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Simon LomaxSimon LomaxMay 14, 201811min1299

What is the purpose of state government: To provide basic services to the public, or ever-increasing amounts of money to pension funds? That’s the question Colorado taxpayers will be asking today, tomorrow and long into the future after the passage of SB-200, a reform-and-bailout bill for the state’s public pension system. Passed just minutes before the end of this year’s legislative session, the bill aims to fix a $32 billion unfunded liability at the Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA), the state’s pension fund manager.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 14, 20183min617

Denver Public Schools may have decided to trade weapons for plowshares — it announced last week it would turn down National Rifle Association grants for assorted school programs in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school massacre — but the Second Amendment-friendly, Denver-based Independence Institute is sticking to its guns.

As the Associated Press reported over the weekend:

The libertarian-leaning Independence Institute is one of the top recipients of charitable NRA grants, according to an Associated Press analysis of the NRA Foundation’s public tax records. The think tank received $241,000 from the foundation in 2016, the last year for which data is available. The institute reported receiving a total of $2 million in grants and donations that year.

The size of the Independence Institute’s grant is large enough to make Colorado the state with the fourth largest amount of NRA charitable donations, with $293,000 in grants. That places it only behind two much larger states — California and Texas — and North Carolina, home to Speedway Children’s Charities, which has received the largest NRA donation at $425,000.

The NRA wouldn’t comment for the AP, but the wire service’s findings hardly come as a shocker. As the AP’s Nicholas Riccardi notes in the report:

The Independence Institute has a long history in Colorado politics and is a prominent advocate of gun rights positions. Its research director, Dave Kopel, has written numerous law review articles defending gun rights and filed friend of court briefs supporting firearms owners and groups.

The think tank’s public affairs chief, Mike Krause, seemed downright proud, telling the AP: “It would make sense that America’s oldest civil rights organization, the NRA, would support our work … Indeed, we would like to think we are the most vocal and principled defender of the Second Amendment, and of the human right of self-defense, in Colorado. ”


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 5, 201813min692

The #MeToo movement must seem like déjà vu to Karen Middleton. The former state lawmaker, longtime education policy wonk, self-described "fierce feminist" — and nowadays, point person for abortion-rights advocacy in Colorado — took her seat in the legislature a decade ago in the wake of the Capitol's last big sexual-misconduct scandal. It was her own predecessor in her state House district who wound up resigning in the face of allegations. And while some things never seem to change, she says the response by some politicians to the latest round of harassment allegations actually has been worse than was the case in 2008. She explains how and also discusses education reform; her first forays into politics — and the therapeutic value of home renovation — in this week's Q&A.


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Van SchoalesVan SchoalesJanuary 11, 20188min499

While we appreciate a shout-out for A+ Colorado’s research and advocacy for more quality schools in Colorado in Paula Noonan’s column, “A+ Colorado slams public schools – but sidesteps issue of school finance,” she misrepresents our work and advocacy agenda. We are deeply committed to sharpening the public dialogue about how to improve public education, including critical discussions around finance.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 8, 201812min1297

When Noel Ginsburg was 5 years old, he began spending time working the manufacturing line at his father’s pickle business in Arvada and says he fell in love with it. By the time he was in college at the University of Denver in the late 1970s, his father had sold the business he’d thought might be his some day so Ginsburg set about coming up with something else to do.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningDecember 28, 20174min2143

Tay Anderson, the 19-year-old who lost an election for a Denver Public Schools board seat last month, says in a Facebook video posted Wednesday that he hasn't picked a gubernatorial candidate yet — because none of the Democrats running have enunciated a specific set of progressive positions Anderson says are required to get his endorsement.