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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 15, 20183min1780

The Colorado House Republicans announced its committee assignments Friday. As the minority party in the chamber, the caucus controls no committee chairmanships or majorities.

Here are the assignments:

House Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Committee

  • Jon Becker, ranking member
  • Perry Buck
  • Marc Catlin
  • Kimmi Lewis
  • Hugh McKean
  • Lori Saine

House Appropriations Committee

  • Bob Rankin, ranking member
  • Jon Becker
  • Susan Beckman
  • Justin Everett
  • Patrick Neville

House Business Affairs and Labor Committee

  • Lang Sias, ranking member
  • Larry Liston
  • Shane Sandridge
  • Dan Thurlow
  • Kevin Van Winkle
  • Dave Williams

House Education Committee

  • Jim Wilson, ranking member
  • Justin Everett
  • Tim Leonard
  • Paul Lundeen
  • Judy Reyher
  • Lang Sias

House Finance Committee

  • Kevin Van Winkle, ranking member
  • Susan Beckman
  • Phil Covarrubias
  • Polly Lawrence
  • Shane Sandridge
  • Dan Thurlow

House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee

  • Susan Beckman, ranking member
  • Phil Covarrubias
  • Stephen Humphrey
  • Lois Landgraf
  • Kim Ransom
  • Jim Wilson

House Judiciary Committee

  • Yeulin Willett, ranking member
  • Terri Carver
  • Paul Lundeen
  • Cole Wist

House Local Government Committee

  • Kim Ransom, ranking member
  • Larry Liston
  • Hugh McKean
  • Judy Reyher
  • Dan Thurlow
  • Jim Wilson

House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee

  • Lois Landgraf, ranking member
  • Susan Beckman
  • Marc Catlin
  • Justin Everett
  • Hugh McKean
  • Kim Ransom

House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee

  • Stephen Humphrey, ranking member
  • Tim Leonard
  • Dave Williams

House Transportation and Energy Committee

  • Polly Lawrence, ranking member
  • Jon Becker
  • Perry Buck
  • Terri Carver
  • Kimmi Lewis

Legislative Audit Committee

  • Lori Saine
  • Tim Leonard

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Associated PressAssociated PressJanuary 12, 201811min474

BOISE — A giant chunk of central Idaho with a dazzling night sky has become the nation's first International Dark Sky Reserve. The International Dark-Sky Association designated the 1,400-square-mile Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve. The sparsely populated area's night skies are so pristine that interstellar dust clouds are visible in the Milky Way.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 7, 20185min996

State Senate President Kevin Grantham faces term limits after the next session, but he plays off questions about his political ambitions, assuming he has any.

With the legislative session set to begin Wednesday, he prefers to talk about transportation, fixing state employees’ retirement plans, protecting the energy industry and handing off leadership to another Republican majority in November.

“I’ve got plenty to worry about for the next four months,” he said in an interview at the Waffle Wagon restaurant in Canon City.

And after the session?

“I’ve got four grandkids here in town, so that will keep me plenty busy,” he said.

Until he bangs the gavel in mid-May to close the session, Grantham’s chief concerns are those that face every Coloradan, he said.

Last year, his first as Senate president, Grantham came in ready to make deals. He co-sponsored a bill with Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran that would have asked voters to decide on a sales tax increase for transportation. Ultimately Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee killed the bill, because of the tax hike.

“I think they don’t want to talk about roads,” Grantham said of Democrats. “They want to hold roads hostage for their precious transit. I tried to strike a deal last year that would take care of both. I couldn’t get that across the finish line.

“But we still have to deal with the crisis that is roads right now. I’m still willing to sit down and talk to these folks, but when you have a gift (the expected revenue surplus) all packaged up for ya that is the $100 million, $200 million, whatever, not counting the potential savings coming in from the Washington, D.C., tax cuts and the surplus we might see from that, if it doesn’t happen now under these circumstances, then when?”

He also expects an offense and defense around the energy issue again this session. Energy development promises to be one of the questions candidates will encounter this year. Senate Republicans are siding with the industry, which faces enough regulations, they contend.

Sen. Matt Jones of Louisville, the Democratic caucus leader on environmental issues, is promising bills to give local communities more say-so in regulating future oil and gas wells. Those bills will die before a Republican-led committee, guaranteed.

“We like cars that drive, we like homes that get heated and it’s an important industry for everyone in this state — not just the economy but the practical aspect of what the industry does for us — so the constant barrage of attacks on them will be met with that in mind,” Grantham said.

Republicans will again try to shift the focus of a reauthorized Colorado Energy Office from renewable energy to promote all forms of power equally. A partisan intense debate left the office without funding last session.

“We’ll probably run something similar to what we had last year,” Grantham said.

He has some agreement with John Hickenlooper, the Democratic governor. In his budget proposal for next year, Hickenlooper asks state employees to pay more into their pensions to help fill in a shortfall the fund faces over the next 30 years.

The Public Employees Retirement Association wants taxpayers to chip in on the gap, as well.

“I think the governor’s solutions or recommendations are an improvement over what PERA recommended,” Grantham said. “I think at the end of the day if we end up only with the governor’s suggestions, we’re better off.
“We haven’t fixed it, but we’re better off. But you might see some more bold suggestions coming from members of our caucus, but this is all part of the legislative process.”


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 7, 20185min442
Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran, 37, is ending her House career at an age when many lawmakers are barely getting started. In the last two years, Duran’s national profile has risen dramatically, even before becoming the state’s first Latina speaker of the house. She won the Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award in March 2016 from […]

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