Scott Franz

Speaking in an eerily quiet state Capitol building that had closed to the public for a deep clean, Gov. Jared Polis ordered Monday that all bars and restaurants in the state close their dining areas for at least 30 days to help curb the spread of coronavirus. 

He also ordered the closure of large gathering places, such as casinos, theaters and gyms. Take-out and delivery service can continue.

The state legislature will adjourn for at least two weeks starting Saturday to help protect the public from the spread of COVID-19.

With its big political debates and historic treasures, the state Capitol building often sees thousands of visitors each day.

That has lawmakers worried about the potential for the virus to spread in the busy building.

Gov. Jared Polis is urging the cancellation of large public gatherings as several more COVID-19 cases are reported around the state.

Polis says gatherings of more than 250 people should be cancelled unless organizers can prove attendees will be at least 6 feet away from each other.

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  Governor Jared Polis is ramping up the state’s response to the coronavirus as the number of cases continues to grow, especially in mountain communities. Officials have now reported over 40 cases of COVID-19 in Colorado after testing more than 300 people. Our state Capitol Reporter Scott Franz has been following the developments, and he joined us from Denver to provide the latest information.

Updated 3/10/2020 at 10:52 a.m.

During a press conference at the governor's office Tuesday morning, Gov. Polis announced three more cases of COVID-19 in Arapahoe, Eagle and Gunnison counties and declared a state of emergency for Colorado.

The thousands of Colorado Democrats who caucused Saturday chose former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff as their top choice to take on Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in the race for US Senate.

The preference poll results are a setback for former Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was leading in fundraising and most polls ahead of the caucuses.

Colorado has its first two "presumptive positive" cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the latest coronavirus. State health officials on Thursday confirmed an out-of-state visitor to Summit County has tested positive.

With almost half of precincts reporting, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was declared the winner of Colorado's Democratic presidential primary.

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NIAID

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, Governor Jared Polis says Colorado will be prepared for it if it gets here. KDNK's Capitol Coverage reporter Scott Franz has more.

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My 420 Tours / CC BY-SA

State lawmakers have rejected a bill that would have prevented businesses from firing workers who use marijuana outside of the office. KUNC’s Scott Franz has more.

Raleigh Burleigh

Capitol Coverage is a project created by the Rocky Mountain Community Radio coalition (made up of 19 stations in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming) and managed by KUNC in Greeley. Reporter Scott Franz joins KDNK's Gavin Dahl to talk about his second year covering the State Capitol on behalf of the stations who carry his coverage around Colorado.

One of the biggest and most consequential battles of the 2020 legislative session is expected to start this week, once Democrats unveil their latest plan to create a statewide paid family leave program.

The bill's sponsors had to make some big concessions to try and get the measure passed this time around. A year ago, their last effort failed due to opposition from the business community and Gov. Jared Polis.

Tony Eitzel

State lawmakers resume a debate this week on a bill to end the death penalty. As KDNK’s Scott Franz reports, talks in the House will likely be more heated than they were in the Senate..

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Jesse Varner

After 13 hours of testimony, state lawmakers have rejected six bills from Republicans that were heavily criticized by members of the LGBTQ community. KDNK's Scott Franz has more.

Tim Wolf / Wilderness Workshop

 

Dozens of protestors gathered in downtown Denver Tuesday to fight the Trump administration’s effort to scale back a major environmental protection law. KDNK’s Scott Franz has more.

Americans saw the flaws of a presidential caucus this week after vote totals in Iowa were delayed by technical glitches. The complexity of a caucus is one of the reasons why Colorado is back to conducting a primary.

Morgan Carroll, the chairwoman of Colorado's Democratic Party, thinks the switch will have additional benefits.

State lawmakers have been debating a bill that would limit where residents can find a new pet. KDNK’s Scott Franz has more.

As Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic lawmakers wage a war with hospitals over the rising cost of health care in Colorado, many residents like Jamie Harrison are still stuck paying high premiums on the West Slope.

"I think paying $1,700 a month for an insurance policy I don't use is not sustainable," Harrison said last week after finishing a day of skiing in Beaver Creek. "Something has got to give."

One rural community in Colorado was so frustrated with high health insurance costs and government inaction that a few years ago, residents took matters into their own hands.

And their plan worked.

Locals in Summit County found a way around traditional insurance processes to lower local health care costs and save consumers an average of 20 percent on their monthly premiums.

Colorado's legislative session is just over two weeks old, and lawmakers have already introduced more than 270 bills and counting. With hundreds more bills expected to land in the coming weeks, here are some of the ones we are starting to watch at the state Capitol.

When Blondie's Diner closes around 9 p.m. and a table of hunters finish their green chili cheeseburgers and head back to their hotel, the town of Naturita feels a bit like a ghost town.

There are two new marijuana dispensaries still open late with green neon signs, but on a November night at the start of hunting season, not many customers are partaking.

The only sound punctuating through the cold evening is a semi-truck idling in the parking lot of the Rimrocker Hotel, its driver trying to stay warm.

It's a good day when Tammie Delaney hears a train rumbling down the tracks outside of the century-old granary building she owns in Hayden.

"Oh, you get the train noise today!" she shouts as a train whistle pierces the usual silence in the small town of about 2,000 people.

The train whistles are an indicator of the economy in the Yampa Valley.

Gov. Jared Polis recently outlined an ambitious agenda for lawmakers in 2020. He vowed to reduce health care costs, find a solution to the state's road funding woes and get more children into preschool. But some of the governor's priorities will prove to be contentious.

Capitol Coverage reporter Scott Franz sat down with the governor after his State of the State address to talk about some of the hot-button issues that are on the table this legislative session.

The opening days of Colorado's legislative session are typically jovial and largely free of partisan politics. The governor capitalized on that mood during his roughly hour-long speech. After an interruption from a heckler in the gallery shouting, "Ban fracking now!" Polis started with a recap of his first year in office.

There were the usual jokes and friendly banter between the House and Senate.

State lawmakers from both sides of the aisle exchanged hugs in a chamber that felt a bit like a school getting back to work after an eight-month break.

But amidst the pomp and circumstance of the opening day of Colorado's 2020 legislative session, lawmakers also drew some clear battle lines.

Some of the biggest and most contentious laws the state legislature passed this year are going into effect on Wednesday.

Together, the new laws aim to prevent suicides and gun violence, protect hospital patients from unexpected medical bills and give local governments the power to raise their minimum wages higher than the state level.

State Rep. Dylan Roberts (D-Avon) represents two counties on Colorado's Western Slope that face some of the highest health insurance costs in the state. So for his first two years in office, Roberts has been a key player on some of the biggest health care proposals coming out of the Capitol. His latest, which has bipartisan support, would create a new health insurance plan.

Colorado residents have rejected a request from their state legislature to remove an annual government spending limit that some elected officials argued is holding back the state’s roads and schools.

Instead, voters opted to continue getting tax refunds when the state reaches a revenue cap set by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

A tougher set of winter traction rules passed by state lawmakers this year didn’t stop some drivers from getting stuck and snarling traffic on Interstate 70 for several hours Wednesday and Thursday.

Colorado’s oil and gas regulators say they will start putting some drilling applications through a more rigorous review process after a study found people face short term health risks, such as headaches and dizziness, if they are within 2,000 feet of the wells.

The study released Thursday specifically found the health risks occur when a well is being constructed, with the highest risk coming at a time when a process called “flowback” occurs.

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