State Sen. Morgan Carroll: next leader of the state Democratic Party? (David Zalubowski/AP)
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Trending: The 7 hottest Colorado Politics stories of the week

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There was new news this week in the world of Colorado Politics.

By reading our list of the week’s top stories, though, you might not know it.

This week Western Slope legislators expressed their concern that the Front Range is bleeding their portion of the state dry.

A group of addiction experts criticized Gov. John Hickenlooper over his recent remarks regarding teen pot use and the black market.

A centerpiece construction defect bill found itself assigned to a kill committee.

But you, our fair readers, had your minds elsewhere. How do we know? The stats don’t lie. Our two most popular stories this week are, ironically, stories that made headlines last week: a bill that would limit pot home-grows passing its first legislative test, and the filing of a proposal for the “Fix Our Damn Roads” ballot initiative.

Without further ado, here are this weeks — er, um, last week’s? — seven hottest stories.

You’re welcome.

Marijuana PTSD

1) Home-grown marijuana crackdown passes first test in legislature

State lawmakers on Monday advanced a measure that aims at cracking down on the illegal diversion of marijuana.

House Bill 1220 would limit marijuana home grows to 12 plants statewide. Local jurisdictions, including Colorado Springs and Denver, have already limited home grows to 12 plants. But law enforcement felt there should be a statewide standard.



2) Backlash at transportation tax proposal spawns a ballot drive of its own

Hey, how about a ballot issue to upgrade the state’s woefully bottlenecked, backlogged and aging highway network — without raising taxes?

You want it? You got it: The libertarian-leaning Independence Institute in Denver announced it filed a ballot proposal with the state today that would require the General Assembly to issue $2.5 billion in bonds to fund a raft of highway projects statewide — and repay the debt by “reallocating priorities in the state budget.”


West Slope water

The Roaring Fork River, a headwater tributary to the Colorado River. (Post Carbon Institute)

3) West Slope lawmakers: The Front Range is bleeding rivers dry

Seven Western Colorado legislators have a message for Gov. John Hickenlooper, but really it’s for the Front Range: the West Slope is tapped out.

“An abundance of additional West Slope water available to the Front Range is an illusion,” says the letter to Hickenlooper signed by Sens. Randy Baumgardner, Don Coram and Ray Scott, as well as Reps. Marc Catlin, Bob Rankin, Dan Thurlow and Yeulin Willett.


Gov. John Hickenlooper, at a recent Capitol press conference with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. (David Zalubowski/AP)

4) Citing rising teen use, drug cartels, addiction experts chide Hick over pot remarks

As Colorado pols circle the wagons against potential federal encroachment on the state’s legal marijuana culture, a group of nationally prominent addiction experts who are legalization critics have called out Gov. John Hickenlooper over his recent assertions that teen pot use hasn’t risen in the state and that the black market has shrunk.

The letter references remarks the governor made on a Feb. 26 airing of NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press.”


Will lawmakers come up with an acceptable bill to reform construction-defects liability? (

5) Centerpiece construction defect bill assigned to kill committee

The hammer appears to have come down on a centerpiece construction defect bill after the measure was assigned to a so-called “kill committee” in the House.

But the likely demise of Senate Bill 156 opens the door for the development of a new construction defect effort, which is coming in the form of fresh legislation.

Colorado political activist Matt Arnold: Crtics say his serial court actions make him more attack dog than watchdog.

6) A GOP gadfly fights reform of a campaign law that many say has run amok

Not long ago, libertarian-leaning Reason magazine ran an expose of Colorado’s convoluted campaign-finance law and how it invites abuse by those who manipulate it to clobber — and silence — their political foes. We blogged on the article at the time, noting its focus on controversial Colorado political operative Matt Arnold and his business, Campaign Integrity Watchdog, as Exhibit A.

The article characterized Arnold essentially as a serial complainant who files pretextual and vindictive actions over minor clerical errors found in the campaign disclosures of candidates and other entities covered by the campaign-finance law. The actions are often filed at the last possible moment. That runs up the meter on the fines — not to mention legal fees — that the targets must fork over. The law has no screening process for such complaints, Reason points out; it’s come one, come all. And all must be turned over, indiscriminately, to the Office of Administrative Courts to sort out.


State Sen. Morgan Carroll: next leader of the state Democratic Party? (David Zalubowski/AP)

7) Morgan Carroll elected chair of Colorado Democrats as party rebuilds

Former state Sen. Morgan Carroll of Aurora was elected Saturday to be the next leader of Colorado Democrats.

Surrounded by dozens of supporters on a stage in a downtown Denver hotel conference room, Carroll appeared to bridge progressive and establishment ends of the party.



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