Legislative News

Restructuring of state legislature effort resurrected

The Colorado Statesman

A campaign to restructure the state legislature with the aim of giving rural Colorado more of a voice first suspended its efforts after a lackluster response, but then days later announced that it was forging ahead.

Time for special session dwindles

...But fracking fracas keeps on going
The Colorado Statesman

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday affirmed the remaining proposed ballot titles pushed by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis that attempt to offer local jurisdictions the power to regulate oil and gas activity, including banning hydraulic fracturing and increasing setbacks.

The high court’s ruling came just days after citizens in Loveland rejected a ballot question that would have imposed a two-year moratorium on so-called “fracking.” It remains to be seen whether the failed time-out in Loveland foreshadows similar defeat of statewide questions.

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.

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.

Hopeful GOPs meet in smoke-filled room; seek senate takeover

The Colorado Statesman

So, you think the days of conducting politics in smoke-filled rooms have fallen by the wayside?

Not so, at least not on the evening of June 10 when the Senate Majority Fund held a reception featuring cigars, drinks and insight into the 2014 elections. The venue was the estimable Churchills at the Brown Palace Hotel, where the menu consists of an extensive list of vodkas, single-malt scotches, small-batch bourbons, and premium spirits and wines. And, according to the tony club’s offerings, more than 60 cigars — meaning something for every palate from their customized humidor.

Cantor’s stunning defeat brings quick response in Colorado

It was just a matter of hours before the GOP gubernatorial campaigns in the state went into spin mode, and in some cases damage control, after news broke Tuesday night that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., shockingly lost his primary election to a political neophyte who had virtually no name identification in that state and even fewer dollars in his campaign war chest. It was viewed by many as a blow to immigration reform in Congress, since Cantor had been at the forefront of the issue and considered more moderate on the subject than many of his House colleagues.

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.

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.