Peter Marcus

State’s new gun-control laws upheld by court

The Colorado Statesman

A U.S. District Court judge on Thursday released a 50-page ruling that systematically and carefully tears apart a lawsuit filed by gun rights supporters, upholding Colorado’s laws banning high-capacity ammunition magazines and requiring universal background checks.

More than 30 groups and individuals sued the state over the gun control laws passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature last year. Plaintiffs are already planning an appeal of the ruling.

Gun rights candidates win Jeffco senate seats

But can they now fire up the rest of the GOP?
The Colorado Statesman

Perhaps the biggest victory for conservative candidates challenging mainstream Republicans in the primary elections on Tuesday occurred in Jefferson County where a bitter and divisive push by pro-life and gun rights groups propelled their candidates to commanding wins.

In Senate District 19, Laura Woods defeated Lang Sias 55 percent to 45 percent, earning 6,700 votes to Sias’ 5,413. She now faces Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, in the general election.

Caldara: Let the sunshine in

Ballot initiative requires open school board meetings
The Colorado Statesman

The leader of a free-market think tank is pushing a proposed ballot initiative that would require open meetings for school boards during collective bargaining or employment contract negotiations.

Jon Caldara, president of the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute, said the proposal is not meant to be political, despite the many political implications that come with collective bargaining agreements between unions and school boards.

Deal, or no deal? Time's running out

The Colorado Statesman

A deal brokered by Gov. John Hickenlooper to avoid an onslaught of proposed ballot questions that could lead to more bans on hydraulic fracturing remains complicated at best, as both environmentalists and industry executives are fractured.

The wishful grand bargain spearheaded by Hickenlooper, a Democrat, aims to get U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, to drop his push to allow local governments to create their own rules and regulations governing the oil and gas industry. He would also like to increase well setbacks to at least 1,500 feet. The current standard is 500 feet.

Hick flick considered electioneering

The Colorado Statesman

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert opined on Thursday afternoon that a well-known, conservative Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit should not be treated as traditional media and is thereby subject to financial disclosures in making a political film focused on Gov. John Hickenlooper and elected officials in Colorado.

Citizens United, famous for initiating a U.S. Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates to unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions, requested a declaratory order from the Colorado secretary of state’s office.

Schuller, Polis air their views

Foes on fracking drill away at each other
The Colorado Statesman

Colorado’s top oil and gas advocate, Tisha Schuller, finally got her chance on Tuesday to drill away at U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who has become the face of a campaign that could lead to banning hydraulic fracturing across Colorado.

Schuller, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, challenged Polis to a debate back in December 2013. She called on the congressman to debate her after Polis demanded that COGA halt legal action against so-called “fracking” bans in several local communities.

Let more citizens judge the judges?

The Colorado Statesman

A local lawyer frustrated with the system in Colorado to retain judges and hold them accountable has proposed two ballot initiatives that aim to restructure the system and offer citizens their own form of justice.

Chris Forsyth, who has practiced law for 20 years, said he has seen the damage judges can bring to the judicial system because of a lack of oversight and commitment to retaining quality justices.

Ballot proposal aims to restructure legislature

The Colorado Statesman

Following a failed attempt to secede from the state of Colorado, the so-called “51st state movement” has morphed into an effort to restructure the state legislature with the aim of giving rural Colorado more of a voice.

The newest attempt comes in the form of a proposed ballot initiative that would reorganize the legislature with a model similar to U.S. Congress. The House would be based on land area and each county in the state would have its own representative, reducing the House from 65 to 64 representatives.

Shared sacrifice and managing expectations

Colorado’s pension fund still has a long way to go
The Colorado Statesman

Pension financing experts say it will take “shared sacrifice” in order to solve the crisis of unfunded liabilities facing current and future retirees.

Greg Smith, executive director of the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association, said Colorado coined the term “shared sacrifice” when it began its push for PERA reform in 2009.

The state faces at least $23 billion in unfunded pension responsibilities, much of which was exacerbated by an economic downturn that began in 2008, sinking investments and causing pension managers to scramble for a solution.

School funding push a ‘success’ in the end

The Colorado Statesman

After months of wrangling over a spending package for K-12 education, all sides of the debate came together for a signing ceremony on Wednesday in which stakeholders were able to put the contentious legislative session aside to bask in the reflected glory of dramatically increased education funds.

Gov. John Hickenlooper joined lawmakers, lobbyists, school leaders and teachers at Ponderosa Elementary in Aurora where students watched the governor sign two education spending bills.