Scott Franz

Colorado voters have a chance to cut property taxes in November. But Proposition 120 is complex. Scott Franz reports on how the ballot question is pitting conservatives, educators, and legislators against each other in a battle that may stretch beyond Election Day.

Many state lawmakers say the coronavirus pandemic has created an alarming divide at schools in Colorado.

Back in March, Sen. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, says students who had the technology, the resources and the right learning environment at home were able to thrive when classes went online. But students that did not got left behind.

“We have many, many students who are missing, thousands of students who are missing because they are not plugged in, not engaged,” she said at the Capitol.

Colorado Republicans spent this past legislative session trying to strip Gov. Jared Polis of the broad emergency powers he has been using to lead the state through the pandemic. The effort did not gain any traction in a Capitol dominated by Polis’ fellow Democrats.

Amendment 78 is a new, conservative-led effort to make the executive branch a little less powerful by giving state lawmakers more control over emergency spending.

After a year of coronavirus restrictions and cancelled travel plans, tourists have been flocking by the thousands to Steamboat Springs to cool off in the Yampa River.

At Backdoor Sports on Yampa Street, dozens of people from Wisconsin, Kentucky and Illinois were lining up this month to rent river tubes days before the waterway closed because of drought conditions.

Peter Van De Carr started the business 35 years ago with 10 tubes and a single limousine to ferry people back up the river when they were done. This year, he has a fleet of vans and long lines.

Colorado is making it easier for residents to see what their government is spending their tax dollars on, down to every last paperclip and coffee order in the governor’s office.

Late last year, the state quietly turbocharged its clunky and neglected online checkbook by migrating millions of lines of financial data to a new software system.

Scott Franz

Experts who studied Colorado's response to the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic say history is not repeating itself when it comes to how state lawmakers are responding to COVID-19. KDNK's Capitol reporter Scott Franz has more.

As the pandemic nears its one year mark, Gov. Jared Polis has issued more than 260 executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. He says he can’t wait until they all expire.

“You know each one is difficult, and thoughtful and predicated by science,” he said in an interview with Rocky Mountain Community Radio.

But as the crisis has dragged on, the governor and his administration have been defending themselves against a steady stream of lawsuits coming from churches, businesses and others questioning everything from mask mandates to capacity restrictions.

New State Coronavirus Restriction Color is Purple

Nov 18, 2020
CDPHE

The state has created a new level on its Coronavirus restriction dial. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh has this report.

Gov. Jared Polis is summoning lawmakers back to the Capitol for a rare special session to consider a coronavirus stimulus package worth more than $200 million.

"Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions," Polis said Tuesday at the governor's mansion. "I'll be asking the general assembly to take up critical legislation that will help Colorado families and Colorado small businesses survive these challenging winter months ahead to bridge us to the vaccine."

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Governor Jared Polis is hopeful that Colorado will get up to two hundred thousand doses of a vaccine for COVID-19 before the end of the year. KDNK’s Capitol reporter Scott Franz has more.

Updated at 9:15 a.m. on 11/4/2020

Colorado voters rejected a measure that would have prevented women from getting an abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy unless the procedure was needed to save the woman's life.

Proposition 115 failed 59% to 41% with 85% of votes tallied as of Wednesday morning.

As a result, Colorado will remain one of seven states in the country without restrictions on abortions.

Colorado workers who need paid time off to care for a newborn or a sick relative are one step closer to having access to such a benefit after voters passed Proposition 118.

The measure, which was winning 57.09% to 42.91% will create a new statewide leave program allowing all Colorado workers to take up to 12 weeks off for a number of medical reasons while still collecting most of their paycheck.

Starting in 2023, workers and their employers will begin paying premiums each month for the benefit, which won’t start until 2024.

Boosted by the state’s deep disapproval of President Donald Trump, former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper defeated incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner and flipped a U.S. Senate seat in Colorado.

Hickenlooper, a two-term governor who led the state through floods, wildfires and the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, ran a campaign largely focused on criticizing Gardner for supporting Trump and attempting to overturn the Affordable Care Act.


Officials in Colorado have been spending money to bring travel writers to the state. It's a practice that raises questions for one media ethicist and, as an open records request has revealed, some journalists aren't disclosing to their readers where the money came from.

Updated Oct. 22, 2020 at 5:55 p.m. See end of story for updates.

Three travel writers from Austin, Texas arrived in Colorado with their families in July with action-packed itineraries given to them by Colorado’s state government.

Giuliana Day says the 22nd week of a woman’s pregnancy is an important milestone.

“That is over five months into the pregnancy when a baby is fully formed and is a fully alive human being, and we treat them like a human being,” Day said.

It’s also when Day says a fetus can survive outside the womb. Its why she says she is leading an effort to stop abortions after this phase unless the mother’s life is at risk because of her pregnancy. Day’s effort to get Proposition 115 on the ballot was boosted by several Catholic churches, which helped circulate petitions.

Democrats at the state Capitol have tried for several years to create a paid family and medical leave program, but concerns from small businesses and Gov. Jared Polis have kept it from becoming law.

Now the political battle is moving from the state Capitol to the ballot box, where voters will have the final say.

Kris Garcia, who has spent more than a decade advocating for stronger paid leave benefits, is attending virtual rallies and sharing his story about what life is like without family and medical leave programs.

Dan Thompson says he has seen wolves at their best, and their worst.

As the big carnivore supervisor for Wyoming Fish and Game, Thompson has gotten to step within a few feet of a wolf after biologists prepared to tranquilize the animal in a trap.

“Just to see that yellow in the eyes and that little bark and howl, I mean, it kind of penetrates your soul quite honestly,” Thompson said last month from his home in Lander, Wyoming.

But on the flip side, Thompson says he has seen a more unflattering side of wolves.

State Rep. Jeni Arndt joined a very exclusive club in the world of Colorado politics last year when one of her bills became so controversial, it triggered the first statewide referendum since 1932.

“I got a lot of feedback (on the bill) … some death threats,” Arndt said of her bill to put Colorado in the National Popular Vote Compact, a growing group of states that want to award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who gets the most votes nationwide.

Gov. Jared Polis is ordering restaurants and stores to stop selling alcohol after 10 p.m. each night in an effort to prevent inebriated residents from spreading coronavirus.

Polis said the earlier last call is needed because young adults have become the top spreaders of coronavirus in Colorado.

State Rep. KC Becker, D-Boulder, is nearing the end of her two-year tenure as Colorado’s Speaker of the House. It's been an eventful time at the Capitol. Becker was part of a historic effort to expel a fellow lawmaker for sexual harassment. And this month, she presided over what many are calling the strangest legislative session in history. 

Gov. Jared Polis on Monday signed what he is calling is the most difficult budget in state history because of the impacts of COVID-19.

There were no large banners celebrating legislative accomplishments like there were last year.

And when the lean budget goes into effect July 1, Colorado's public schools will take one of the biggest hits, with more than $500 million missing from their budgets.

Colorado lawmakers on Monday ended what is likely to go down in history as one of their most difficult, dramatic and emotional legislative sessions.

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The Colorado House of Representatives passed a series of reforms on the last day of the legislative session that they say will help prevent violent encounters with police. KDNK’s Capitol reporter Scott Franz has more.

As large protests against police brutality continue around the nation, Democratic lawmakers at the state Capitol are advancing a bill they say will help prevent deadly police encounters in Colorado.

Governor Jared Polis says he will seek more federal aid for Colorado when he meets with President Trump at the White House Wednesday. KDNK's Scott Franz has more.

The coronavirus outbreak is expected to take even more money out of the state budget than lawmakers were originally expecting.

It wasn’t too long ago that former Gov. John Hickenlooper was shaking hands and kissing babies in Iowa during his short-lived presidential campaign. Now he spends hours talking into an iPad taped to a stack of wedding photo albums in his family room.

Colorado House Speaker KC Becker took to Twitter on Monday to vent about the grim task she and other state lawmakers will face next month when they return to the Capitol to try and write a budget during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the tiny mountain town of Ophir in southwest Colorado, residents riding out the coronavirus pandemic at home are sending another round of thank you notes to Brian Morgan, who worked tirelessly to get the community connected to high-speed internet just two years ago.

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kenneth W. Norman

Governor Jared Polis says all workers in critical buildings such as grocery stores and nursing homes will now be required to wear face masks. His executive order comes after there have been coronavirus outbreaks in at least fifteen nursing homes and residential care facilities around the state.

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