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John TomasicJohn TomasicMay 18, 201716min40

State House Minority Whip Lori Saine said she had been working on the memorial resolution offered for Bill Armstrong during a joint session of the Legislature on and off for a year. Same with the eulogy she delivered — and she was clearly charged with deep feeling as she read it out to a chamber packed with past and present elected officials. She was speaking Friday, April 28, from the well of the House. Men and women lined the walls, including members of Armstrong’s family.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicMay 10, 20175min1921

The Colorado Open Records Act this year will receive a long-overdue digital-era update after <a href="http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb17-040" target="_blank">Senate Bill 40</a> on Wednesday ended its switchback journey over the entire course of the 120-day legislative session Wednesday, finishing in the Senate with an against-all-odds unanimous vote of support. “No one would have guessed it would receive all 35 votes in the Senate,” said sponsor Sen. John Kefalas, a Democrat from Fort Collins. “I think the bill does move the dial forward in meaningful ways and brings up the window just a tad in granting greater access to records that belong to the people.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicMay 10, 20177min45

<a href="http://capitolsolutionsinc.com/about/" target="_blank">Sandra Hagen Solin</a>, spokesperson for the <a href="https://www.fixcoloradoroads.com/" target="_blank">Fix Colorado Roads</a> economic-development coalition, worked the legislative trenches all year to bring Capitol leaders to a place where they could make a deal to pass a major transportation funding proposal. After months of back and forth, leadership this session brought out House Bill 1242, which failed spectacularly. Critics called it a mess of conflicting impulses and ambitions. Republicans hated it for being centered around a sales tax hike, and few observers on any side of the political spectrum believed that voters would even approve the tax hike if it made it to the ballot -- which made the whole exercise feel academic, like it was a deal and a proposal in theory only.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicMay 9, 20177min530

Let Colorado Vote, the group advocating for open primary elections in the state, celebrated legislative leadership on Monday tied to <a href="https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb17-305" target="_blank">Senate Bill 305</a> in a way that lawmakers involved with the bill suggested was little tied to experience on the ground at the Capitol. “The thousands of grassroots activists who helped enact the open primary law were frankly shocked that legislators would try a blatant end run around the voters,” Let Colorado Vote Vice Chair John Hereford was quoted in an email blast to supporters. “But thanks to the leadership of Senators Hill and Moreno and Governor Hickenlooper, the most egregious provisions of the bill were spiked. There’s still work to do, but the highest principal of [Proposition] 108 is intact — unaffiliated voters have the right to vote in a primary without being forced to affiliate with a political party.”


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John TomasicJohn TomasicMay 8, 201715min1462

Debate inside and outside the Legislature around how to best implement the state’s new voter-approved open primary elections has grown hotter by the hour as the legislative session barrels toward closing day. On Monday, the Senate advanced <a href="https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb17-305" target="_blank">Senate Bill 305</a> to the House. The bill is meant to guide the secretary of state’s office in writing rules this summer for party primary elections that would be held next summer and that would be open for the first time to independent or non-party-affiliated voters — the state’s largest voting bloc. Thirty senators voted in support of the bill and five — all Republicans — voted in opposition.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicMay 5, 20174min820

State Rep. Lori Saine, a Republican who represents constituents rocked by a recent fatal oil and gas industry-related home explosion in Firestone, strongly opposes a bill <a href="https://www.coloradostatesman.com/gas-patch-lawmakers-bring-late-bill-to-map-oil-and-gas-well-flowlines-in-wake-of-firestone-tragedy/" target="_blank">introduced Friday morning</a> that would require the drilling industry to make available well flowline mapping data to regulators and the public.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicMay 2, 201710min1682

Matt Lepore, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, told reporters Tuesday afternoon that it was a "confluence of events" tied to an uncapped line leading to a gas well that led to the fatal home explosion in Firestone April 17. He said that state well inspections and regulations would not necessarily prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future and that authorities, oil and gas operators and no-doubt lawmakers and concerned citizens will engage in "a continuing conversation about what happens next" to reassure concerned residents. "The COGCC inspects about 40,000 wells a year," Lepore said, "I think 49,000 last year... but there is no comprehensive map of [well] flow lines. This flow line was cut relatively close to the home and the fact that it was cut that close and left uncapped matters more than the fact that the home was less than 200 feet from the well."