Legislative News

Local control ballot measures continue to prove controversial

Campaign complaints, splintered relationships add to drama
The Colorado Statesman

Opponents of proposed ballot initiatives that aim to give local governments more control over oil and gas regulation presented a campaign finance complaint before an administrative-law judge on Wednesday.

Former legislator seeks senate seat lost in recall

...But incumbent Herpin is mounting strong defense
The Colorado Statesman

Following a bitter recall election in which former Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs was ousted from office over his support for gun control, Democrats are eager to take back the Senate District 11 seat.

They have chosen former Rep. Mike Merrifield of Manitou Springs to lead them to victory. But Sen. Bernie Herpin, R-Colorado Springs, who was elected to succeed Morse, is mounting a campaign that he believes will defy odds in the Democratic-leaning district.

Potential for real food fight if GMO labeling makes ballot

Drive comes following failed legislative attempts
The Colorado Statesman

Proponents of a proposed ballot initiative that would require labeling of genetically modified foods are nearing the end of their signature drive, setting up a real food fight between citizens and producers.

The Right to Know initiative has collected about 90,000 signatures. They must collect at least 86,105 valid signatures by Aug. 4 in order to make the November ballot.

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.