State lawmakers completed their first full week of work during the regular legislative session of the 71st General Assembly. During the first week, lawmakers were able to get their first bill passed and the signed by Governor Hickenlooper.
Transportation solutions and how to fund them continues to be a heated topic among lawmakers that often included the governor. We’ll take a closer look at current proposals being kicked around under the golden dome. Other than transportation, some of the most covered stories covered included:
Lawmakers and Transportation
Transportation funding dominated last year’s session, but a bipartisan bill to ask voters for a sales tax hike hit a roadblock among senators in the Senate, who preferred the money come from existing taxes in the state budget. That fight began anew at the Capitol Wednesday.
Republicans are seeking to write $300 million into the state budget each year to pay back bonds to address traffic congestion, especially on interstates. Democrats remain concerned about siphoning off money for unmet needs in education, affordable housing and other social programs.
Most would prefer “new revenue,” meaning a tax hike approved by voters. Governor John Hickenlooper backs a tax hike to help pay for one of his longstanding priorities — a $9 billion backlog in state transportation projects. Now, though, Hickenlooper says he would also like to direct some of the money to water projects and new high-speed internet.
“How big a sales tax, what is included,” is still to be determined, he told Colorado Public Radio. “You know I’m a big fan of including also broadband and water infrastructure along with transportation infrastructure.”
Jesse Mallory, the state director of the conservative Americans for Prosperity, told Colorado Politics, “Talk is great, but having the discipline to prioritize existing funds to get Coloradans out of traffic is always another story. And now that the general fund has received a bump from federal tax reform, there is no excuse for the General Assembly to seek a tax increase. But if they do, AFP will be there to oppose it.”
Other media this week focusing on Colorado transportation includes:
Legislature and Misconduct
State lawmakers continue to be confronted with allegations of misconduct by its members. A third woman says she has filed a formal sexual harassment complaint against a Colorado state lawmaker.
Ex-legislative aide Cassie Tanner alleges Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock unbuttoned her blouse at a bar in 2015. She said Wednesday she didn’t file a formal complaint with legislative leaders earlier because she wasn’t sure which year the alleged incident happened.
Cassie Tanner, a former legislative aide and one of five women who have publicly accused Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock of sexual misconduct, announced Wednesday she has filed a formal sexual harassment complaint against the Thornton lawmaker, according to Colorado Politics.
Lebsock took to Twitter Wednesday afternoon to contend that House Majority Leader KC Becker had not received nor read any such complaint. However, Colorado Politics has confirmed a complaint was filed Wednesday.
Lebsock, a candidate for state treasurer, has been removed as chair of the House Local Government Committee pending the investigations.
Other media this week focusing on Rep. Steve Lebsock includes:
At the State Capitol
State lawmakers continued to look at a wide variety of bills and topics. The following are some of the those that received the most attention of lawmakers.
Colorado and a Federal Shutdown
Colorado’s U.S. senators said Thursday they wanted to stay in Washington, D.C. and work to get their bipartisan immigration deal to the Senate floor, through the House and to the president’s des - even as a very real threat of a government shutdown loomed hours away.
Sen. Michael Bennet told the Denver Post he won’t vote for another continuing resolution to keep the government funded if it doesn’t have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections included.
Also speaking to the Denver Post, Sen. Cory Gardner said would support a stopgap continuing resolution in order to fund the government, but that his preference would be for Congress to stay and work on getting the immigration deal done.
The House of Representatives voted late Thursday to pass the Republican-crafted stopgap continuing resolution, which would extend government funding into mid-February and also includes a six-year reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Other media this week focusing on a possible federal shutdown includes:
Bennet and Gardner in a last-ditch effort to save immigration deal
Bennet, Gardner still working on immigration fix
Michael Bennet, Cory Gardner ramp up push for ‘Gang of Six’ immigration fix
Government shutdown would hurt Springs economy
We asked a teacher to explain what 'government shutdown' means
Trump officials weigh keeping national parks open even if government shuts down
Denver Closer to an Amazon HQ Deal
The competition to host Amazon’s sought-after second headquarters is down to Denver and 19 other cities across North America.
On Thursday, Amazon announced it had narrowed down the crowded field of cities vying to host the company’s second headquarters, known as HQ2, to a short list of candidates that will continue in the selection process.
Others that made the cut included New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
In announcing the 20 finalists, Amazon noted that it “will work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information as necessary, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate our hiring plans as well as benefit our employees and the local community.”
Amazon offered no additional details on when they expect to select a location, saying only “we expect to make a decision in 2018,” according to 52980.com.
Other media this week focusing on Denver’s possible Amazon deal includes:
Here’s how Denver stacks up against a few of the 19 other finalists
Denver One Step Closer to Cinching Amazon HQ2
Next steps in Amazon race: Stay focused, answer questions, keep secrets
Analysis: Can Denver afford to attract Amazon?
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