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Jakob Rodgers, The GazetteJakob Rodgers, The GazetteFebruary 3, 20186min467
Sixty-nine people sought prescriptions to end their lives last year under Colorado’s new aid-in-dying law, and 50 of them reportedly picked up the lethal drugs from a pharmacist. The figures from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment offer the first glimpse into how often Coloradans put the new law to use after voters […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchDecember 7, 20175min507
Sen. Matt Jones of Louisville said Wednesday he plans to introduce a bill in the next session to give local governments more authority to “plan, zone, and refuse to allow oil and gas operations as they see fit — just as they do with every other industry.” Though Jones is the Senate Democrats’ appointed leader […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJune 29, 20173min296

The Los Angeles Times published a story this week that says California’s 6-month-old aid-in-dying law has allowed 111 terminally ill people to end their lives. That stands in stark contrast to what we know about Colorado’s new law, which took effect in December.

The advocacy group Compassion & Choices told Colorado Politics it knew of only about 10 people who had used the option, but the information was anecdotal. Our subscribers had access to our deep dive into the issue last weekend online in a cover story for our Statesman magazine titled “Aid in dying: Terminally ill Coloradans can choose to live or die under new law.”

Some but not all of the discrepancy can be explained by population. California is a state of nearly 30 million people. Colorado has about 5.6 million and Oregon about 4 million.

Oregon had 16 in 1998, the year its Death with Dignity Act took effect.  Last year, 203 Oregonians requested the medication, and 133 people died, according to the state health department’s annual report.

Colorado voters passed Proposition 106 last November by a 2 to 1 margin, but the law doesn’t provide the kind of reporting California and Oregon have. Those who petitioned the measure onto the ballot thought those who make a private decision shouldn’t be a definite statistic.

A report on the new Colorado law isn’t due until the end of the year, but the state Department of Public Health and Environment won’t know exactly how many people died. The department can chart the number of prescriptions written, but death certificates will still note the person’s terminal illness.

About 1 in 3 people who get the prescription don’t exercise the option, based on Oregon’s two decades of data.

The Los Angeles Times story said 191 prescriptions had been written, yielding the 111 deaths.

“Though California is far more diverse than Oregon, the majority of those who have died under aid-in-dying laws in both states were white, college-educated cancer patients older than 60,” the article said.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 20, 20174min1606

We are supposed to be on top of these things. Alas. Here we are, just now reporting that Colorado’s third woman lieutenant governor — she was the first Republican woman to have held that office — went to Washington last month to become director of intergovernmental and external affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Yup, another Coloradan joins the Trump administration.

Jane Norton served as lieutenant governor during Republican former Gov. Bill Owens’s second term, from January 2003 to January 2007. She served Owens in his first term as his director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She went on to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 in a high-profile Republican primary, narrowly losing that race to Ken Buck, who in turn lost the general election to current Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. Norton is married to a former U.S. attorney, Mike Norton.

So, we were asleep at the switch. In our defense, we could find no mention of Jane Norton’s appointment via any other Colorado media, either; it was reported in brief by Beltway-insider Politico.

The pro-life, socially conservative Norton’s selection has not gone unnoticed by her philosophical foes, though. Rewire, a pro-abortion rights website that covers and comments on reproductive rights and related issues, had this to say about Norton in a post last month with the headline, “Trump’s HHS Won’t Stop Adding Anti-Choice Extremists“:

Norton’s record appears to be the most extreme on abortion rights …

During her failed bid for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Norton became the first candidate to ever receive the endorsement of anti-choice legislation mill Americans United for Life …

Norton began waging a war on Planned Parenthood in the late 1990s. Under her leadership, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment moved to ban organizations providing abortion care from receiving state funding.

Meanwhile, yet another Colorado Republican has joined Team Trump in D.C. — also at HHS — and she’s a close comrade of Norton’s. As reported by Politico, Lynn Johnson, the chief exec of the Jefferson County Department of Human Services, has been tapped to become assistant secretary for family support at HHS.

Johnson had served as chief of staff to Norton when Norton was lieutenant governor.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 7, 20173min276
iStock image / maxsattana

 

… what other state agencies might have a similarly freewheeling approach with the public’s checkbook. So surmises conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics.

ColoradoPolitics.com’s Peter Marcus reported earlier this week on a state audit that found none of the $1.9 million in incentives awarded to film projects shot in Colorado had met all the criteria for the subsidies. Marcus writes that the audit “identified $129,000 for projects that did not qualify for incentives and another $1.8 million for projects for which the Office of Film, Television, and Media ‘lacked documentation to substantiate they qualified.'”

Peak Politics pounces upon the findings to propose a list of other worthy prospects for an audit. Some of the suggested targets are among the usual suspects — and regular whipping boys — for those on the right side of the political fence:

  • Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing
  • Connect for Health Colorado
  • Colorado Department of Education
  • Colorado Energy Office
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Some of targets are repeat offenders and invite follow-up scrutiny by the lights of Republicans and conservatives. For example, Health Care Policy and Financing (you may know it as “HickPuff”; no relation to the guv), which manages Medicaid for the state; Peak notes a 2016 audit found some Medicaid recipients were ineligible but not removed from the rolls.

And then there’s the Energy Office, much unloved by Republicans who are ever wary of the office’s original green-energy-promoting mandate. Peak observes:

This is the office that lost like $200 million a few years ago. The state auditor just finished up an audit in January, but for the love of God, you lose $200 million, you should be audited always.