State

Colorado state news and state government coverage. 

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

colorado.gov

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

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. 

 

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.

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.

Colorado’s annual legislative session ends Wednesday, May 10. Several hundred bills have already passed this year. But some major items still remain. Bente Birkeland talked to statehouse reporters Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal and Nic Garcia at Chalkbeat Colorado about what’s left to do.

Colorado energy regulators are trying to quell the public’s fears after a house built near an oil and gas well exploded, killing two men. The explosion happened in the small community of Firestone, thirty miles north of Denver, where oil and gas wells are common.  State officials are still investigating the explosion and don’t know what caused it.

Bente Birkeland talked to statehouse reporters Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal and Peter Marcus with ColoradoPolitics.com about the tragedy and what it could mean for future oil and gas legislation.

If lawmakers won’t address the issue of transportation, several groups say they will -- through a ballot initiative asking Colorado voters to raise taxes to improve roads, bridges and transit projects.

One of the most important advocates of the plan to increase taxes in the legislature was an unlikely ally --the Senate’s top Republican. But he couldn’t prevent members of his own party from defeating House Bill 1242 at the end of April.

Tracy Olson/Flickr

Wednesday is the deadline to pass the state’s budget for the next fiscal year. Lawmakers have not yet met to finalize the plan. This delay could put the legislature in a tight spot in the final days of session.

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