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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 21, 20174min398
The Colorado Civil Justice League cited breakthrough tort-reform legislation this year as it honored 55 of the legislature’s 100 members Friday at the Four Seasons hotel in Denver. “Common sense in the courtroom requires justice for those who have been wronged, balanced by fairness for those who may be wrongfully accused,” CCJL executive director Mark […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 28, 201711min559

Legislative efforts to reform the state’s laws on construction liability — “construction defects” was the buzz phrase — became one of the dominant themes of the 2017 session at the State Capitol. The seemingly obscure issue also became the focus of intense media coverage. After all, the end game mattered a lot to ordinary Coloradans: to build more homes that first-time buyers and others of modest means actually could afford in the state’s superheated housing market.

What didn’t get a lot of coverage was one of the key players who helped forge the resulting legislation: the point man for the state’s homebuilding industry. That would be Scott Smith, the subject of today’s Q&A. He has been the CEO of the Colorado Association of Homebuilders for the past three years and is a veteran homebuilder himself with over 30 years of experience managing master-planned community development in Colorado Springs. He was the 1995 president of the state association and has served on its Governmental Affairs Committee for several years. So, he knows his way around the legislative world. A Colorado native and a certified public accountant by training, Smith also served as a director of the National Association of Home Builders.

Colorado Politics: Prior to your tenure, there were some challenges at the CAHB, causing some to form another group. What key changes and decisions helped stabilize the association and keep it as the leading voice for the state’s homebuilders?

Scott Smith: The stabilization of CAHB came primarily from solid leadership from the association’s officers.  Strong engagement and support from all ten of the local association executive officers (particularly Colorado Springs and Metro Denver), a very supportive and active board of directors and the engagement of two prominent lobbyists were all key.  We also had strong support from the individual boards and board members of the local associations from across the state.

CP: Has the organization maintained its base and mission, and how does it look moving forward?

SS: Our mission is taking the lead as the voice of the nearly 2,000-member strong Colorado Association of Home Builders and the housing industry at the state capitol.  The Association’s structure is rooted in representation from all ten local associations, including the Metro Denver, Colorado Springs, Northern Colorado and Pueblo HBAs on the Front Range; and the Grand Junction, Durango, Summit County, Grand County, Glenwood Springs and Cortez chapters on the Western Slope. CAHB has not shirked its responsibilities and has actively engaged in legislative policy review and participation through the activities of its Governmental Affairs Committee and the association’s influential lobbying team.  There is no shortage of issues ahead, and the Association is positioned and equipped to tackle them.  The future CEO will have a solid, functional and supported organization to lead.

CP: We’ve heard you are taking on a new challenge in the private sector and will be leaving CAHB’s executive staff and joining the board. What’s ahead for you?

SS: I will be joining ProTerra Properties LLC, a real estate development, investment and management company based in Monument, with interests across the Front Range.  I have been very engaged in the housing industry for the better part of my career in the development of master planned communities in Colorado Springs, but also in leadership at the Colorado Springs HBA, CAHB and at the national level with NAHB.  I intend to remain engaged as a CAHB board member and a member of the Governmental Affairs Committee into the future, continuing to lend my knowledge and expertise on key issues and policy development.

CP: CAHB was a major part of the coalition working on construction-defects legislation. What are your thoughts about the process, recent legislation and what it all means for creating more entry-level housing in Colorado?

SS: CAHB has been a member of the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance for the past few years, working cooperatively with other associations and groups, legislative leadership and legislators, and local governments to identify solutions to this vexing problem.  The result of past legislation, the evolving litigation environment and investment decision-making all led to a point that condo developers and investors simply avoided developing new projects due to the risk factors.  Positive steps occurred in 2017 with the passage of House Bill 1279 and more significantly the Colorado Supreme Court decision on the Vallagio case.  Hopefully, these two developments will change risk calculations enough to encourage condo development, particularly at the workforce housing level of the overall housing spectrum.  I remain hopeful that these efforts will be successful.

CP: What do you see as the biggest policy or political challenge ahead for the state’s homebuilding industry?

SS: In short, maintaining an environment where the industry can meet the expanding housing demand that is a result of very solid economic growth.  The housing industry plays a key role in the economy by increasing the supply of housing to meet this demand.  There is not a single challenge ahead, but an array of significant challenges, not the least is complete misunderstanding of homebuilding and the role it plays in the economy.  Housing costs have skyrocketed in the past few years as a result of a number of factors including: an ever-expanding set of fees and taxes; regulatory compliance that adds up to 25% or more of the end home cost; increased litigation risks; labor shortages and costs; land availability and costs; building code improvements and the associated costs; and construction-finance challenges.  There are also several issues on the national stage that have not helped, including the recent lumber tariffs that have added more than $3,500 in added costs to an average new home.  The typical legislative response is to simply add more costs, fees and rules, and regulations to the process—then decry the affordable-housing problem.  The Association will participate in the process to find solutions to these problems and to educate decision-makers on the impacts.

CP: Just as Colorado keeps growing, efforts to halt the growth through legislation and the ballot box never seem to be far behind. Most recently, a longtime growth-control advocate filed a statewide ballot proposal calling for a growth cap, and similar measures are afoot in Lakewood. How has the homebuilding industry’s strategy evolved in responding to such challenges? What message will you convey to the public to counter calls for growth control?

SS: Price controls, rationing and limitations are government responses to exasperating problems, ignoring the power and creativity of the private sector.  I can’t think of an instance in which artificial limitations have worked or made things better; they are rife with unintended consequences.  I mostly think about shortages, cost increases and delays that will lead to bigger problems like economic stagnation, dislocation, homelessness and other housing maladies.  I understand the frustration with increased traffic, but we are adding per capita miles traveled at a faster pace than population growth.  Colorado has simply not kept pace with transportation needs for a very long time, and the problem is now acute.  Population growth is also a hot topic, but don’t forget that nearly 70,000 babies were born in Colorado last year.  Back in 2000, 64,000 kids were born in Colorado and are now high school seniors.  Approval of limits or moratoriums is telling our own kids that you are not welcome here, move away to earn your living unless you have a very lucrative career. Is that what we want?

CP: You were a prominent homebuilder and land developer yourself for many years in the Pikes Peak region. What would your advice be to someone starting out in the industry today?

SS: Housing is a very important aspect of both the economy and the unique American culture and fabric.  In and around “home” is where the important events in our lives occur.  Solving the challenges around creating homes for people and families on all points along the housing spectrum has become much more complex.  Maintaining quality, value and a sense of place are all very important aspects, but delivering a new home to people no matter what walks of life they are in is a very worthy and satisfying endeavor.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 19, 20173min213

The state’s chamber of commerce and statewide voice of Colorado Business, the Colorado Association of of Commerce and Industry, offers a worthy complement to ColoradoPolitics.com’s own news coverage of legislative and court actions to rein in the litigation that is believed to have constricted the state’s housing stock.

As our Joey Bunch pointed out in a particularly insightful “Insights” column the other day, heralded legislation passed in the 2017 session, as well as a key ruling earlier this month by the Colorado Supreme Court, hold the promise of encouraging Colorado builders to get back in the game with the construction of more affordable condos — but there are no guarantees.

The basic calculus of those who have been pushing for reform for years is that by reducing the likelihood of lawsuits by homeowners associations against builders over construction defects — routing the parties instead toward less costly arbitration to fix flaws — builders’ insurance premiums will fall. That is supposed to coax the builders back into the market for new condos and townhomes that appeal to first-time buyers and those of modest means.

All of which could mean a badly needed infusion of affordable housing after years of soaring real estate prices. So, will it actually work out that way?

A lot of dots have to be connected for that to happen, and CACI’s latest Capitol Report newsletter seems to acknowledge as much:

The effect of HB-1279 and the Court’s ruling on the construction of new condos will take time to determine.

First, however, will insurers reduce policy premiums enough to persuade developers that it is worth taking the risk to build condos again?

Whether or not developers then convert existing apartments to condos or planned apartment projects to condo projects or launch new condo projects will be the intense focus of public officials at state and local government levels, the business community and prospective homeowners.

CACI and the rest of us will be watching.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJune 11, 20176min269

This week’s Colorado political news touched on a little bit of everything, seemingly: a new state party, a career opportunity for a high court justice, shoddy construction and cops’ rewards for crime busting.

These are the Colorado Politics stories our staff thinks you’ll be hearing more about in the weeks, months and years to come:

 

Unity Party founder Bill Hammons (Photo courtesy Hammons via Facebook)
Unity Party founder Bill Hammons (Photo courtesy Hammons via Facebook)

5. Welcome to the party, Unitarians

Incremental though it may be, it’s always history when a new political party officially joins the fray.  Colorado Politics’ All-Night Party has never made the cut. This week, however, the Unity Party of Colorado cleared the 1,000-member hurdle to be an officially sanctioned minor party in the state. Unity joints the Libertarian Party, the Green Party and the American Constitution Party. Maybe if Colorado Politics gets a band for the All-Night Party, we can get a thousand members.

Read the full story here.

 

Transportation
(Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)

4. Fix It Colorado won’t put it on the ballot

One of the few remaining groups still thinking about asking voters for a new tax to fund much-needed transportation projects in Colorado in November said this week they won’t do it this year. The coalition of contractors like their odds better in 2018. Meanwhile, the Independence Institute could still ask voters to force lawmakers to address major interstates in the existing state budget.

Read the full story here.

 

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3. Hick sides with lawmakers on police disclosure

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed surprisingly controversial legislation to press law enforcement on publicly disclosing all the proceeds and assets they collect in civil cases. Law enforcement uniformly fought the bill, saying it was arbitrary and could endanger important sources of federal money they receive.

Read the full story here.

 

construction defects
(Jay Pickthorn/The Argus Leader via the Associated Press)

2. Supremes side with the builders

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that when a builder and a homeowners association sign a contract, the HOA members can’t vote to change it. The issue could have log legs in determining how construction defects deals are struck and enforced.

Read the full story here.

 

In this Nov. 19, 2016, file photo, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison H. Eid speaks in a discussion during the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention in Washington.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

1. Colorado Justice Allison Eid nominated to federal bench

An 11-year member of the state’s highest court, Allison Eid would be the first woman to serve on the 10th U.S. Court of Appeals, which hears cases from Colorado and a bunch of other Western states. Whether it was a consolation nod or not, she still has to get through the U.S. Senate, and Sen. Michael Bennet of Denver could play a pivotal role.

Read the full story here.


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Rachael WrightRachael WrightJune 8, 20178min257

Thirty Years Ago this Week in The Colorado Statesman … Elie Wiesel and Emil Hecht received honorary degrees in Humane Letters from the University of Denver at “A Triumph of Conscience” dinner which was attended by 1,400 distinguished eventgoers. Dr. Dwight Smith, Chancellor of the University of Denver, said the honors were bestowed on “two whose contributions to the welfare of humanity surpass our ability to ...


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJune 5, 20174min720
Construction defects
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

 

The Colorado Supreme Court told plaintiffs in a lawsuit over alleged construction defects that they can’t change the rules, because binding arbitration is, well, binding.

In a decision announced Monday, the state’s high court ruled 5-2 in favor of Metro Homes, the builder being sued by Vallagio at Inverness Residential Condo Association, the development of condominiums and restaurants south of the Tech Center in Arapahoe County.

The full ruling can be found here.

The Supreme Court upheld a 2015 Court of Appeals ruling, which had overturned a decision from Denver District Court that sided with the condo association.

More than two-thirds of the Villagio residents voted in 2013 to remove the 6-year-old arbitration clause from their agreement, but without the builder joining into that deal.  The association then sued Metro.

The builder objected, citing the binding arbitration clause in its agreement on construction defects disputes. To change that agreement, Metro alleged the association needed its consent. The majority on the Supreme Court agreed.

Colorado lawmakers have wrestled with construction litigation in each of the last four sessions. Attempts to require binding arbitration have come and gone each year, including this year’s Senate Bill 156, which passed the Republican-led Senate and was killed on a party-line vote by Democrats on a House committee in April.

Lawmakers, instead, passed legislation that would require the majority of residents in a homeowner’s association — and not just to board — to agree to sue, and only after a meeting with the builder to try to work out a compromise. Residents also would be informed about the cost of a lawsuit and its effect on their ability to sell or refinance while the suit is pending. The governor signed it into law on May 23.

House Bill 1279, however, stops short of binding arbitration.

Build Our Homes Right, a Colorado group that pushed back on legislative efforts to curb residents ability to sue, said the ruling amounted to giving developers “permanent veto power” over members of a homeowners’ association.

“Honestly, I feel sucker-punched right now because I’ve always thought the court system was here to protect citizens’ basic legal rights,” Jonathan Harris, chairman of Build Our Homes Right, said in a statement about the ruling. “The court just decided that deep pocketed developers have the right to steamroll over homeowners in order to shirk their responsibility for producing shoddy homes.”

Colorado Politics reached out to Palumbo Lawyers, which represented Metro Homes, and is awaiting an interview or a statement. This story will be updated if that happens.



ColoradoPolitics.comMay 15, 201713min304

The Colorado legislature adjourned on Wednesday, and the afterglow shines a light on what exactly happened in the 120 days that lawmakers quarreled under the gold dome in Denver.

Counting down the hits, here are the 10 things you should know about what just happened:

 

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Jeanette Vizguerra, a Mexican immigrant who has lived in a church to avoid immigration authorities for the past three months, smiles after leaving the church early Friday in downtown Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

10 — Sanctuary cities, right to rest, no more Columbus Day
In a split legislature, strictly partisan bills are doomed to fail. Nonetheless, long hours were put in arguing over arresting public officials for not boosting immigration laws in a sanctuary city. Homeless people still can’t camp in public parks, if cities have an ordinance. Columbus Day in Colorado will continue to be celebrated and reviled.

Read more here, here and here.

 

Students at DSST Cole High School, a charter school in Denver. (Nicholas Garcia/Chalkbeat Colorado)

9 — Charter schools are getting cool
Charter schools are public schools, but they haven’t been treated that way when it comes to tax dollars. This session they made headway. Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, and Rep. Paul Lundeen, R-Monument, pushed the equitable-funding issue to the last day, with results that had charter school champions cheering.

Read more here.

 

hunting and fishing fees
(Colorado Springs Gazette/Paul Klee)

8 — Parks and Wildlife out in the cold
The state’s fee-funded outdoors agency hasn’t raised hunting, fishing and park fees since 2005. The agency already has cut $40 million and 50 staff members, but faces even deeper cuts without raising rates. Lawmakers said no. Bring on the cuts.

Read more here.

 

In this Dec. 31, 2012, file photo, Rachel Schaefer, of Denver, smokes marijuana on the official opening night of Club 64, a marijuana-specific social club, where a New Year’s Eve party was held in Denver. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

7 — Pot’s wild ride
To the last day, marijuana was a focus. Bipartisan efforts to create marijuana social clubs efforts never advanced, the ongoing conversation did. Raising pot taxes was used as an incentive by Democrats to get Republicans on board to reclassify the state’s Hospital Provider Fee, and the legislature OK’d counties to pass pot taxes. Gov, John Hickenlooper advanced the session by saying he wanted more pot taxes to go toward homelessness programs. And as the final hours ticked away, the House debated, in bizarre terms, how many people should be allowed to smoke pot on a porch. Lawmakers couldn’t agree.

Read more here, here and here.

 

Congressman Ed Perlmutter announces run for Colorado Governor Sunday April 9, 2017 in the parking lot of Natural Grocers in Golden, CO. (Photo by Evan Semón Photography)

6 — Who was legislating and who was campaigning
Just months removed from Election Day, at least dozen of the General Assembly’s 100 members have their eyes on offices higher the legislature. Sometimes good pieces of legislation also look good on a campaign flier, and lobbyists with PACs become the best lobbyists of all.

Read more here, here, here and here.

 

Patrick Neville
House Republican Leader Patrick Neville talks to reporters at the state Capitol the day after the session adjourned. (Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)

5 — A moderate shift to the left in the Senate
The Senate president proposing a tax increase to fund roads, while the Senate president pro tem pushed a restructuring of the Hospital Provider Fee, served as the clearest examples of a shift in tone and thinking for Senate Republicans. Two issues that were always considered off the table. Meanwhile, Republicans advanced legislation to strengthen penalties on crimes against gay people, while also supporting a bill to extend coverage to provide a 12-month supply of contraceptives for women.

Read more here.

 

A home explosion in Firestone on April 17 killed two and sent two people to the hospital. Fire officials said it was the result of an uncapped flow line from a nearby oil and gas well. (Dennis Herrera/ Special to The Denver Post / Daily Camera)

4 — Oil and gas issues exploded
Oil-and-gas interests had been on a legislative winning streak and had made a good case as a good and safe neighbor, until a house near a pipeline in Firestone exploded and killed two people on April 17. That caused a last-days struggle between Republicans and Democrats, one that’s likely to continue into next year’s session and elections.

Read more here, here, here and here.

 

construction Colorado
(Colorado Springs Gazette file photo/Rich Laden)

3 — Put up or shut up for construction defects reform
After four legislative sessions, the first measure of construction defects litigation reform is law. The cost of insurance and lawsuits was said to be why construction of affordable condominiums in the state has withered, but now that lawmakers have delivered, it’s up to builders to respond.

Read more here.

 

In this Thursday, March 9, 2017, photograph, Dr. Lindsey Fish waits for a patient in a procedure room in Denver Health Medical Center’s primary care clinic located in a low-income neighborhood in southwest Denver. (AP)

2 — Republicans got on the omnibus
For years, GOP lawmakers fought reclassifying a fee on hospital beds to get it out from under the state’s constitutional spending cap that triggers tax refunds. This session, the biggest bipartisan win was doing just that, as Republicans traded for higher Medicaid copays, a lower spending cap and money for rural schools, roads and hospitals.

Read more here.

 

And the biggest story of the session …

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Heavy traffic moves along Interstate 25 near Castle Rock, which is two lanes in each direction. (Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette)

1 — Road bills sputtered
The highest goal of the session, to address the state’s ailing, clogged transportation system, didn’t go nearly as planned. Two bills that would have put billions into wider interstates and local transit died in the Senate, bogged down over asking taxpayers to pony up.

Read more here, here and here.

Editor’s note: Compiled by Colorado Politics staff Joey Bunch, Peter Marcus and Erin Prater.



Joey BunchJoey BunchMay 14, 20177min307

When Rep. Patrick Neville won the House Republican leadership  last November, most of us in the state Capitol expected the caucus to take a hard slide to the right.

Neville had never seen a fight where he thought the odds were against him since he took office in 2015. And it would have been so easy for the Castle Rocker to be the pugnacious leader his detractors expected, throwing roundhouse minority party punches and connecting with nothing but hot air.

A week into the session, as could be expected, Neville fired off a press release about how House Speaker Crisanta Duran already was going back on her opening-day call for bipartisanship by assigning Republican bills on religious liberty, guns and a business tax break to the House’s “kill committee.”

A couple of weeks after that, he called out Duran again over wasting time on resolutions supporting abortion and immigrants instead of transportation, education and affordable housing. (Though his own caucus would later run similar bills from the opposite perspective.)

In the weeks that followed, however, House Republicans showed tremendous influence over the legislation that made it to the governor’s desk.

They held the line all session against raising taxes for transportation, without enough votes to do anything about it. When Neville said new taxes were unnecessary on the opening day of the session, it seemed like an outlier position from a tax-hating partisan. On the last day of the session, transportation had an extra million bucks a year without a tax hike.

House Republicans, led by Reps. Lang Sias of Arvada and Paul Lundeen of Monument, also delivered on funding charter schools like other public schools and created a bipartisan task force to hold hearings on school finance.

Thursday, 12 hours after the 120-day session adjourned, Neville sat a table surrounded by reporters and sounded like the smartest guy under the gold dome, the player who had no hand to play when the session began but held all the cards by the end.

Neville’s brain and tact benefited from House Minority Leader Cole Wist, a whip-smart attorney with a self-deprecating wit. He sat at Neville’s right at the long conference table in the chamber the day after the session.

Wist lives and dies by win-win propositions, statesmanship over partisanship, you could say. He orchestrated what was the biggest bipartisan win of the session, the breakthrough on construction defects litigation.

“If you’re going to be pragmatic about lawmaking, those of us here to get legislation to the governor’s desk recognize we need partners on the other side of the aisle,” he said. “And, frankly, there are Democrats who feel the same way.”

To pass the construction defects litigation reform, Wist said he “locked arms” with the bill’s cosponsors, Democratic Rep. Alec Garnett and Republican Rep. Lori Saine. That made it harder for astroturf grassroots organizations backed by business interests or trial lawyers to carve up this legislation the way they had others.

That’s a road map House Republicans would like to follow into next year’s session, Wist and Neville agreed. Easier said than done, however. In election years, donors and strategists turn bipartisanship into toast and cover it with butter and jam. Next year many legislators will be looking at higher office that November, as well.

Republicans created bipartisan wins, but they also created political baggage.

Foremost, led by Senate Republicans, they made a deal to move a fee on hospital beds out from under the constitutional spending cap, robbing taxpayers of potential refunds foe the next 20 years. This, after they pushed back against Democrats doing that for years, citing the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Republicans made that deal this year. In exchange they got money for rural roads and schools. Libertarian thought leader Jon Caldara called it Senate Republicans’ ‘”grand betrayal.” GOP deal-makers also won higher Medicaid co-pays, lowered state government’s spending limit by $200 million a year and included, not coincidentally, that business tax break scuttled by the Democratic kill committee as the session began.

Nonetheless, some Republican legislators who voted for the compromise said messing with TABOR means they probably would have a primary opponent next year. The deal was too good to say no to, they said.

Neville, the crown prince of Colorado’s conservative base, said Thursday he would make the case for more political nuance to voters next year, He won’t support any primary challengers against his caucus, and if you’re running to the right of a Republican incumbent, his name and his father’s, state Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton, are critical endorsements.

“If we have to compromise our principles to get stuff done, I don’t think that’s the right way to do it,” said Neville, just as I noticed the first signs of gray in his hair. “If we can move the ball on some issues, we can do that without compromising our principles.”

The House Republican leader has matured in his views on principles and the art of the deal. Perhaps that’s a pragmatic view facing an election year in which the Republican president’s brand of partisanship could a grind up candidates all the way down the GOP ticket. Democrats are counting on that.

Either way, Neville and Wist are running a smart operation at the Capitol.



Joey BunchJoey BunchMay 7, 20176min326

Like bubbles in boiling water, things are moving faster at the Colorado Capitol as we move closer to the May 10 adjournment.

As lawmakers continue to wrangle with the most important bills that have been at the top of the agenda since January, a pipeline explosion in Firestone and a news out of Washington shook things up.

These are the stories out staff thinks are worth revisiting, because these issues aren’t going away soon.

 

Former Colorado U.S. Rep. Ray Kogovsek of Pueblo died Sunday. (Kirk Speer/The Gazette)

5. Former congressman from Pueblo remembered as a legend and friend

Ray Kogovsek, the congressman who never took politics personally, was remembered as “a legend in southern Colorado politics, a linchpin in the state Democratic Party and a friend to countless Coloradans.” He died at his home in Pueblo. He was 75.

Read the full story here.

 

Taxes and Trump
Vice President Mike Pence applauds as President Donald Trump arrives in the Kennedy Garden of the White House in Washington Monday to speak to the Independent Community Bankers Association. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

4. Religious liberty advocates had faith there would be more

President Trump signed his long-awaited executive order on religious liberty this week, and people on both sides of the issue in Colorado were underwhelmed. One Colorado, the state’s largest LBGTQ advocacy group, didn’t even bother to comment, and Colorado Springs religious leaders said Congress needs to get onboard to do more.

Read the full story here.

 

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) celebrating Thursday’s health care vote with President Trump. (Credit Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tex.)

3. Republican health care plan divides Colorado congressmen

Colorado Springs Congressman Doug Lamborn sounded thrilled to vote to repeal Obamacare last week, saying it would put America on the path to a healthier insurance marketplace. But fellow Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora said he couldn’t do what the bill asks to people with pre-existing conditions, so he voted no.

Read the full story here.

 

construction defects
(Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)

2. Construction defects litigation is finally going to the governor

It took four legislative session and a dozen unsuccessful bills, but Republicans and Democrats finally agreed on a way to address lawsuits against builders, the alleged reason why fewer affordable condos are being built in a growing affordable housing crisis. Is it real reform or smoke and mirrors?

Read the full story here. 

 

In this April 18, 2017, photo, investigators stand by as debris is removed from a house that was destroyed in a deadly explosion in Firestone, Colo., on April 17. Anadarko Petroleum said Wednesday, April 26, that it operated a well about 200 feet (60 meters) from the house in the town of Firestone. The company didn’t say whether the well was believed to be a factor in the explosion or whether it produced oil, gas or both. (Matthew Jonas/The Daily Times Call via AP)

1. Firestone explosion continues to rumble through politics

After it was announced Tuesday that the double-fatal house explosion is Firestone was the result of underground gas lines, pressure mounted quickly on lawmakers and the industry to respond. Friday House Democrats introduced a bill to make maps of all underground oil and gas operations accessible to the public, land planners and state regulators.

Read the full story here.