Colorado Legislature

While oil and gas development is a hot topic, state legislators are waiting for a report from the Governor's Oil and Gas Task Force, mostly holding off on introducing energy related bills. The task force is charged with crafting recommendations to help mitigate the impacts of drilling to communities, and harmonize local and state regulations.

"I have told some members of the task force, you don't have to send something if there's not a problem," said Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling). "I want to know before you send me a solution, the problem we're trying to fix. And if you can't agree on a problem, don't send me legislation just because you're a task force."

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

The upper Roaring Fork Valley saw a dramatic rescue this week, after three elk fell into an icy pond.

A local ski guide gets caught in an avalanche; it’s a reminder that avalanche season is in full-swing.

A new climate report shows Aspen has seen temperatures warm over the last several decades.

Much larger fines are looming for oil and gas companies who don’t follow the law.

And, Basalt inches closer to deciding how to redevelop parts of downtown.

When the seventieth session of the Colorado General Assembly convenes Jan. 7, 2015 there will a new speaker of the house. The previous leader in the Colorado House last session was Democrat Mark Ferrandino of Denver. He was term-limited. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst , a Democrat from Boulder, will be the next speaker of the house.

Creative Commons/Flickr/Vox Efx

In November the Republican party in Colorado is aiming for control of the State Senate and one key race is in the 5th Senate District. It includes Pitkin and Eagle Counties. The seat is up for grabs because Senator Gail Schwartz of Snowmass Village is term-limited. Three candidates, each new to state politics, are urging voters to turn out to the polls and, so-called “dark money” is flowing into the race. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

There’s often a divide between Colorado’s rural lawmakers and those representing larger communities along the urban Front Range. That dynamic was apparent during the 2014 legislative session with Republicans routinely blaming Democrats for waging what they said is a "war on rural Colorado."

People living in many parts of rural Colorado still don’t have access to high speed Internet. It’s a problem for schools and businesses, and in eastern Colorado it is making it harder for farmers to take full advantage of the latest technology even as state lawmakers passed legislation to try and even the playing field.

A neighboring county is grappling with a huge mudslide, west of the Roaring Fork Valley.

It’s so dangerous a search for three missing residents has been called off and another slide could come down.

Construction begins in Carbondale for a decorative new roundabout on highway 133.

We’ll hear different opinions about a federal plan to beef up environmental protection for certain bodies of water.

Some Colorado companies are starting to use the state’s new logo but there have been hiccups for the branding effort.

Finally, we’ll hear from a state representative whose district covers Pitkin County about her busy time at the Statehouse.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition – right now.

State of Colorado/Department of Revenue

Lawmakers in Denver will vote on a bill Monday that would raise money for the 10th Mountain Division Foundation. The legislation would charge an extra fee for the 10th Mountain Division specialty license plate. After sailing through the House, the bill is getting a re-vote in the Senate. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

www.gailschwartz.org

With about five weeks left in Colorado’s legislative session, lawmakers are going over the budget, looking into fighting wildfires and voting on internet access for rural areas. State Senator Gail Schwartz is involved with these efforts. She’s a democrat from Snowmass Village and Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen sat down with her on Sunday. Here is their entire conversation.

A bipartisan committee at the statehouse has moved forward a bill to make it easier to remove people’s mug shots from commercial websites if they were never convicted of the crime for which they were arrested.

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