The Home Front: Colorado lawmakers use a panel dedicated to veterans issues as a ‘kill committee’

“Rep. Stephen Humphrey, R-Greeley, represents House District 48. On the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, where bills go to die, Humphrey represents the minority opinion more often than he’d like,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Humphrey regularly sees what amounts to a Republican wish list scheduled for a vote in his committee. Bills for concealed handguns on school grounds, a make-my-day law for businesses and a reduction in business personal property taxes are among the bills the committee has killed this legislative session. But that’s the nature of the committee in which he serves. Folks who hang around the Legislature — and even legislators themselves — call it the “kill committee,” and for good reason: A staggering 86 percent of the bills sent to Humphrey’s committee have been killed. Another 80 percent have been killed in the Senate’s version of the same committee.”

“Senate Democrats made clear Wednesday they don’t much care for the Republicans’ signature measure to issue bonds to pay for transportation projects, but they also tried to show their disdain for one of the bill’s sponsors,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “They did both on the floor of the Colorado Senate by attempting to filibuster a bill introduced by Sen. Randy Baumgardner, the northwest Colorado Republican who they have been trying to expel from the Legislature because of sexual harassment complaints against him.”

“Cub Creek Energy is planning a new oil and gas project near Longmont’s Union Reservoir that could more than quadruple the number of active wells in the immediate vicinity of the popular recreation area,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Plans submitted last year to the city show that two parcels, known as the Koester and Pietrzak sites, would each include a pad with as many as 24 wells. The third property, called the Hernor site, would house production and storage operations on city-owned land. Cub Creek’s oil and gas well application and a series of other documents shed light on the company’s plans, which include hydraulic fracturing.”

“Pueblo Police Chief Troy Davenport said Wednesday that his officers are being told by homeless people regularly that they have come to Colorado for marijuana and some specifically to Pueblo because of the climate,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “‘They come to either extensively get jobs in the marijuana field or as it ends up, most of the time to just get marijuana,’ Davenport said. The chief disputed a study by Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Institute of Cannabis Research, saying it did not include the information he has had relayed to him from officers pertaining to homelessness and poverty. The study said Black Hills Energy’s disconnection of service to thousands of power users was a key — if not the key — reason for the local homeless problem. Black Hills strongly disputed that conclusion, pointing out that the overwhelming majority of those accounts disconnected were reconnected, and that the factors for homelessness are varied.”

“Students from Steamboat Springs High school walked out of class this morning to protest gun violence and remember the victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people and injured another 17 just one month ago,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “‘Living in Steamboat and living in our safe community, we really feel like we need to not be complacent with all the violence that’s happening around the nation,” said Samantha Lee, one of seven seniors who helped organize the walkout. “We need to use our voices and speak out. Even if we feel like we are not in immediate danger, this is still something that absolutely affects us and will affect our kids in the future.”

“The developer that brought Uncommon to Fort Collins is eyeing the downtown River District for up to 200 new market-rate apartments,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “CA Ventures of Chicago, Illinois, has proposed between 190 and 200 apartments in two five-story buildings. The project sits on 2 acres along Willow Street, north of Linden Street, where redevelopment is underway on several properties. The property is north of the 54-unit Mill House apartments and Ginger and Baker. While still preliminary, the project has been through a city-required neighborhood meeting.”

“Mayor Jacki Marsh of Loveland raised hackles at the city earlier this month after she raised questions and offered theories about the sale of the Larimer County building at Sixth Street and Cleveland Avenue in downtown Loveland,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Members of the commercial real estate community say one of Marsh’s points, that the building could be sold for a greater amount than agreed upon, does not hold up. Marsh’s estimate that a downtown Loveland office building could sell at between $130 and $200 per square foot would ordinarily be correct, but she did not take into account the county building’s need for repairs, two local commercial brokers said. There is a significant difference between a move-in-ready office and one that needs millions of dollars in repairs, as the county building does, they said.”

“Sofia Goggia and Lindsey Vonn each had something to celebrate when their season-long rivalry in downhill concluded Wednesday. Goggia followed up her Olympic downhill gold by claiming the season-long World Cup title in the discipline, while Vonn narrowly beat Goggia to win the race at World Cup finals and record career victory No. 82,” reports The Associated Press in Vail Daily.

“What was supposed to be a walkout to protest deadly violence in schools turned into a building lockout Wednesday in the Florence-Penrose and Cañon City school districts,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Florence Police Chief Mike DeLaurentis said detectives and investigators with the district attorney’s office are questioning a person of interest in connection with a threatening social media post, created ahead of protests planned for Wednesday. The post, which depicted part of a weapon, was reported to Florence police, DeLaurentis said, and an investigation began in the early hours of the day.”

“When Daniel Cheng read that Jesse Green had become the first cyclist killed on a Boulder County road in 2018, he wanted his friend to be remembered as not just a statistic, but as an avid biker and talented artist,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “‘He and his fiance had taken about six or seven months and left their jobs,” Cheng said. “They repurposed a van and basically traveled most of the western part of the country and into Canada. They had an amazing journey together.” The Boulder County Coroner’s Office confirmed Wednesday that Green, 35, was the cyclist killed after he was struck by a car at the intersection of Jay Road and 63rd Street on Monday.”

“A third to a half of Palmer High School’s 1,650 students walked out of class at 10 a.m., Wednesday to honor students killed in a Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Fla., and call for gun reform and an end to school violence,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Students, parents and other community supporters held signs saying ‘Protect Kids Not Guns,’ ‘Enough!’ and other messages, as part of a nationwide protest issued by the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group.”

“Denver City Council members’ joint statement opposing further investigation into Mayor Michael Hancock’s text message scandal has drawn quick scorn from critics who accused the council of failing to hold the mayor accountable,” reports The Denver Post. “In particular, some took issue with the Tuesday statement’s rationale of deferring to the still-unknown wishes of the police officer who received Hancock’s suggestive texts. “Once an abuse of power is uncovered, it is not something a simple apology should fix,” said Colleen Zahradnicek, who has filed to run for a council seat in the May 2019 election against an incumbent, Kendra Black of southeast Denver. ‘We can and should expect our city leaders not to sexually harass their employees. We can do better than tolerating this behavior.'”

“The yearly report on everything that has gone wrong — and right — for Denver’s thousands of law officers has arrived,” reports Denverite. “Published by the city’s police oversight agency, the newly released document tracks all of the law officers who were fired or significantly disciplined in 2017, along with those who received commendations. In all, three sheriff’s employees were fired, while nine more quit or retired before they could be disciplined. No police officers were fired, but eight more left before they could be disciplined.”

“The Colorado Senate considered a bill to beef up funding for transportation without raising taxes Wednesday, but it bogged down in amendments about where the money would go, as well as delivering a tacit protest of the bill’s sponsor,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “Senate Bill 1 would ask voters in November to set aside more than $300 million a year in existing sales taxes and fees to repay more than $3.5 billion in loans to jump-start major projects, especially widening Interstate 25 north of Monument and Denver, as well as the I-70 mountain corridor. “There is no greater unmet need in the state of Colorado in terms of growing our statewide economy to benefit everyone,” said Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, one of the bill’s sponsors. He cited the state’s growing budget, including a boost from the federal tax cuts passed by Republicans in Congress, which granted across-the-board tax cuts while doing about with tax breaks that the state will now be able to collect on.”

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.