NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR FRIDAY, APRIL 26TH

STATEWIDE GROUP URGES OPPOSITION OF SENATE BILL 252

The Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry is urging residents to tell their legislators to oppose Senate Bill 13-252, which they say will raise electric rates for rural consumers.  The bill would raise the renewable energy standard at Tri-State Generation and Transmission in Craig from 10% to 25% by the year 2020.  Tri-State officials say it’s impossible.  Scores of people testified against the bill while it was in committee, and Senate President and author of the bill John Morse drew snickers from the chamber when he couldn’t explain how it works.  Still the Democratic controlled Senate has passed the measure and it is making its way through the House.  The Association has set up a website to make it easy to tell your representative to say “no” to the bill.

 

TIPTON HEADS HEARING ON WATER RIGHTS

Representative Scott Tipton spearheaded a hearing in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power, yesterday, to draw attention to recent federal attempts to circumvent long-established state water law in the Western United States in order to hijack privately held water rights. With Colorado jobs and the economic health of rural communities at stake, Tipton has led the charge in Congress to protect privately held water rights in Colorado and other Western states.  In her testimony, Geraldine Link of the National Ski Areas Association, laid out what is at stake for Colorado’s economy should the federal government succeed in taking away privately held water rights that ski areas, communities and other businesses rely on for their livelihoods.  She said ski areas have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on water rights to support and enhance their operations, and water is crucial to future growth of ski areas directly impacting the rural economies associated with ski areas, which employ 160,000 people a year.  The Federal government is worried those rights could be resold by private parties.  However, Tipton’s questioning revealed that there has never been such a case, and the issue is one that has been “made up” by the federal government.

 

MEDICAL POT SHOPS TO GET HEAD START IN RECREATIONAL SALES

Medical pot shops will get a head start when Colorado opens recreational pot sales next year. And the drug could be taxed more than 30 percent. That’s according to measures adopted yesterday in a state House committee.  One of the bills gives current medical marijuana licensees a nine-month exclusive. The existing industry was lobbying for a much longer head start, but lawmakers rolled it back out of concerns they’d give medical shops an unfair advantage.  The committee also approved taxes up to 30 percent on recreational pot. Voters will get the final say. The 30 percent taxes could be in addition to local pot taxes, meaning consumers could pay more.  The marijuana bills could see debate by the full House as soon as today.

 

COURT UPHOLDS EMPLOYERS RIGHTS OVER MARIJUANA

A Dish Network employee who lost his job over off duty marijuana use has lost his appeal, giving employers the nod to demand that their employees be pot free even in off hours.  Although the employee, who uses the drug for medical reasons, was up front with his employers about his use, the company fired him when his test came back positive.  The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld that decision yesterday, ruling that because the drug is still illegal under federal law, Colorado employees can’t consider use of the drug lawful.  There was one dissenting opinion.  The issue will likely be taken to the State Supreme Court.

 

BILL EXPANDING MEDICAID COVERAGE MOVES CLOSER TO APPROVAL

A bill to expand Medicaid coverage in Colorado is closer to final approval.  The state House voted yesterday to increase the income cap for needy adults to qualify for the health assistance. The change could add some 160,000 Colorado adults to public health care assistance.  The federal government covers the entire cost of the expansion for the first three years, and Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper has already directed state health authorities to prepare for expansion.  The measure has already passed the Senate.

 

TWO DRUG OFFENDERS ARRESTED IN WYOMING

Two people, a Rock Springs man and a woman from Utah, were arrested by Sweetwater County officers last week on felony-grade drug charges.  Spokesman Dick Blust of the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office says it seems the two were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  On April 19, two members of the new Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Apprehension Team were at a home on Clark Street in Rock Springs attempting to locate a wanted individual when a pickup pulled up to the residence.  The driver, 26 year old Manuel Maez, wasn’t the man the deputies were looking for at that moment, but they recognized him to be a fugitive wanted on probation violation and drug charges and took him into custody.  With Maez in the pickup was 24-year-old Brittney Solt, of Taylorsville, Utah.  The deputies asked her if there were any drugs in the vehicle, and she produced a plastic baggy of marijuana, a baggy of methamphetamine, q-tips, and rolling papers.  Solt next took from her purse two syringes that contained methamphetamine and she, too, was placed under arrest. In addition, she had a variety of prescription drugs in her possession and, when she was booked into the Sweetwater County Detention Center, was found to be carrying 30 balloons of heroin.  Both individuals face several drug charges.  They remain in custody at the Sweetwater County Detention Center.

 

In high school sports:
Yesterday:
In girls soccer:
Moffat County beat Aspen (1-0).

Today:
In girls soccer:
Rangely travels to Grand Valley for a game at 4.

In track:
Moffat County hosts a meet at noon with Soroco, Steamboat, Meeker and Hayden attending.
Little Snake River Valley goes to the Carbon County Invite in Rawlins at 11.

Tomorrow:
In baseball:
Meeker hosts a double header with Paonia.
Moffat County is home for a double header with Coal Ridge.  The first game starts at 11.
Rangely welcomes Hotchkiss for a double header, with the first game starting at 11.

In girls soccer:
Moffat County is home against Rangely at 11.

In track:
Soroco goes to West Grand at 8:30.
Little Snake River Valley heads to the Saratoga Invite at 9:30.

In boys swimming:
Moffat County goes to Thornton at 7.