Peter Marcus

Ex-state senator defends Neville in ethics committee hearing

The Colorado Statesman

A legislative ethics committee on Wednesday began its investigation into a complaint brought by Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, against Rocky Mountain Gun Owners lobbyist Joe Neville for allegedly threatening political retribution during a conversation about gun control legislation.

The Committee to Investigate a Complaint under Joint Rule 36 — convened by the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council, which includes bipartisan legislative leaders from both chambers — made no findings, but heard a defense from Neville’s attorney, former Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield.

Joint select committee meets to hash out pot regs

The Colorado Statesman

Establishing regulatory framework for legalization of adult-use marijuana in Colorado could come down to a last-minute effort by the legislature after an implementation task force on Wednesday issued a 165-page report to lawmakers and the governor’s office with 58 policy recommendations.

Jack Finlaw, co-chairman of the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force and chief legal counsel to Gov. John Hickenlooper, called the report a “gift” for lawmakers.

Mid-session at Capitol fosters finger pointing

The Colorado Statesman

Legislative leaders were quick to point the finger at their political counterparts as the midsession approached on March 7, with each party arguing that the other is out of touch with the will of Colorado voters.

Democrats first defended their ambitious agenda so far this session, which has included a comprehensive package of gun control legislation, and controversial measures to support same-sex civil unions and provide in-state tuition to undocumented students.

House approves ASSET after six prior attempts

Tuition bill for undocumented students heads to Governor’s desk
The Colorado Statesman

Undocumented students and their supporters embraced in warm hugs with tears of joy streaming down their eyes Friday morning as the House took a historic final vote on providing in-state tuition to the paperless residents.

Gun bills trigger explosive testimony

Five of seven controversial gun bills get initial approval in state Senate
The Colorado Statesman

The most emotionally explosive week yet at the state legislature concerning gun control ended with only five of seven bills in a Democratic legislative package receiving initial approval by the Senate late Friday night.

Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, stunned observers when he decided to kill his own measure, Senate Bill 196, which would have held manufacturers and sellers of assault weapons liable for violent incidents that take place with those weapons.

Speakers of the House pay tribute to one of their own

Carl ‘Bev’ Bledsoe respected by both sides of the aisle
The Colorado Statesman

Eight former speakers of the Colorado House of Representatives and current Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, on Monday paid tribute to late Speaker Carl Beverly “Bev” Bledsoe during a heartwarming tribute in the House chamber, in which Bledsoe — the longest serving speaker in state history — was remembered as being a tough conservative who held the utmost respect for the democratic process.

Diverse panel targets gun violence

Moderator Hickenlooper stays out of the fray as both sides take aim
The Colorado Statesman

Local heavyweight politicos wasted no time accusing each other of partisan gamesmanship at a panel Tuesday night discussing gun control. The conversation took place as conservatives and liberals from across the nation have targeted Colorado’s efforts to increase restrictions on firearms.

Open records bill also opens Pandora’s box

Opponents claim HB 1041 lacks transparency, but Senate committee passes it on party-line vote
The Colorado Statesman

A well-intentioned bill that aims to make it easier for the public to obtain public documents under the Colorado Open Records Act has caused a kerfuffle. Activists claim that House Bill 1041 secretly seeks to empower dubious records custodians to charge exorbitant fees in order to pad government budgets and block transparency.

Sponsored by Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, and Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, the measure has already cleared the House and made it through the Senate Local Government Committee on Tuesday. The party-line vote was 3-2.

Guv fires off veto threat on firefighters bill

The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday threatened to veto legislation that would ensure statewide collective bargaining rights for Colorado firefighters. But union officials and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, believe the Democratic governor will be spared some of the political battery that his Democratic predecessor, Gov. Bill Ritter, experienced for opposing a similar measure.

House approves gun restrictions in marathon session

The Colorado Statesman

A monumental and at times grueling week under the Gold Dome was filled with marathon public hearings and more than 12 hours of House floor debate on gun control. The conversation saw a lot of love lost between Republicans and Democrats during this Valentine’s Day week. But as the midnight hour passed late Friday night, Democrats walked away victorious, clearing a major hurdle by pushing centerpiece agenda items through the divided lower chamber.