Joey Bunch Archives - Colorado Politics
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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 24, 20183min1000

The Colorado Department of Human Services is reminding those getting a tax refund this year to consider helping domestic abuse victims.

The Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund is one of the causes listed among the check-offs on tax returns. It helps fund 47 local domestic violence programs that answered 63,671 crisis calls and served 18,124 adults and 4,501 children in 2017.

“As adults, we want to protect children in our community and ensure their safety. That’s why it is so heartbreaking to know that problems like domestic and dating violence, which we tend to consider ‘grown-up issues,’ affect so many of our young people every day. Last year, of the thousands of Coloradans who sought help from the Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund, 31 percent were 24 years old and younger, and 21 percent were under the age of 17,” Reggie Bicha, DHS’s executive director, tells Colorado Politics.

“The Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund provides crucial services for those kids, teens and adults who need our help immediately, but emergency services are only one part of the equation. We know domestic violence can be an early indicator for larger, underlying issues. Through our awareness and prevention efforts, we can work to make Colorado a safer place for all our kids and families.”

The tax return check-off generated more than $167,000 from Coloradans who donated on their 2016 tax returns.

DHS offered some examples of the programs the donations support.

  • 24-hour crisis line
  • Emergency housing
  • Support groups, counseling and advocacy
  • Safety planning and information and referrals for victims and their families
  • Community education and prevention
  • Children’s programming and advocacy

DHS said 54 percent of its domestic violence service providers are in rural areas.

“Making a one-time contribution on your state income tax form is one of the simplest ways to make a difference in the life of a survivor of domestic violence,” Brooke Ely-Milen, DHS’s Domestic Violence Program, said in a statement. “Domestic violence survivors are the women, men and children who live just down the street. Providing help, hope and a pathway to safety through your generous contributions helps build stronger communities together.”

The Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund has been listed on state returns since 1983, when Colorado became the first state to allow taxpayers to chip in a share of their return to help the domestic violence programs.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 24, 20183min3890

One Colorado, the state’s largest LGBTQ organization, will be joined by hundreds of allies at the state Capitol in Denver Monday.

It’s an annual event that starts at 8:30 a.m. with a gathering nearby at the Central Presbyterian Church at 1660 Sherman St.

Again this year, the LGBTQ lobby is pushing for a bill to make it easier for transgender people to amend a birth certificate to reflect their gender identity.

House Bill 1046 is scheduled to be debated on the House floor Monday, where the Democratic majority is almost certain to send it to the Republican-led Senate. Colorado Politics reported on the bill’s initial committee hearing two weeks ago.

The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar of Pueblo and Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, both Democratic members of the legislative LGBTQ caucus.

The caucus also includes Reps. Paul Rosenthal of Denver, Joann Ginal of Fort Collins, Leslie Herod of Denver and Senate Democratic Leader Lucia Guzman of Denver.

Lobby Day is an annual event, but One Colorado executive director Daniel Ramos predicted this year’s

“LGBTQ Lobby Day is an opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans and allies to learn more about the issues that impact them, a chance for them to tell their stories directly to their elected officials and make their voices heard,” he said.

One Colorado also is lobbying again this year for a bill to ban on conversion therapy for minors, House Bill 1245, which will be heard by the House Public Health Care and Human Services at 1:30 p.m. on March 13.

The mental health practice, outlawed in some states, is therapy for teens and children who might be experiencing same-sex attractions. One Colorado and other critics say it’s discredited science that harms young people’s self-esteem and could contribute to suicides.

Rosenthal has carried a similar bill in each of the last three sessions, but he hasn’t been able to get it past the Republican majority in the Senate.

“As long as there is one child who may be subject to this form of torture, we need to continue doing this bill with the goal of calling attention to this malpractice and hopefully we will be able to pass it someday,” Rosenthal tells Colorado Politics.

He’s joined on the bill by three other Democrats,Guzman, Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Sen. Stephen Fenberg of Boulder.

 

 

 

 


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 24, 20183min112
The 5th Congressional District primary against incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn keeps getting more crowded, as Green Mountain Falls businessman and civic leader Tyler Stevens joins the mix. Stevens is the latest on the list of challengers made up of state Sen. Owen Hill, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn and retired Texas judge Bill Rhea. […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 22, 20185min56
A working group of legislators met with prison officials about suspicious budget estimates Wednesday, and it was deemed adequate “good faith” in the Colorado House Thursday. A few weeks ago Republican and Democratic legislators hoed up a $1.4 million request for private prison beds in the current year’s budget. As a result, Gov. John Hickenlooper […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 22, 20184min165
You don’t build an tank then sit out the war, so Better Colorado Now’s first advance on behalf of Walker Stapleton should come as no surprise. The Super PAC rolled their independent campaign’s first radio ad Wednesday. The 60-second spot is called “Dangerous Cities.” And the topic is the live wire on immigration, but it […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 20, 20187min13000

Normally it’s Democrats who want the public to know more about the effects of energy production near people, flora and fauna, but not so much on wind energy.

That irony came to visit when Rep. Paul Lundeen brought a bill this session to create a state-approved online clearinghouse of credible information — about the public’s health in proximity to windfarms.

In Lundeen’s sprawling El Paso County district residents near Calhan are complaining about headaches, stomach aches and circulatory problems since the 145 turbines at the Nextera wind farm began to spin in 2015. Livestock roams the plains landscape and dozens of residents live nearby.

The Republican lawmaker from Monument doesn’t think it’s asking too much for the state to give people information they can rely on, rather than forcing them to roam the internet for answers that could be posted by a partisan, a crackpot or both.

The state could curate credible, peer-reviewed studies and link to legal documents that often aren’t easy to find with a simple Google search, he contends.

“Making things easier for the people — that’s exactly what this legislation would do,” Lundeen pleaded to the Democrats on the committee moments before they killed his bill on a party-line vote.

Colorado’s $6 billion of private investment in wind energy production has provided “a hockey stick” curve on a growth chart, Lundeen said. The political left doesn’t want to discuss it unless oil, gas and coal are in the mix.

It might look like a political mousetrap from the outside. I suggested that to Lundeen, and I read people well. He has no reputation as a schemer but a terrific statehouse reputation as a problem-solver.

The situation just exposed the partisan scar tissue around energy that has hardened mindsets of both sides.

“This was the perfect bill for me,” he said the next day on the bench on the south side of the chamber, after House Speaker Crisanta Duran gaveled members out for the weekend. “Because it’s this policy question about what’s wind energy mean to us. We’ve gone since 2000 from 22 megawatts in this state to, in 2016, more than 2,000 megawatts. That’s 131 times growth, so this is a big issue coming to a front yard near you soon. So what are we going to do about it?”

Rep. Joann Ginal knew how Lundeen felt.

In 2013, she and fellow Democratic Reps. Mike Foote of Lafayette, Jonathan Singer of Longmont and others presented a bill to have the state determine if people who live near oil and gas operations are as healthy as those who don’t. The state study would have examined epidemiology reports from Larimer, Weld, Boulder and Arapahoe counties against one or more control groups elsewhere.

House Bill 1275 was drowned like a rat on the Titanic by a solid Republican bloc who picked off stray moderates from the Democratic majority to kill seven oil-and-gas bills that session.

Ginal tried and failed again the next year. She would support an all-of-the-above look at what energy production is doing to us. The daughter of a New England cop, she’s practice in pharmaceutical and medical fields for more than two decades, specializing in reproductive endocrinology.

“We don’t offer a compilation of research in this state that’s really helpful in that area, as well,” the physician said of renewable energy.

Government has regulated — and academic and advocacy interests have studied — the effects of traditional fuels as far back as 150 years, massive wind farms and growing fast on Colorado’s horizon.

We haven’t heard the last of this. Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates — Jared Polis and Michael Johnston — are pledging to get all of Colorado’s juice from renewable sources by 2040. A handful of cities are pledging to get there sooner.

Tom Darin, the Western states policy director for the American Wind Energy Association, says his trade association maintains a bibliography its eager and willing to share with policymakers and the public. The credible information supports the industry as safe, he said.

“We are entrusted and given some credibility in bringing in and how to do $6 billion in investment in Colorado,” Darin said.

Rep. Terri Carver, another El Paso County Republican, said unbalanced information doesn’t tell the whole story. And how. Partisan salesmanship has poisoned the oil-and-gas discussion, as the left and right continue to extend spewing pipelines of money into Colorado for PR and lobbying.

I trust the Wind Energy Association. The literature about health and safety is stacked up on their side, just like the information provided by the oil-and-gas industry.

I did a Google search about wind energy, because I’m cynical. The first article was from the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

“Canadian family physicians can expect to see increasing numbers of rural patients reporting adverse effects from exposure to industrial wind turbines (IWTs),” it stated. “People who live or work in close proximity to IWTs have experienced symptoms that include decreased quality of life, annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headache, anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunction. Some have also felt anger, grief, or a sense of injustice.”

Now I don’t know who to believe.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 19, 20182min118
A big player in the politics of outdoor recreation got a little bigger last week when Colorado Ski Country USA announced that Kendall Mountain Ski Area had joined the statewide trade association. Kendall Mountain is owned and operated by the town of Silverton. It’s been in business for 53 years “The Kendall Mountain community and […]

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