Colorado Politics

Courtesy of Progress Now

ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest progressive group, looked recently at the biggest winners and losers of the 2019 legislative session in Colorado. Executive Director Ian Silverii joined KDNK station manager Gavin Dahl by phone to explain why he counts regular people, local communities, kindergartners and parents, people in need of healthcare, LGBTQ youth, and Mother Earth among this year's winners. Meanwhile, polluters, Internet trolls, the gun lobby, homophobes, and secessionists are among the session's losers. It's a fast-paced conversation, so hold on tight!

Colorado lawmakers are renewing an effort to prevent accidents and travel headaches on Interstate 70 in the mountains.

A bill introduced in the House of Representatives on Thursday would require drivers to carry chains or have tires with sufficient tread throughout the entire winter season on the interstate.

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.

Amy Hadden Marsh/KDNK

Perry Will is leaving Colorado Parks and Wildlife after 43 years to assume Bob Rankin's seat as representative for Colorado's 57th District, which includes Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Carbondale. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh spoke with Will recently. Listen to the interview in three parts.

Amy Hadden Marsh/KDNK

Perry Will leaves Colorado Parks and Wildlife this month after 43 years to take Bob Rankin's seat as representative for Colorado's 57th District. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh recently met with Will for an in-depth interview. In Part 1, they talk about about his experience as a wildlife manager and how that will inform his new role.

Lawmakers in Colorado say they're seeing a growing number of cases where patients visit a hospital in their insurance network but unknowingly get treated by an out-of-network specialist or surgeon.

Then the patients get sent a surprise bill, and the worrying starts.

Last year, the town of Avon got little resistance from its residents when it asked them to approve a $3 tax on every pack of cigarettes sold in the town.

Town Council member Scott Prince said it was supported by more than 70 percent of voters.

"There was zero campaigning done on behalf of that tax measure," Prince said. "It really speaks volumes about the residents and how much people see the impacts of tobacco and cigarette products."

Sen. Chris Holbert is adapting to life in Colorado's legislative minority.

"We will have our say but not our way," he said in a speech on Jan. 4, the opening day of the session. "We have the voice, but not the votes."

So how does a lawmaker without the votes approach his job? Here are three takeaways from KUNC's interview with the Republican minority leader the day before the session gaveled in.

Seven Colorado Democrats advanced a comprehensive sexual education bill at the State Capitol on Wednesday, after a contentious hearing that ended just before midnight. The hearing included testimony from dozens of opponents and a flurry of attempted Republican amendments to the bill.

The legislation aims to expand sexual education curriculum at public schools to include such topics as consent, birth control and STD prevention.

Amy Reyes Makes Lake County History as First Woman Sheriff

Jan 21, 2019
Leadville Today

Amy Reyes is the first woman elected sheriff in the history of Lake County... and, the second woman sheriff in Colorado. KDNK’s Amy Hadden Marsh recently talked to the sheriff about why she ran and how she plans to restore confidence in the department.

It was a busy week at the State Capitol as lawmakers started debating an initial round of bills at committee hearings and Gov. Jared Polis issued his first executive order to promote electric vehicles.

Here are some highlights, and some things to look for when lawmakers come back on Tuesday.

Cheers from environmental groups drowned out nearby construction noise in downtown Denver Thursday morning after Gov. Jared Polis announced an executive order that aims to bring more electric vehicles to Colorado.

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

Jared Polis addressed lawmakers for the first time as Colorado Governor Thursday. His State of the State Address, delivered before a Democratic majority of legislators, lasted about 55 minutes. In it, he said the state of Colorado is solid, strong, and successful. But he also said it was time to address education and the high cost of living and health care, particularly in mountain communities. Hear the State of the State Address in its entirety.

Democrats applauded as Gov. Jared Polis outlined his administration's priorities in his first State of the State Thursday. He touched on topics from full-day kindergarten funding to paid family leave and oil and gas development.

But the governor's address was criticized by Republicans for its lack of specifics on where all the money for his agenda will come from.

As Colorado's new lawmakers showed off their desks to their kids on Wednesday, Gov. John Hickenlooper was busy cleaning out his own. He was down to his final days as the head of state government.

Signed baseball bats and other memorabilia were scattered on the floor of his office. His desk was littered with piles of old papers.

When a caravan of lawmakers arrived at the state Capitol Tuesday morning carrying several pink boxes of Voodoo doughnuts, it was apparent something very significant was about to happen.

Some of the lawmakers had grins on their faces. They were ready to welcome a new governor with a ceremony that would include fighter jets roaring above and loud cannon fire that would spook dozens of pigeons out of the trees in nearby Civic Center Park.

Courtesy Photo

Bob Rankin (R-Carbondale), representative for Colorado's 57th District, has been appointed senator for Colorado Senate District 8, replacing Randy Baumgardner (R- Hot Sulphur Springs), who recently retired. Rankin spoke Friday with KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh about his new job.