What happens now that the Senate Finance Committee has killed the transportation deal

Leadership in the House and Senate said lawmakers need to keep talking, while citizen groups may be bringing competing transportation measures to the ballot.

I-25 at rush hour, March 15, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; i25; I-25; highway; traffic;
This is just how it’s going to be. Get used to it. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This was the deal that Colorado legislators and Gov. John Hickenlooper named as one of their top priorities for the 2017 session — a new funding source for roads and transit to start chipping away at the potholes and traffic jams that plague the state.

It died Tuesday evening in a 3-2 party line vote in the Senate Finance Committee. That means it won’t go to the Senate as a whole, where it may well have passed, and it won’t go to the voters in November.


Colorado House approves last pieces of 2017-18 budget in a vote that leaves one lawmaker in tears

When time came to record the vote on the provider fee budget-balancing bill, something rather odd happened.

District 46 Representative Daneya Esgar. The first day of the Colorado state legislative session. Jan 11, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) legislature; copolitics; politics; legislative session; capitol; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Rep. Daneya Esgar on the first day of the Colorado state legislative session. Her district will be hit hard by cuts to hospital funding. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

By Marianne Goodland, Colorado Independent

For the past 15 days, House Democrats have held up finishing the 2017-18 state budget, waiting to see if a bill that would free up millions of dollars for hospitals made any progress in the state Senate.

The delay in the House was over two “orbital” bills that help the Joint Budget Committee balance the budget. One would cut the hospital provider fee revenue by $264 million; the other had to do with capital construction and transportation transfers.


Legislature erupts into shouts and accusations over negotiations on major bills

The Capitol seen from Luis Benitez's office in the state Outdoor Recreation Industry Oddice. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite; skyline; cityscape;
The Colorado State Capitol. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

By Marianne Goodland, originally published at The Colorado Independent.

The state Capitol erupted Tuesday morning into a loud and sometimes profane blame game over the state budget, a bill to ask voters to pony up more in sales taxes for transportation and the measure that would free up millions for hospitals, rural roads and rural schools.


Denver’s March for Science: Where, when and more importantly, why

The March for Science is expected to bring thousands to downtown Denver on Saturday to defend scientific integrity and the role of science in public policy.

The end and start of the Denver Women’s March, Jan. 21, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
The end and start of the Denver Women’s March, Jan. 21, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Kevin Trenberth sees a test coming up soon for science under the administration of President Donald Trump. Every four years, the federal government completes a national climate assessment, and the 2016 document, completed under President Barack Obama, will get its final edits until a Trump administration.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recently completed a review of the assessment and signed off on all its major findings. Those findings contradict statements made by top administration officials who downplay the role of human activity in climate change. But there are still rounds of edits before the document is released.


Spicy news: Colorado to get chile license plates in 2018

Colorado Gov. Johnn Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1012 on Tuesday paving the way for the state to start issuing chile license plates in September 2018.

A mockup of the proposed Colorado license plate with Pueblo Chile on it. (Courtesy of the Pueblo Chile Growers Association)
A mockup of the proposed Colorado license plate with Pueblo Chile on it. (Courtesy of the Pueblo Chile Growers Association)

Colorado legislators have yet to come up with solutions for funding transportation needs throughout the state or what to do about construction defects reform.

But by golly, they’ve given us “Pueblo chile” license plates.