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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonMarch 14, 20189min866

The second PERA reform/bailout bill (SB 18-200) in less than a decade reaches the Colorado Legislature this week amidst a clash of competing narratives regarding who is responsible for the pension plan’s precarious fiscal posture. On one side is a tale that greedy employees have maliciously and surreptitiously burdened taxpayers with a bankrupting obligation that guarantees public school teachers, together with participating state and local government workers, for the onerous costs of undeserved and lavish retirements. In contrast stands the charge that a negligent Legislature, irrespective of Democratic or Republican majorities, has consistently failed to adequately fund PERA pensions for decades, thereby igniting a budget-burning conflagration, which the arsonists are now rushing to extinguish in the guise of firefighters. This finger-pointing minuet obscures a fundamental conflict of values underlying the debate ahead.


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Randy BaumgardnerRandy BaumgardnerJanuary 17, 20186min1046

Coloradans and voters across the state agree that Colorado’s roads are in terrible shape and that improving and maintaining our state highways and roads needs to be Priority One for the state’s lawmakers. The mystery is why in the face of this broad, statewide consensus, from Grand Junction to Colorado Springs and Aurora to Alamosa, it is so difficult to get Colorado’s governor and all state lawmakers to prioritize state budget dollars to match the size of the problem.


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Rachael WrightRachael WrightMay 11, 20177min352

Twenty Years Ago This Week in the Colorado Statesman … A new welfare law was finally agreed upon and the Legislature narrowly averted a special session. “That’s the art of compromise,” Gov. Roy Romer said. He said he would sign the latest version of the state's welfare reform law that had successfully met the requirements of new federal laws while passing muster on both sides of the Legislature's aisle.


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Miller HudsonMiller HudsonJanuary 17, 20179min347

I was discharged from the U.S. Navy in July of 1970. After picking up a new Toyota Land Cruiser for $4,100 (a deal made possible through a purchase program available only to returning troops), my wife and I drove coast to coast with our two month old son, Byron, in a crib that slid neatly between the two lengthwise bench seats in the back of the Cruiser. We spent a month visiting relatives and touring national parks. It was the kind of vacation you only attempt when you are young and slightly stupid. Fortunately, Byron was the kind of baby that lures you into having another — quiet, rarely crying and willing to sleep through the night in a tent and strange motels. It was at Jenny Lake in Teton National Park that I first encountered the mechanized, American family expedition. A large GMC pickup with a camper shell, a motorbike hanging in a rack on the front bumper, a fishing boat with Evinrude motor secured upside down on top of the camper and towing a small Jeep, pulled in next to us with four squealing kids.


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Rachael WrightRachael WrightJanuary 5, 201713min302

Twenty Years Ago This Week in The Colorado Statesman … The Colorado Supreme Court had been mulling over the Legislature's gambling restrictions for elected officials passed six years earlier. The Colorado Supreme Court in a unanimous decision, declared constitutional a law prohibiting elected, municipal officials of Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek as well as county commissioners of Teller and Gilpin Counties from holding a direct or indirect interest in a limited gaming license. The Legislature had formulated the idea and gotten Gov. Roy Romer to sign off on it in May 1991 as part of the Colorado Limited Gaming Act, which had been spawned by the voters' desire to extend and expand gambling in the Colorado gaming towns under Amendment 50. The Legislature's measure then winded its way through the judiciary, taking over five-and-a-half years to reach the Colorado Supreme Court.


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Colorado PoliticsColorado PoliticsNovember 24, 201612min302

Twenty Years Ago this week in the Colorado Statesman ... Too much sun in the Legislature? “Five hits and you’re out,” was the name of the game sponsored by Rep. Vickie Angler (R-Littleton) and Sen. Bill Schroeder (R-Morrison), which also went by its other more legislative moniker — HB 1159. The new law outlined in Colorado Revised Statutes 24-34-104.1 stated, “The General Assembly shall not consider the regulation of more than five occupations or professions in any one session of the General Assembly” — a seemingly timeless pursuit for Colorado's Republican legislators. HB 1159 eliminated the Sunrise-Sunset committee, which reviewed attempts to regulate unlicensed occupations and professions. Proponents of the bill claimed “no” votes by the influential six-member legislative committee on new regulation nearly always seemed to have a chilling effect on the success of new regulations, all but preventing those seeking new regs on unlicensed applicants from ever proceeding any further in the full Legislature.