Legislative News

Budget will be larger, but that could lead to more contentious discussions

Plus return of gun issues could also wreak havoc in the Senate
The Colorado Statesman

Even though the state budget is a good three months away from being seriously debated, Senate leaders believe the so-called Long Bill could lead to one of the most significant political conversations of the upcoming legislative session.

The fight is looming, as lawmakers will have $1.4 billion more to spend in fiscal year 2014-15 than was budgeted for the current fiscal year.

House GOP looks to tweak a few issues from last year

The Colorado Statesman

House Republicans in the upcoming legislative session that begins on Wednesday hope to renew hearings on issues such as gun control and a rural renewable energy standard, opening the door to several divisive debates that are likely to repeat themselves this year.

Hickenlooper emphasizes jobs, economy — again

But with a little more bipartisanship this time
The Colorado Statesman

Despite heading into a contentious political year in 2014 — in which Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is facing re-election and a loud and crowded GOP primary field — the governor remains optimistic that he can lead the legislature towards a bipartisan session that begins on Jan. 8.

“We’re going to continue to try to bring a nonpartisan focus on job creation and the economy; try to make sure we can support our small businesses,” Hickenlooper said on Dec. 19 at a media availability in his office.

Businesses brace for workers’ comp bill in 2014 session

Bill sponsor Rep.Williams says second draft already in the works
The Colorado Statesman

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct a mistake in the earlier version. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment was not interviewed for this story and has not taken a position on this proposed legislation as initially indicated. The Colorado Statesman apologizes for the error and to the CDLE.

Colorado business leaders will keep a watchful eye on the 2014 session that starts Jan. 8. Topping the watch list: a proposed bill on workers’ compensation that some business groups believe could be bad for business. Bill supporters say it will restore balance to a system that has for too long favored employers over employees.

Legalization of pot heats up stone cold day in Denver

It’s a brave new world out there
The Colorado Statesman

In the gloom before sunrise on January 1, TV trucks were lined up like dominos along Brighton Blvd. just south of I-70 as more than a hundred journalists of every stripe (think Al Jazeera) sipped coffee and munched sticky, warm donuts purchased from an opportunistic food truck situated in the parking lot at Denver’s Discreet Dispensary (DDD). Occasional snowflakes swirled briskly in the air as nearly 200 customers awaited the first retail marijuana sales in Colorado.

Republican Doty won’t run for Secretary of State

GOP Williams, Dem Neguse are only official candidates to date
The Colorado Statesman

For the moment, it does not appear that Republican El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams will face a primary in his bid for secretary of state. Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty told The Colorado Statesman on Monday that she would not pursue the race, despite having said earlier that she was considering it.

Doty said she is already preoccupied with her work as a county commissioner, and also has several personal matters to attend to that make it difficult for her to engage in a statewide race.

Zenzinger chosen to replace Sen. Hudak

Defeats veteran Gagliardi in vacancy committee election
The Colorado Statesman

Former Rep. Sara Gagliardi was stunned after fellow Senate District 19 Democrats on Tuesday night passed her over and elected Arvada City Councilwoman Rachel Zenzinger to replace Sen. Evie Hudak following her resignation last month.

Hudak announced her resignation on Nov. 27 in the face of a looming and costly recall election over her support for gun control. Zenzinger was sworn-in on Friday, Dec. 13.

New state senator Zenzinger sworn into office

The Colorado Statesman

The latest road to recall was officially cut short on Friday when Sen. Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada took her place as the new senator for District 19. She was sworn-in after Sen. Evie Hudak, a Democrat from Westminster, resigned last month in the face of a growing effort to oust her from office.

A vacancy committee of Jefferson County Democrats elected Zenzinger on Tuesday night when she defeated former Rep. Sara Gagliardi of Arvada.

Zenzinger, 38, will resign from her position on the Arvada City Council in order to serve SD 19.

Rep. Wright faces double challenge to keep House seat

‘Political triangulation’ at work?

EDITOR'S NOTE: James "JJ" Fletcher on Dec. 15 announced that he will be switching is party affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated. When The Colorado Statesman asked him on Dec. 9, he said that he had "no intention right now of running unaffiliated."

Fletcher said on Dec. 15 that he is changing his affiliation to unaffiliated because, "We have faced too many roadblocks to continue as a Republican."

Fletcher said in an advisory that he will officially announce the switch on Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. during a news conference at 200 S. Spruce St. in Grand Junction.

Rep. Williams says she's being harassed over foreclosure vote from last session

But the court rules that alleged offender is allowed to exercise his right of political speech
The Colorado Statesman

EDITOR'S NOTE: Darren O'Connor clarified after the story published that Cmdr. Mike Calo testified on Nov. 13 that he did not ask O'Connor to back away from Rep. Angela Williams during a town hall meeting on Sept. 23.

Progressive activists next year will once again attempt to pass some semblance of foreclosure reform after a heated battle last legislative session resulted in one lawmaker fearing so much for her safety that she obtained a concealed-carry permit and recently sought a restraining order.