NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR FRIDAY, MARCH 29TH

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TIPTON PUSHES FOR PROTECTION FOR MINERAL ROYALTIES

Yesterday, Representative Scott Tipton urged the Obama Administration to uphold its obligations to rural communities and immediately halt its raid on mineral and timber royalty revenues vital for education, infrastructure, emergency services, and public safety in counties with large expanses of un-taxable federal lands.  This week the Administration announced there would be $110 million in deductions to federal mineral royalties paid to states due to sequestration. Colorado stands to lose $8.4 million because of the misguided decision.  The Administration also announced this week that it would implement a retroactive reduction to Secure Rural Schools payments made to counties starting in January, 2013. These payments were made to states based on fiscal year 2012 royalty revenues, but the Administration is making retroactive reductions to them under the guise of the sequester which pertains to Fiscal Year 13 revenues.  Tipton joined with his Western colleagues in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack yesterday, urging that the Administration immediately halt this action and explain their legal authority for retroactively raiding Fiscal Year 12 funds already paid to states.  You can see the letter in full by clicking the link below:

Read the full letter here.

 

LAWMAKERS WANT THOSE WITHOUT OIL AND GAS KNOWLEDGE TO SET POLICY

The oil and gas industry in Colorado is getting a critical look from state lawmakers, some of whom voted yesterday to curb the industry’s sway on the commission that regulates drilling.  A bill approved by a Democratic House committee yesterday would prevent people who are currently working for oil and gas companies to also serve on the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. The move would be a dramatic turnaround for a commission that is tasked with both promoting drilling and keeping the public safe from its negative effects.  Supporters of the bill say that it’s a conflict of interest to ask people to vote on policies that affect their employers. A stream of industry representatives and mineral-rights owners argued that oil and gas workers have valuable expertise.

 

OBAMA TO VISIT COLORADO TO HAIL GUN CONTROL BILLS

President Obama is coming to Colorado to highlight the state’s gun control push as he tries to convince Congress to tackle the issue. Obama is scheduled to come Wednesday.  The White House says the president will meet with law enforcement and community leaders to discuss the gun control package signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper. Colorado has gone farther than any state outside the northeast in passing new gun laws.  The state now prohibits the sale of magazines that hold more than 15 bullets and requires background checks for all private gun sales.  Hundreds lined the street in Grand Junction last week during the governor’s visit to the Club 20 Spring meetings, protesting his signing of the latest gun bills.  Democrats passed the laws over strong Republican and citizen objections. Democrats said they were reacting to massacres at an Aurora movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.  Obama has been unable to get similar measures through Congress.

 

LESS CONTROVERSIAL GUN BILLS PASSED IN STATE HOUSE

The Colorado House gave initial OK to requiring in-person training for conceal-carry permits and strengthening a ban on gun ownership by domestic-violence offenders.  The proposals passed the House Judiciary committee yesterday and still need consideration from the full chamber.  One bill would allow some online gun education for permit-seekers, but would require them to show handgun competency in person. Another bill strengthens a ban on gun ownership by domestic-violence offenders by requiring them to relinquish their firearms.  Other bills that have already been signed into law, including limits on ammunition magazines, have generated more controversy.  The bills are part of the Democrats’ package of new gun legislation responding to mass shootings last year in Connecticut and suburban Denver.

 

LAWMAKERS QUESTION ADEQUACY OF MARIJUANA ENFORCEMENT DIVISION

Lawmakers are questioning whether the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division is up to the task of regulating recreational marijuana rules.  An audit blasting the division was brought up at yesterday’s meeting, casting doubt on its adequacy.  The Division is scheduled to morph into what will be known as simply the Marijuana Enforcement Division, and, under the state’s plan, would be in charge of regulating all pot enterprises in Colorado.  It’s not clear how lawmakers will address the issues.  The state’s regulations must be in place by July 1st, or the responsibility of regulation falls to local governments.

 

COLORADO’S BUDGET SHOWS SPENDING INCREASES

Next year’s budget for Colorado has passed the state Senate with funding increases for public schools, higher education, and money for construction projects at colleges and state buildings.  The budget passed yesterday on a 19-15 vote. All Republicans voted no.  Republicans say budget spending is growing faster than the state economy. But Democrats say they’ve been prudent and left some aside in savings for future years.  The spending plan also includes a pay raise for state employees – the first in four years.  The House will now consider the budget.

In high school sports:
Yesterday:

In girls soccer:
Steamboat beat Eagle Valley (5-4).
Moffat County topped Vail Christian (5-0).

In boys lacrosse:
Steamboat defeated Bountiful (7-2).

Today:
In girls soccer:
Moffat County plays in Rangely at 4.

In Track:
Soroco runs at the Central Invitational in Grand Junction at noon.
Steamboat goes to Broomfield.

In girls tennis:
Steamboat goes to Poudre at 4.

Tomorrow:
In baseball:
Meeker goes to Hotchkiss for a double header.
Steamboat hosts a double header with Eagle Valley.  The first game starts at 11.
Moffat County heads to Gunnison for a double header, with the first game starting at 11.
Rangely hosts Roosevelt, Utah at 3.

In girls soccer:
Steamboat is home against Battle Mountain at 11.

In boys lacrosse:
Steamboat goes to Rock Canyon at 11.

In girls lacrosse:
Steamboat hosts Eagle Valley at 3:30.

In track:
Little Snake River Valley runs at the Roy Peck Invite in Riverton at 9.
Rangely goes to Cedaredge at 9.

In girls tennis:
Steamboat is on the road for a match against Fossil Ridge at 10, and another against Thompson valley at 2.

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