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State

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

A group of Colorado lawmakers are working to lower health insurance premiums for residents on the individual market created in the wake of the Affordable Care Act. Rates are predicted to rise 34 percent on average next year. There are concerns that healthy people will opt out of coverage and that could cause rates to rise even higher as the insurance risk pool thins out.

Bob Collins, a small business owner and the father of three in Thornton, said the rise will cost him $18,000 to cover his family next year. That’s a significant increase to what he pays now.

The U.S. Senate passed the budget for next fiscal year with no Democratic support. Colorado’s two senators voted with their respective parties.

November election ballots are being mailed to voters across Colorado this week. There’s no statewide ballot question this year.

Amazon

The Denver region is submitting its bid for Amazon’s second headquarters on Monday. The giant internet company announced last summer that it was building a second headquarters outside of Seattle.

Colorado’s Senators are weighing in on the possibility that President Trump will decertify the Iran nuclear deal this week in favor of a tougher policy.

STEPHEN BUTLER / FLICKR - CREATIVE COMMONS

Lawmakers examining state water issues are wrapping up their work ahead of next year’s legislative session.

State lawmakers met on Friday to discuss how to promote and help young farmers.

 

Legislators are trying to consolidate all the information on loans, state and federal resources, and other help into one single location to make it easier. Nathan Weathers owns Weathers Family Farms in Yuma. He said the biggest thing Colorado could do is improve amenities that young farmers want.  

Four years ago state lawmakers – and the governor – created a law to help undocumented children follow their American dreams. They allowed them to pay the significantly cheaper in-state tuition to go to state colleges instead of higher out-of-state prices. The requirements: They must graduate from a Colorado high school that they’ve attended for three years and promise to pursue citizenship.

“This is an issue that has been a challenge in our state and our country for many years,” said Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran, one of the main sponsors of Senate Bill 33.

On Oct. 2, members of Colorado’s legislature are set to gather for a special session.

Gov. John Hickenlooper has been clear on why he thinks a special legislative session is needed. Some tax revenues, he said, are not going to places like the Denver Zoo and museums because of a mistake in a bill he signed earlier this year.

For only the second time during his tenure as governor, John Hickenlooper is calling lawmakers back to the Capitol outside of their regular session. He wants them to fix an error that is keeping thousands of dollars from getting to the Denver Zoo and regional transportation districts.

But a special session may not lead to a simple fix.

Elise Thatcher

New figures from the non-partisan Colorado Health Institute say close to 95 percent of Coloradans have health insurance. But getting to 100 percent will be difficult.

STEPHEN BUTLER / FLICKR - CREATIVE COMMONS

Colorado lawmakers are headed back to the state capitol much sooner than expected. Gov. John Hickenlooper has called for the first special legislative session in five years. It’s to fix an error on a bill that prevented cuts to rural hospitals and set aside money for roads.

Merchandising giant Amazon wants to open a second headquarters – called Amazon HQ2 -- outside of Seattle. Colorado is pulling together what it hopes is a winning bid, but it’s a competitive venture.

“This has gotten the attention of the nation for that matter -- and North America, so we’re competing internationally,” said J. J. Ament, the CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation.

Colorado is joining a lawsuit trying to block President Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

Bente Birkeland/ Capitol Coverage

Coal mining has been a mainstay in many parts of western Colorado. But the jobs are going away. The recent closure of a mine – and a soon to be closed power plant in Montrose County – could cut tax revenue as much as 70 percent. Both local and state groups are laboring to find a replacement economy in a region that’s not used to rapid change.

Bente Birkeland/ Capitol Coverage

 Rural communities on Colorado’s Western Slope are struggling to thrive. On Monday morning, we told you how the loss of coal jobs in the towns of Nucla and Naturita in Montrose County are forcing many there to make tough choices. Should they stay and pursue new careers – or pack up and move away? Today, Bente Birkeland visits another county that’s beginning to turn the corner after its recent coal downturn.

Colorado’s Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne has formally kicked off her campaign to run for Governor. She joins a crowded Democratic primary race.

colorado.gov

Gov. John Hickenlooper unveiled a bipartisan plan today aimed at stabilizing the individual health insurance market. He and Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio spearheaded the effort.

Colorado is a resilient state. The unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation and the population along the Front Range is booming. It’s easy to see the impact of a strong economy in Denver. Construction cranes are up all over the city and it’s harder than ever to find affordable housing.

But it’s a different story in many parts of western Colorado.

Colorado Oil & Gas Association's Instagram account

About 800 people were in Denver last week for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual Energy Summit. Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet discussed the future of the industry.

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