Peter Marcus

Spouses and partners of new legislators learn about juggling work and private time

The Colorado Statesman

Life will become a maze of deadlines, attention and stress for 31 brand-new lawmakers who entered the Capitol on Jan. 9. But it will perhaps be their spouses and companions who face the most dramatic change over the 120 days of the next legislative session.

Several of these new lawmakers’ partners heard from experienced family members who have navigated the roller coaster that is public service. The orientation program on Dec. 13 sought to answer difficult questions about how to juggle both personal and work-related issues that can be overwhelming for those who are new to the Gold Dome.

Jobs still the focus at Capitol

The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper and legislative leaders from both parties on Dec. 14 unveiled their agenda for the upcoming session that begins on Jan. 9. It includes efforts at raising funds for transportation, making improvements to health care and education, while sorting out regulations surrounding marijuana and the oil and gas industry. Measures from last session, including same-sex civil unions and reduced tuition rates for undocumented students, will also surface again in the upcoming Democratic-controlled session.

Outgoing lawmakers transition into ‘civilian’ life

The Colorado Statesman

For outgoing lawmakers who lost elections in 2012, the transition from public to civilian life is both sudden and uncertain. But five legislators interviewed by The Colorado Statesman say they are anticipating life outside the Gold Dome as they prepare their personal and business lives for a new chapter.

Legislators set for health(y) exchange of ideas

The Colorado Statesman

Lawmakers are likely to wage a divisive battle over health care in the upcoming legislative session that begins on Jan. 9. Issues over expanding Medicaid, asking voters to approve universal health care, and the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange currently top the list.

Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, is leading the ambitious health care agenda for Democrats. Her most contentious battle could be over expanding Medicaid, which Republicans are weary of doing without containing spending.

Gunning for reforms of mental health

Governor unveils proposals in wake of recent gun shootings
The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday unveiled proposals for comprehensive reforms to the state’s mental health system in the wake of senseless shootings in Colorado and across the nation that have ignited a polarizing conversation on prevention.

Legislators hear concerns of county clerks

The Colorado Statesman

Colorado’s county clerks have gotten off to an early start lobbying the legislature for election reforms after the previous session in which several proposals were killed during a divisive election year.

The County Clerks Association met with lawmakers on Monday for an informational session to outline several proposals ranging from an all-mail ballot delivery system to shortening voter registration deadlines and eliminating contention surrounding mailing ballots to inactive voters.

Controversy over fracking in Colorado runs deep

Rift among stakeholders could spill over to legislative session
The Colorado Statesman

The debate over whether state regulators can responsibly govern hydraulic fracturing is leaving few parties satisfied — causing a rift between regulators themselves, the governor’s office, legislators and environmental and industry stakeholders. The upcoming legislative session, as a result, is likely going to offer heated disagreements over the growing conversation, including bills that compete with state rulemaking.

DU panel hears fixes to campaign finance reform

Free airtime, public financing?
The Colorado Statesman

A University of Denver panel charged with making recommendations for campaign finance reform was told on Wednesday that the best way to stop money from corroding the political system is to offer public financing and free advertising airtime for campaigns.

The 19-member task force has been holding a series of meetings with experts to determine whether there should be campaign finance regulations, and what those regulations should look like. Panel members include Joe Blake, former chancellor of the Colorado State University System and former chief executive of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Dick Robinson, chief executive of Robinson Dairy, attorney John Moye, a partner with Moye White, LLP, former state Sen. Polly Baca, D-Greeley, and Stephanie Villafuerte, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center, to name a few.

Legislators energized for new session

The Colorado Statesman

State lawmakers on Thursday outlined an extensive legislative agenda related to energy for the upcoming session that begins on Jan. 9. The legislature is likely to address establishing a renewable thermal standard, incentivizing so-called “green” construction and capturing methane gas, increasing the value for diseased trees to be used as fuel, accelerating the use of alternative fuels for state fleets, and establishing a clean energy commercial building program.

Another beer bill on tap at the Legislature

Priola crafting legislation for craft beer at grocery, convenience stores
The Colorado Statesman

Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, is crafting legislation that would allow some small-batch microbreweries to sell full-strength beer in grocery and convenience stores in Colorado. But the craft beer industry isn’t quite sure it’s ready to toast the measure quite yet.

Priola points to skyrocketing demand for micro beers in Colorado, with the state having become known as the sort of “Napa Valley of craft beer” for its burgeoning microbrewery scene.