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Jessica MachettaDecember 12, 20177min333
Stop the Martinez appeal. That was the message from more than 60 people who crowded the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission meeting. It was standing room only at the Chancery Building in Denver Monday with several spilling out into the hallway as they waited to voice health and safety concerns. One protester even gave […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 5, 20174min291

In the wake of a deadly explosion that killed two, injured a third and leveled their home in Firestone, legislation filed today at Colorado’s Capitol would require public notice by oil-and-gas drillers of underground pipelines tied to their operations.

House Bill 1372 would require oil and gas operators to “give electronic notice … of the location of each subsurface oil and gas facility associated with an oil and gas facility installed, owned, or operated by the operator” to the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission and each local government jurisdiction in which any oil and gas operation is located.

The bill also requires the state commission to post the information on its website for public access through a searchable database.

(ColoradoPolitics.com obtained a draft of the bill prior to its introduction in the House by Democratic state Reps. Mike Foote, of Lafayette, and Steve Lebsock, of Thornton.)

Investigators have pinned the April 17 blast, in a recently built Firestone housing tract, on odorless, unrefined natural gas that had been leaking from an old, severed underground pipeline. As reported by the Associated Press earlier this week:

The line was believed to be abandoned but was still connected to a gas well with a valve turned to the open position, investigators said.

The underground flow line was was 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter and had been severed within 10 feet (3 meters) of the home, officials said. Investigators said they do not know when or how the line was cut.

State regulations require abandoned lines to be disconnected and capped. Investigators have said they do not know why that was not done.

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday called for comprehensive mapping of such pipelines and said that might require legislation, but he expressed doubt it could happen before the conclusion next week of the current legislative session.

It now turns out it might happen after all. Lebsock, reached for comment, said, “We’re going to be responsive to the needs of local government” in identifying potentially hazardous pipelines.

He stressed he and his co-sponsor are “willing to work” with all stakeholders, including the industry, the state and local governments in getting the eventual wording of the bill right. Lebsock expressed concern about the draft language being circulated in advance of the bill’s formal introduction, suggesting the wording is not final and is open to wide-ranging input through amendments.

Lebsock declined further comment prior to a news conference on the bill at the Capitol.

It’s not clear how the oil and gas industry will respond to the proposal. Colorado Petroleum Association Executive Director Angie Binder deferred comment until she could confer with association members for their analysis of the bill’s potential impact.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirApril 24, 20175min243
Legislation to bar employers from inquiring about the criminal history of job applicants underwent nips and tucks last week to soften its impact before being approved by majority Democrats in the state House today on a party-line vote. Among the tweaks amended into House Bill 1305 was the removal of provisions that some critics said set up a […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirApril 10, 20175min298
Some Colorado legislative Democrats believe it’s unfair to make job-seekers disclose their criminal histories on their applications — often, by checking a box — so they’ve introduced legislation to stop the practice. House Bill 1305, sponsored in the lower chamber by state Democratic Reps. Mike Foote of Lafayette and Jovan Melton of Aurora, would “ban the box” — part of a […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 13, 20172min252

You have to know you’ve been wronged before you can start the process to make things right. That’s the gist of bipartisan legislation that passed the Senate today after having been adopted earlier in the session by the House.

House Bill 1048, introduced in the House by Democratic Lafayette Rep. Mike Foote and carried in the Senate by Republican Sen. Jim Smallwood of Parker, extends the time in which legal action can be taken against insurance fraud.

As the Senate GOP explained in a press release today:

Under current law, the statute of limitations for prosecuting insurance fraud begins when the crime is committed.

House Bill 17-1048 clarifies the procedure to ensure that the statute of limitations begins when the crime is discovered, giving victim’s adequate time to take action.

Additionally, the bill expands immunity to cover both primary and secondary agencies and insurers who are authorized to act in good faith and provide evidence or information on acts of insurance fraud.

Smallwood, quoted in the press release, said the bill can serve as a hedge against rising insurance premiums.

“Insurance fraud is a nightmare for law-abiding consumers…When a few people try to beat the system, we all end up paying higher rates to support them. Lowering the cost of insurance is an ongoing priority, and one way we can bring those prices down is by ensuring that we’re not allowing anyone to get a free ride on the backs of hardworking, Coloradans.”

The measure gets one more procedural vote in the Senate and then, having made it through the upper chamber without amendments, goes to the governor for his signature.


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Ramsey ScottRamsey ScottFebruary 2, 20167min311
Rare full bipartisan agreement Monday worked to quash a bill aimed at expanding ballot initiative power for residents of unincorporated county areas and of special districts. All nine members of the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee voted against House Bill 1071 introduced by Rep. JoAnn Windholz, R-Commerce City. Committee members said the bill […]

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