She lives in Lakewood with her husband.

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Gov. John Hickenlooper is entering his second to last legislative session as governor. He said he’s very aware of his time in office being limited, and that colored his discussion on his goals for the upcoming legislative session.

Democratic Sen. Lucia Guzman, representing Denver, is the only legislative leader returning to her role, but it’s something she didn’t expect.

Courtesy of Kevin Grantham

Republican Sen. Kevin Grantham will lead the state Senate in 2017, where his party held onto its one-seat majority. He represents district 2 and says he’s the first rural senate president in over four decades.

Republican Kevin Grantham will lead the state Senate in 2017, where his party held onto its one-seat majority. He represents District 2, located in north-central Colorado and includes northwestern Denver suburbs,  and says he’s the first rural Senate president in over four decades.

Republican Patrick Neville is only serving his second term in office, but he recently rose to the highest position in his caucus —  house minority leader.

Crisanta Duran will serve as the top lawmaker in the state House of Representatives next session, leading the 65-member chamber as speaker of the house. She will also be the first Latina to serve in that role in state history.

Colorado’s economy is starting to stabilize and showing signs of moderate growth according to the latest economic forecast released earlier this week.

With increasing populations and out-of-state travelers, there are more drivers on Colorado’s roads than ever before.

A state court ruled on Dec. 13 that Colorado’s nine presidential electors must vote for the winner of the popular vote in Colorado, Hillary Clinton. 

Colorado lawmakers are already preparing for possible changes from the incoming Trump administration. 

A lawsuit challenging the state’s Electoral College will be heard in federal court on Monday.

A new state website will allow residents to track how state government is performing in five key areas – including education, the economy, energy and the environment.

Lawmakers on the joint budget committee have questions about how the state is managing wildlife programs and hunting and fishing permits.

Two members of Colorado’s Electoral College have filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court challenging the electoral college system and the way Colorado binds electors.

Colorado is expected to see modest job growth next year across many industries. The new economic outlook was released Monday by CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business. 

State transportation officials addressed lawmakers Thursday about new ways to fund roads and bridges, and about being ready for any changes at the federal level.

Bente Birkeland

The state’s planning group on aging is calling for a new position to coordinate services, programs, spending and the needs of Colorado’s growing aging population. The group released recommendations on Tuesday. 

One of the first items on President-elect Donald Trump’s to-do list when he takes office will be to nominate a Supreme Court justice. While campaigning, Trump released a list of possible nominees, which included three judges from Colorado: Chief Judge Timothy Michael Tymkovich and Judge Neil McGill Gorsuch, both serving on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Justice Allison Hartwell Eid of the Colorado Supreme Court. 

Colorado will be part of a new pilot program to create a digital driver’s license.

More Republicans voted in Colorado’s presidential election compared to Democrats or Unaffiliated voters, according to the latest figures.

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