state

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.

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.

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

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

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.

The highest legislative priority for the governor and leaders in both parties -- transportation funding -- failed in the Republican- controlled Senate Finance Committee on April 25.

Despite the backing of the Senate President, Democratic House Speaker, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and a broad coalition of leading business groups, mayors, county commissioners and other organizations testifying in support, committee members voted along party lines in a 3 to 2 split.

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.

Earlier this month, Fort Collins Coloradoan reporter Nick Coltrain won the First Amendment Award at the Society for Professional Journalists’ Top of the Rockies for a battle with Colorado State University. He wanted to know if there were inequities in pay between men and women -- and discovered there were, but only after a lot of work. The school provided him with a printout of all the information -- 150 pages of an Excel spreadsheet --  rather than the files themselves.

A bipartisan measure to give people in rural Colorado financial help to cover high health insurance costs failed in a state Senate committee this week.

Colorado’s $28.6 billion budget is nearing the end of its legislative journey.

Each year, the six-member, bipartisan Joint Budget Committee crafts a balanced budget before sending it to the House and Senate for amendments. The JBC then has to reconcile those changes.

But in most cases, they go back to the original budget they spend months writing.

This year, the the House and Senate have added about 30 amendments to the so-called “long bill”.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is term limited and the race to succeed him in 2018 is already underway. Some big names have recently announced their campaigns and much earlier than usual. The moves could impact one of the biggest agenda items still facing lawmakers during this year’s legislative session – transportation funding.

Ed Sealover, a reporter for The Denver Business Journal, and Peter Marcus with ColoradoPolitics.com, spoke to Bente Birkeland about the race.

Colorado’s budget handily passed the state Senate on March 29. It has bipartisan support and increased four percent compared to the previous year. In many ways the debate was a microcosm of the entire legislative session. It showed lawmakers working together, complex policy issues,  partisan fights and political statements. It is balanced, as required by the state constitution, but reflects how Colorado lacks enough money to fully fund schools, health care and roads.

Many lawmakers are not happy with how the bill turned out.

Colorado lawmakers still have several significant and complicated bills to work on in the last five weeks of the session.

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