Peter Marcus

Delay of north FasTracks line irks legislators

The Colorado Statesman

Democratic Rep. Matt Jones of Louisville led an at times adversarial charge against Regional Transportation District officials last Friday, grilling the authorities on a “gross inequity” related to construction of a 41-mile corridor of the FasTracks project from Denver to his district and Longmont.

Health exchange remains a politically thorny issue

Gardner under attack for not allowing full vote of committee
The Colorado Statesman

Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, is being blasted by his own Republican colleagues and outside interest groups for moving forward with the state’s health benefit exchange.

The controversy erupted last Thursday when the Legislative Health Benefit Exchange Implementation Review Committee — which Gardner co-chairs with Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood — approved a $43 million grant application to fund the next step in establishing the state’s online health insurance pool.

Personhood proponents turn in ballot petitions

GOP officials are not clamoring to endorse measure
The Colorado Statesman

Sponsors of a ballot proposal that would offer constitutional rights to the unborn say they turned in 112,121 petition signatures to the secretary of state’s office on Monday, contending that the initiative is necessary to offer justice to families following horrific tragedies such as the Aurora movie theater mass shooting.

The so-called “personhood” initiative could appear before voters this November for the third time since 2008, once again facing an uphill battle in a divisive political climate that appears to have prominent Republicans afraid to offer their support.

Proposed ballot measure seeks to overturn Supreme Court decision

Citizens United ruling is focus of state initiative
The Colorado Statesman

Sponsors of a proposed ballot question asking the Colorado congressional delegation to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting campaign contributions and spending submitted 176,774 signatures to the secretary of state’s office on Monday in an effort to overturn the controversial Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

It takes 86,105 valid signatures for the initiative to qualify for the November ballot. The secretary of state’s office has until Sept. 5 to verify signatures. The overwhelming number turned in all but guarantees it will make the ballot.

Attempts to get initiatives on ballot go by the wind

Lack of paid petition gatherers hindered initiative efforts
The Colorado Statesman

Sponsors of at least five ballot proposals watched their titles expire on Monday, as they were unable to collect the necessary 86,105 signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.

The initiatives included an effort to provide undocumented immigrants with a driver’s license, two efforts to protect the state’s water sources and two efforts to legalize recreational marijuana.

One of the most controversial of the proposals was Initiative 52, which would have asked Colorado voters to make a statutory change to approve driver’s licenses for all, despite legal residential status.

State sues over control of oil and gas regs

City of Longmont is charged with overstepping its authority
The Colorado Statesman

Failed attempts at the legislature this year to define local versus state control of oil and gas regulations in Colorado has spilled into the courts, as the state has filed suit against the City of Longmont for having enacted its own set of rules.

Contraception coverage mandate blocked by court

The Colorado Statesman

A Colorado business has been thrust into the national debate on President Barack Obama’s health care law after a federal judge ruled last Friday that the Catholic owners do not have to comply with a mandate that private employers provide employees with insurance coverage for birth control.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John Kane in Denver came just days before a provision under the Affordable Care Act took effect on Wednesday, which requires that birth control be made available to women at no cost.

Debate over gun control resurrected

State and federal lawmakers look at possible legislation
The Colorado Statesman

In the wake of a senseless and horrific mass-shooting at an Aurora movie theater last Friday that left 12 dead and 58 injured, state lawmakers are already preparing to introduce stricter gun control legislation for Colorado.
Reps. Beth McCann, D-Denver, and Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, say they are discussing a slew of proposals that could involve a statewide ban on assault weapons, a prohibition on Internet purchases of certain ammunition and military armament being shipped to Colorado, a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips in the state, and stricter background checks.

Gessler besieged by critics of proposed rules

The Colorado Statesman

Throngs of voters and public officials lined up at Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office on Monday to oppose proposed rules that many believe would disenfranchise voters and impede the democratic voting process.

2012 Legislative Wrap-up

Bill signing ceremony highlights legislation benefitting military personnel, the elderly

The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed a handful of bills addressing the needs of military personnel and their families, as well as measures to assist seniors most in need.

One of the legislature’s centerpiece measures sent to the governor was a bill that makes it easier for military personnel to vote.