Colorado politics Archives - Page 2 of 96 - Colorado Politics
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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 13, 20183min51693

State Rep. Paul Rosenthal and Sen. Lois Court think plastic bags can help fund affordable housing.

The bill, if passed, would refer a measure onto the ballot to ask Colorado voters to approve a tax on plastic bags from the supermarket. The tax would be a quarter, the same amount whether the customer at the checkout counter uses one bag or several. The proceeds would go to grants and loans to local governments and building contractors to build or retain affordable housing in Colorado.

The text of House Bill 1054 can be read by clicking here.

Compared to runaway housing prices, the bag tax comparably is a small price to pay, The tax, they project, could raise $50 million a year.

“No matter where I go or who I talk to, the sky-high cost of housing is the number one concern that I hear,” Rosenthal said in a statement.

Court said, “Even with the construction of a large number of new condos, the leases are expensive and not bringing down the cost of housing in the city,” she said. “We see many areas of the state dealing with this issue—it’s not just the Denver metro area.”

As a bonus, the tax would encourage the use of reusable or paper bags and raise awareness of plastic bag waste in Colorado.

“Plastic bags pollute and litter our environment, plus they’re an eyesore and they don’t biodegrade,” Rosenthal said. “We have to be far more aggressive when it comes to curbing our daily waste, which only adds to the mountainous heaps of garbage that currently litter our state.”

Several Colorado cities already tax plastic bags, “proof that the system works in the state,” according to Rosenthal.

Boulder passed a 10-cent fee on all disposable paper and plastic bags and reduced in 2013, and the next year bag use dropped 69 percent in the city, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.

The bill carves out exemptions for restaurants and those eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 13, 20185min269
State Rep. Brittany Pettersen was pleased after Gov. John Hickenlooper finished his State of the State address Thursday. He, Senate President Kevin Grantham and House Speaker Crisanta Duran agreed with her: Something must be done about Colorado’s opioid abuse epidemic. Each of the leaders made finding answers a priority. “We really have all of our […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 12, 20189min159
Gov. John Hickenlooper Marijuana: “We were the first state to legalize recreational marijuana while creating a roadmap for other states. By the way — we’re not wild about Washington telling us what’s best for us. We expect the federal government will respect the will of Colorado voters.” Laurels: “[W]e can’t rest on our laurels. As […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 12, 20183min6010

Democrat Barrett Rothe jumped in the state House District 43 race this week to unseat Republican incumbent Kevin Van Winkle in the Highlands Ranch district.

Rothe is a healthcare industry consultant who is unopposed, so far, in the Democratic primary. Unity Party candidate Scott Wagner also is in the race. Wagner ran as a Democrat last year and got 39.4 percent against Van Winkle, the highest total for a Democrat since Van Winkle was elected to his first two-year term in 2014.

Rothe ran as an unaffiliated candidate for the state Senate District 14 seat in Fort Collins in 2012, a race won by current incumbent John Kefalas, a Democrat.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to connect with voters over the next year,” Rothe said in a statement. “The people in Highlands Ranch deserve a thoughtful debate and a representative that will work for families and small-businesses, not the fringe groups that control their politicians today.”

Rothe called the March 6 caucuses his first test.

“We’re going to work hard to get people to the caucuses,” he said, “Democrats and Republicans are frustrated across the country, none more so than Colorado, and we want everyone in our district to take their frustrations to the caucuses in March, the primaries in June, and then the ballot in November.”

He noted that unaffiliated voters, the stage’s largest bloc, will be allowed to cast ballots in the June primary for the first time, and that favors moderate candidates.

“Both parties would be wise to rethink their strategies in our state,” he stated. “House District 43 in particular is ground zero for frustrated, moderate voters getting hit hardest by the anti-middle class policies coming from Washington, D.C. It’s going to be a year worth watching the seats taken for granted by Republicans.”

Rothe has an undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado and a master’s in public administration from the University of Colorado Denver. He and his wife, Annelise, own a floral company in Highlands Ranch.

He also has a great website.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 11, 20183min487
The Colorado Skill Games & Entertainment Association, a trade group for the arcade industry, is keeping the public relations heat on law enforcement over Front Range raids at seven small businesses last summer, where authorities alleged games were gambling devices. Through open-records requests, the association says it found disparities in how the law is carried […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 11, 20183min90
Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director for the National Federation of Independent Business since 2005, knows Colorado Politics, so he’s a reliable source on what Gov. John Hickenlooper’s last State of the State address might sound like. The governor is term-limited after eight years, so now is the time for him to start penning his legacy […]

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Gabrielle BryantGabrielle BryantJanuary 11, 20183min5860

As the legislative session started Wednesday you could feel the excitement and anxiety in both chambers. Priorities were laid out for the next 119 days, including working to improve Colorado’s roads, addressing a projected shortfall in state employees’ pension system, expanding rural broadband accessibility, tackling energy, solving the state’s opioid crisis and ensuring men and women who work at the Capitol feel protected and feel heard amid looming allegations of sexual misconduct.

Simultaneously, the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus, known as the “Historic Eight,” the largest number of black legislators to serve in Colorado at once, is also working on policy more specifically aimed at the advancement of people of color. The contingent is prioritizing education, small business creation, housing affordability and the criminal justice system.

Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora
Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, discusses issues that disproportionately affect Coloradans of color. (Photo by Gabrielle Bryant/Colorado Politics)

“This legislative session will be pivotal to Colorado’s future as we believe what we do in the general assembly will have impacts on this year’s election,” said Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, the vice chairman of the caucus. “It’s important that the issues plaguing African-Americans across our state are not ignored and that our vote is not taken for granted.”

While they make up 8 percent of the legislature, black Coloradans are a mere 4.5 percent of the population, and voter turnout for this demographic has been consistently low in recent elections.

Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver, who chairs the BDLC, said the group has hired a staff member to aid them in introducing policy and to “keep an eye out for legislation that might appear to be inequitable to our communities of color.”

Specific legislation details are expected to be rolled out in the in the coming days, as lawmakers formally introduce bills.

The BDLC’s annual legislative preview will take place on Jan. 22 on the third floor of the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood.

Besides Melton and Williams. the caucus includes Sens. Rhonda Fields of Aurora and Reps. James Coleman of Denver, Leslie Herod of Denver, Tony Exum Sr. of Colorado Springs, Janet Buckner of Aurora and Dominique Jackson of Denver.

(Editor’s note: This story was corrected to reflect that Jovan Melton is from Aurora.)