Colorado

Nara Bopp was working at a thrift store in Moab, Utah the morning of March 4 when her desk started moving. 

“I immediately assumed that it was a garbage truck,” Bopp said.

Courtesy of NREL

Legislators in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Washington passed aggressive clean energy mandates in 2019.

Courtesy: Colorado Attorney General

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, in the Roaring Fork Valley Friday to participate in a panel discussion, stopped by the KDNK studios to talk about the Mueller Report, the state's defense of the Affordable Care Act, and what he learned while clerking for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

When Gov. Jared Polis walked into the Stedman Elementary School auditorium behind a marching band on Tuesday afternoon, with dozens of supporters waving signs and cheering, the signing ceremony for the full-day kindergarten bill felt more like a pep rally.

“Today, we celebrate the fact that this fall, kids from across our state will be able to go to free fullday kindergarten,” Polis said to loud cheers before he signed the bill.

Transportation funding advocates are giving Colorado’s latest legislative session mixed reviews despite a bipartisan budget deal that boosted transportation funding by $70 million.

Margaret Bowes, who leads an organization that focuses on improving the Interstate 70 corridor in the mountains, said the money lawmakers added for roads and bridges was “just a drop in the bucket.”

Douglas rattles around a collection of glass jars in the storage closet of his Denver apartment. They're filled with sterilized rye grains, covered in a soft white fungus — a mushroom spawn. Soon, he'll transplant it in large plastic bins filled with nutrients such as dried manure and coconut fiber.

Over the course of two weeks, a crop of mushrooms that naturally contain psilocybin, a psychoactive ingredient, will sprout. The species he grows include psilocybe cubensis.

Speaking to reporters in the final hours of the legislative session, Gov. Jared Polis touted the passage of several health care bills and the funding for full-day kindergarten.

But he quickly faced questions about some recent setbacks at the Capitol, including the death of a bill he backed that would have asked voters to add taxes on cigarettes and vaping products.

The Colorado General Assembly didn’t end its 72nd session quietly. In the final days, they’ve taken big votes on some of the most consequential legislation of the year. Here’s what they’ve been up to in the final hours.

From a robot voice that became the sound of fierce partisanship to a crucial debate over the future of oil and gas held in the middle of a blizzard, there was plenty of drama at the state Capitol this year.

Here’s a recap of some of the biggest moments of the session from its start to its final week.

Scott Franz

Colorado will now join a dozen other states holding their primaries on March 3. For the last 20 years Colorado held caucuses to determine a party’s candidate. But in 2016 voters overwhelmingly approved a proposition restoring primaries in a presidential election year.

Will Evans

 

Dick Lamm,

 

38th Governor of Colorado,

 

reflects as an elder

 

on the

 

“Law of Unintended Consequences”

 

and our relationship

 

with

 

For Mitchell Byars and other breaking news reporters around the country, the police scanner might be just as important as a laptop computer.

Byars, who covers everything from wildfires to mountain lion sightings for the Boulder Daily Camera, said the radio traffic helps him answer important questions from residents.

Colorado Democrats are backing a heavily-amended version of a bill to create a paid family leave program.

The bill stalled in the Senate Finance Committee last month over concerns from business leaders and some Democratic. But a series of 24 amendments have gotten some of the Democratic holdouts on board, and the committee voted along party lines to advance the proposal.

A bill that Democratic lawmakers say is needed to fight climate change has cleared its first hurdle at the state Capitol.

House Bill 1261 would set a goal for Colorado to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent before 2030.

It would also give a state board the authority to approve new regulations that would help the state reach that goal.

Rae Solomon

On Saturday April 6, the Colorado Poor People’s Campaign hit the road for a Denver metro area Emergency Truth & Poverty Bus Tour, highlighting a variety of social, racial and environmental justice issues. KGNU’s Rae Solomon went along to speak with the people involved and find out the issues they’re most concerned about.

Mark Duggan

Colorado lawmakers are working on a bipartisan set of proposals that would seek to lower insurance premiums and the costs of prescription drugs. According to Gov. Jared Polis, it will bring particular relief to rural and mountain areas, where health care costs are some of the highest in the nation.

Cities and counties that have spent years fighting for more regulatory power over the state’s oil and gas industry are now just one signature away from getting it.

Democrats in the Colorado Senate gave their final approval on Wednesday to Senate Bill 181, which will let local governments increase setbacks and impose fines for spills and air quality violations.

It now heads to Gov. Jared Polis, who is expected to sign it.

Colorado Democrats have tabled their effort to repeal the death penalty after some members of their own party expressed concerns about the bill.

The proposal was stuck in limbo for more than two weeks as State Sen. Angela Williams tried to secure the votes the bill needed to clear the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim 19-16 majority.

The Colorado Legislature has given final approval to a bill that will allow police officers to temporarily take guns away from people who are deemed to be a risk to themselves or others.

Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign the extreme risk protection order bill into law.

Public domain

Thomas Edison became a household name for inventing the first practical incandescent light bulb. But because of what happened in a small town in Colorado, his bitter rival Nikola Tesla won the bigger prize to electrify our modern grid. Over a century later, could revenge be in the offing?

Oil and Gas Bill Advances

Mar 29, 2019

The Colorado House is giving its stamp of approval to a bill that allows local governments more control over oil and gas drilling operations. KDNK’s Capitol Coverage reporter Scott Franz has more:

Red Flag Bill Close to a Vote

Mar 27, 2019
LEIGH PATERSON/KUNC

A controversial measure that would temporarily seize weapons from people deemed a risk could get its final vote in the state Senate any day, putting it on the path to for Governor Jared Polis to sign it. Mark Duggan reports.

Colorado Introduces New State Logo

Mar 27, 2019
Scott Franz

The new logo, complete with mountains, an evergreen tree and the letter C centering the state flag, replaces one that was introduced in 2013.

When Jennifer Knowles helped her three sons set up a lemonade stand in Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood last summer, she thought she was teaching them about the joys of running a small business.

But then someone called the police and the stand was shut down because the family didn’t have the right permit.

Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET

After a long night of bargaining, teachers in Denver who were on strike over wages and bonuses have reached a tentative agreement with school district officials to end their walkout. The strike began Monday, after 15 months of negotiations ended without a deal.

The teachers are expected to be back in most classes today.

Report: Colorado Should Invest in Census Outreach

Feb 14, 2019

Due to a variety of factors, including a question about U.S. citizenship, many Colorado residents are at risk of not being counted in the upcoming 2020 Census, according to a new Colorado Fiscal Institute report. The report also projects that a state investment of $12 million for outreach could ensure that Colorado gets its fair share of Congressional seats and about $8 billion in federal funds.

Longmont resident Ingrid Moore went to the state Capitol on Tuesday carrying a stack of maps she said illustrates why Colorado should change the way it chooses U.S. presidents.

"Over 57 percent of all the 2016 campaign events were held in just four states," she said as lawmakers on the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee reviewed the map. "Virtually all campaign events ... were held in just 12 states. And those 12 states just have 30 percent of the population."

More than 10,000 special education students will be "extremely impacted" by the Denver teacher strike, a new class action lawsuit alleges. The suit, brought on behalf of the students against the school district — on the first day of the strike — argues that without trained teachers and caregivers, the students will be put in jeopardy.

Denver schoolteachers are going on strike over how their base pay is calculated. The teachers union and the school district failed to reach an agreement after more than a year of negotiations.

It is the first teachers strike for the city in a quarter-century, and it affects about 71,000 students across 147 schools, Colorado Public Radio reports.

Mark Duggan

Voters in Colorado and other western states continue to support conservation policies for publicly owned lands, putting them at odds with the Trump administration's energy dominance agenda, according to the ninth annual Conservation in the West Poll from Colorado College.

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