No sign of fracking ghost bill; bills OK’d on trains; Alzheimer’s; phone snooping

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]TILL no word by Thursday afternoon on the oil-and-gas local-control ghost bill. The clock is ticking fast. There’s only six days to go before the curtain comes down on this year’s big show at the Gold Dome, and Gov. Hickenlooper yesterday seemed to have no more clarifying intelligence on the bill’s likely materialization than did speculating members of the media.

There is this from a Capitol Insider:

“The whole It’s Hickenlooper versus Polis frame has been overstated for effect.”

“What effect, exactly?”

The answer was a pregnant pause meant to ask a sarcastic question: How about the end-of-session election-year news-media-personality effect?

Celebrity news

Dog, the reality teevee bounty hunter, paced the halls as lawmakers considered a bail bonds bill. The Colorado Statesman’s Peter Marcus got the shot for #coleg Twitter audiences.


The beloved Southwest Chief and the dreaded Metro Denver emperors

The storied Amtrak rail line called the Southwest Chief runs between Chicago and Los Angeles, through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. It only clips Colorado, however, chugging over the southeast corner through Lamar, Las Animas, La Junta and Trinidad. But it misses the city of Pueblo, anchor of southeast Colorado. It’s a problem that needs solving, said Pueblo Republican freshman senator George Rivera in a rare impassioned speech (which he quickly YouTubed and tweet-advertised).

Rivera asked his colleagues to support House Bill 1161, sponsored by Pueblo Democrat Leroy Garcia in the House and Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, and Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, in the Senate. The bill would establish a commission and secure tax money to help woo Amtrak to Pueblo. Rivera painted a picture of the development a new interstate train stop would bring, pointing to the bustling development that has erupted around the Union Station project in Denver. How about bringing some of that to Pueblo? he said.

sw chief

“I’m asking my colleagues here to help put an end to that notion, that belief in southern Colorado, that it’s all abut Denver Metro — make people believe and understand that it’s not just all Denver Metro centric up here, that we know there are, in fact, other parts of the state… It’s time you support our vision as well. It’s time you come along with us to make Colorado a better state.”

Just a minute there, said Guzman, a metro-Denver lawmaker.

“My daddy was a rail man for twenty years,” she said, smiling. “Colorado has so many treasures. I really believe in rail’s ability to open up the state. It will help parts of the state — instead of dying, they can come to life and bring more life of the whole state.”

The bill won wide support in its second reading. It has to survive one more reading.

Budget recap

Ed Sealover at the Denver Business Journal wrote the best short overview of this year’s state budget, which the governor signed yesterday. Investment! is the catchword — investment in college students, businesses and state reserves for the lean times.

Stop even thinking about following me!

As has become clear, over the last decade, Big Brother has mightily abused its snooping power in the United States. So, can there be enough protections for citizens against surveillance? No there can not. That was the general sentiment when the Senate this morning voted unanimously in favor of SB 193, sponsored by President Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, and Kevin Lundberg, R-Loveland. The bill would reinforce laws requiring authorities to secure a court-issued warrant in order to track people’s location by monitoring GPS-equipped mobile phones.

The bill now moves to the House, where it is sponsored by Boulder Democrat Jon Singer.

Take notice

Senate Bill 211, sponsored by Mike Johnston, D-Denver, and David Balmer, R-Centennial, would create an Alzheimer’s research center at the University of Colorado medical school meant to attract national researchers and national funding. The bill comes partly in response to pathbreaking work being done now at the school by Dr. Huttington Potter — the kind of work that can blow a field wide open and translate as fast advances in treatment.

Potter found that people who have rheumatoid arthritis don’t get Alzheimer’s disease due to a protein released in the brain. So he created mice with Alzheimer’s and injected the mice with the protein. After 20 days, the mice experienced “complete reversal of cognitive impairment,” as Alan Arnette puts it at his Alzheimer’s site.

“If you haven’t heard Dr. Potter’s name, you will,” said Balmer.

Colorado Springs Republican Owen Hill got up to speak at the well and encouraged Republicans to support the bill. “I’ve talked a lot about the proper role of government,” he said. “This is it.” He said the government in this case was, in effect, planting a seed, making a start on something too big for individuals to tackle on their own.

“This disease affects us all… With this bill we’re doing something that will attract free enterprise support,” he said.

Johnston thanked Hill afterward and Hill patted Johnston on the back. They smiled, two spry figures with full heads of hair and big ideas — and still seated, for now in the back row of the chamber.

* Note: Capitol Notebook daily correspondent Tessa Cheek back on tomorrow.