Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 18, 20184min211

State Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, is calling for Gov. John Hickenlooper's help on two projects dead to Democrats and internet users, especially in rural Colorado. Donovan's office shared a letter she the governor Thursday. She said that when Republicans members of the Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama administration rule that all websites and traffic be treated equally, they tilted the playing field against most Coloradans.


Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandMarch 12, 20186min375
After years of frustration over slow or non-existent broadband service in rural Colorado, the General Assembly is poised to move at the speed of fiber optic to finally connect rural communities, and economic opportunity, to the Internet. In the past week, another measure that would make high-speed broadband service possible for rural schools, homes and […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 7, 20185min246
Neither is a cure-all for what ails the Western Slope in terms of broadband internet and water, but two bills passed by the Colorado House Tuesday could be an incremental pick-me-up. The bipartisan House Bill 1099 could possibly start a turf war between bidders who might expand broadband internet into underserved areas of the state […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandFebruary 16, 20186min293
Driving along the 65-mile Alpine Loop through four southwestern Colorado counties — San Miguel, San Juan, Ouray and Hinsdale — is a breathtaking experience. The former mule trail is now a one-lane county road where parts are not for the faint of heart and is best navigated with off-road vehicles. The road and beauty alongside it […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandJanuary 23, 20183min3310

The first bill in the legislative session from Democratic Rep. Barbara McLachlan of Durango won unanimous approval Monday from the House Finance Committee.

House Bill 1048 allows Fort Lewis College trustees to use the revenues derived from the Old Fort at Hesperus property, the original site of the college, without the additional step of seeking legislative approval.

The legislation is co-sponsored with Republican Sen. Don Coram of Montrose.

The property is now used for a variety of purposes, such as long-term cattle grazing and as part of the operations for the King coal mine. Cattle-grazing brings in between $12,000 and $24,000 per year; the mine brings in about $6,000 per year. The account, according to a fiscal analysis, now holds about $850,000.

The fund was originally supposed to be used to pay for Native American tuition waivers, although that has never happened and the account just continues to grow. Another state law, unaffected by HB 1048, requires the General Assembly to use general funds (income and sales taxes, for example) to pay for the tuition and the General Assembly has historically covered 100 percent of those costs.

The bill still allows the college to use those dollars for Native American tuition, if it chooses to do so.

Currently, there’s another step that the State Land Board, which manages the property, and the Fort Lewis trustees, have to go through, and that’s to get permission from the General Assembly every year to spend the money that goes into the Hesperus account.

HB 1048 takes the General Assembly out of the equation. McLachlan told the House Finance Committee Monday that the Hesperus property “is a wonderful part of Fort Lewis College.” She said the property provides hands-on education for the community, such as giving young people an opportunity to learn about farming and cattle.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.


Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandJanuary 10, 20183min2570

With the 2018 legislative session now underway, a few lawmakers are taking on new responsibilities. That includes Rep. Barbara McLachlan, a Durango Democrat.

McLachlan this week was named vice-chair of the House Transportation Committee. She replaces fellow Democrat Rep. Faith Winter of Westminster, who is now the committee’s chair. Winter replaced Democratic Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush of Steamboat Springs, who resigned her House seat to run for the Third Congressional District seat currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez.

According to a Wednesday statement from Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran of Denver, committee leadership positions are rarely awarded to first-term lawmakers. McLachlan is starting her second year in the state House.

“It’s an honor to be selected,” McLachlan said. “Transportation and energy are critically important issues in my district, and as vice-chair of the Transportation & Energy Committee I will work to ensure that rural areas of Colorado are not overlooked.”

Duran and Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham of Canon City both identified transportation as top priorities for the 2018 session. The top priority bill of the Senate Republicans, known as Senate Bill 18-001, intends to ask voters for permission use existing state dollars to obtain bonds for a portion of the state’s $20 billion transportation wishlist. The bonds would use about $300 million per year in state revenues.

Grantham told the Colorado Senate during his opening day speech Wednesday that “there isn’t a Republican or Democrat way to fill a pothole, but I’d argue there is a Colorado way, and that’s if we do it together.” However, Senate Bill 1 is sponsored solely by Republicans, which could spell trouble if and when the measure heads over to the Democratic-controlled House.

Last month, the governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting revealed the state would have surplus revenue heading into the 2018-19 fiscal year. The initial bump is expected to be about $200 million more in individual income taxes, a result of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Tipton supported. Shortly thereafter, Gov. John Hickenlooper revised his 2018-19 budget request to devote $148 million of that surplus to transportation funding.

Hickenlooper is expected to address transportation funding during his State of the State address on Thursday.


Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 9, 201810min212
Although the Colorado General Assembly usually sees the most fervent action late in its sessions, state Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, and state Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, are gearing up for opening day on Wednesday in Denver. The state Senate is divided 18-17, with Republicans holding a single-seat advantage, and the state House of Representatives is […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 12, 20175min1130
Here’s something I bet you haven’t heard anywhere else: The Colorado House and Senate each could flip next year. OK, maybe you’ve heard half that. The Republicans hold just a one-seat edge in the 35-member Senate, which will see 17 seats on the ballot next year. But the House? Democrats enjoy a nine-seat majority in […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Ernest LuningErnest LuningJune 26, 20178min228

A group of liberal advocacy organizations for the first time released combined legislative scorecards this week, conglomerating assessments of the 100 Colorado lawmakers’ votes last session on key legislation the organizations said they plan to present to voters next year. A Republican who received among the lowest overall scores, however, dismissed the endeavor as a “political stunt” and told Colorado Politics he doubts the predictable rankings — Democrats good, Republicans bad — give voters any meaningful information.