Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 7, 20186min210
A rosy December revenue forecast gave lawmakers reason to believe they quite possibly will have an extra $300 million to spend in the legislative session that starts Wednesday, and that’s just one of their problems. The General Assembly gavels in Wednesday, and for the ensuing 120 days 100 lawmakers will debate about 700 bills and […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchDecember 28, 20175min484
If you leave the scene of an accident involving injury or death when the new year rings in, you just suspended your own driver’s license, the Colorado State Patrol is reminding motorists. Last session lawmakers passed House Bill 1277 to automatically suspend licenses, allowing those suspected to make a case for a temporary license while […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchDecember 20, 20173min2290

Well, you didn’t expect the Colorado Municipal League to ask for lasers and free ponies, did you? The venerable, powerful and dutiful representative of the state’s towns and cities has more practical requests for the legislative session that begins Jan. 10.

“The main themes for the session will be maintaining local control and home rule authority, funding previous unfunded mandates from the state and trying to protect municipal taxpayer dollars from being appropriated or spent by the General Assembly through decisions that should remain local,” that’s what the CML Executive Board voted on last Friday.

More specifically, the league will have its hands on bills related to affordable housing, the opioid epidemic, natural disaster preparedness and homelessness. Marijuana, alcohol sales and energy development also are on the CML’s radar, as well as changes to the Public Employees Retirement Association.

The CML writes about its wish list on its website.

“Predictably, there will be new attempts to expand the frontier of marijuana legalization in Colorado,” the CML reports. “Early drafts of legislation that would permit (with local opt-in and approval) licensed premises for onsite, non-smoking marijuana consumption include a number of items of concern to CML. Yet, as the CML Policy Committee and CML Executive Board discussed, municipalities have wide range of views on these issues. At the core, CML’s goal is to ensure absolute local control.

“There also will be more legislation on beer and liquor this session, as the shockwaves from the 2016 shift to allow grocery stores to have multiple licenses to sell beer, wine, and sprits continue to create impacts. Additionally, a provision from the 2016 bill taking effect in 2019 now has people’s full attention. It allows conveniences stores and grocery stores with regular fermented malt beverage licenses to sell full-strength beer without any additional process. CML is working on multiple fronts on these issues.”

On PERA, the Municipal league pledged to be involved in any reforms that come down the legislative pipeline.

“With the ability to be fully funded long before the State and School Divisions, the much better funded Local Government Division can handle a little lighter touch than may be proposed for the rest of the PERA Divisions,” the CML said.


Jessica MachettaDecember 2, 20176min403
The Colorado Department of Higher Education and the Colorado Department of Education are outlining recommendations for recruiting and retaining more teachers in a strategic plan and report for the legislature. The “Colorado’s Teacher Shortages: Attracting and Retaining Excellent Educators” focuses on four key goals: improving educator retention, increasing teacher compensation and benefits, attracting talent to […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 19, 20173min342
Colorado is open to the idea of voting for candidates who don’t have a party, according to a survey released Thursday by the Centrist Project Institute. The survey indicates 85 percent of Coloradans would consider candidates who don’t belong to a party, and 53 percent don’t like the way Democrats and Republicans are running the […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 5, 20174min6820

State Sen. Kerry Donovan doesn’t have an opponent, but she does have a fat campaign fund to fuel her re-election campaign in Senate District 5 next year. The Democrat from Vail also appears to have an unusual level of determination for a candidate with so much in her favor.

Donovan announced Wednesday she’ll hit the road next week to kickoff her bid for a second term with events in all seven high country counties that maker her district.

She’ll stump in Pitkin County on Oct. 10; Delta and Hinsdale counties on Oct. 11; Gunnison, Chaffee and Lake counties on Oct. 12; and Eagle County on Oct 13, her campaign said.

“It’s my honor and privilege to serve the high country by representing its people and communities in the Colorado State Senate,” Donovan said in a statement. “At a time when D.C. gets more dysfunctional by the day, I vow to keep fighting in our state for bipartisan solutions to create good-paying jobs, lower healthcare costs, and protect our Colorado way of life.”

A former Vail City Council member, Donovan was a hot commodity to run for Congress next year, but spurned pressure for Democrats to run for re-election to the Senate, telling Colorado Politics in June she still has unfinished business in the statehouse. In 2022, term limits will prevent her from seeking a third term in the Senate, if she wins re-election next year.

Donovan said her legislative priorities include major needs of Colorado’s rural areas, including high-speed broadband Internet service, addressing the high cost of healthcare, expanding telemedicine, creating jobs and protecting public lands, as well as supporting farming and ranching.

She was the driving force behind creating the nation’s first statewide Public Lands Day last year with events across the state this past May to recognize the role public lands play in the state and local economies and in the shared appreciation for Colorado’s great outdoors.

“When I was first elected to the Senate, I made it a point to carry bills that would make the lives of my constituents better, and not to carry water for special interests that have too much say in our government,” she said. “I’m proud of my record of standing up for the Western Slope and Upper Arkansas Valley, and can’t wait to keep up the work to make sure every Coloradan has a chance to pursue their dreams.”

Against a one-seat Republican majority in the Senate, Donovan is the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee. She also sits on the Senate Local Government Committee and the Legislative Audit Committee.

In the last session, Donovan passed a measure to honor the Camp Hale National Historic Landscape and the feasibility study on using hemp as animal feed. Senate Republicans killed her legislation to advance rural broadband and to have the state do more to help rural communities that sustain heavy job losses.