NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR THURSDAY, MARCH 21ST

HICKENLOOPER SIGNS GUN BILLS, LOCAL SHERIFFS WON’T ENFORCE

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has signed bills placing new restrictions on firearms exactly eight months after dozens of people were shot in a movie theater in suburban Denver.  The bills signed yesterday require background checks for private and online gun sales and ban ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds or can be converted to hold more than 15 rounds, which covers nearly all magazines sold.  The signing comes the same day as the executive director of the state’s Corrections Department was shot and killed at his home.  Jane Dougherty, whose sister was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, was among the guests invited to the signing.  The proposals signal a historic change for Democrats who traditionally have shied away from a battle over gun control in a state where owning a gun is as common as owning a car in some rural areas.  Some sheriff’s in Colorado, including Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins and Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz say they won’t enforce the new laws, which they say are unenforceable and make criminals out of law abiding citizens.

 

TIPTON’S HYDROPOWER BILL ADVANCES

Yesterday, the House Natural Resources Committee advanced with bipartisan support Representative Scott Tipton’s legislation that would create rural jobs by expanding the production of clean renewable hydropower. The Hydropower and Rural Jobs Act could receive a vote in the House as early as the next week the House is in session.  Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming has introduced a Senate companion to Tipton’s bill this session.  The legislation, which received a Senate Water and Power Subcommittee hearing last year before time ran out in the session to pass it, will have a direct impact on Colorado’s 3rd District where there is significant potential to expand hydropower development on existing Bureau of Reclamation canals and conduits that have already undergone environmental analysis.  The bill would accomplish this by streamlining red tape and reducing administrative costs for the installation of small canal and pipeline hydropower development projects. Increased small hydropower installation will create local jobs, add clean, affordable electricity to the grid to power homes and communities, modernize infrastructure, and supply the federal government with additional revenues.

 

STEAMBOAT OFFERS ONLINE TAX FILING

The City of Steamboat is now offering online sales tax filing through Xpress Bill Pay. Beginning immediately, businesses with a Steamboat sales tax license will be able to file and remit monthly, quarterly, or annual sales tax returns online.  Filing can be completed through the Xpress Bill Pay website. This is the same bill pay system that Steamboat utility customers currently use for online utility payments.  Letters are being sent out to all licensed vendors providing them with an individual online filing PIN number as well as full instructions on the filing process.  If you have questions, you can call 871-8251.

 

MAGPUL STARTS LEAVING COLORADO

The firearms company that said it would leave the state if gun control bills were signed by Governor Hickenlooper is making good on its promise.  Reports say Magpul is considering states such as Texas, Utah and Wyoming for relocating its business.  The magazine limit bill alone is expected to take a major toll on the company, and they plan to be completely out of the state by the end of the year.  Out of state manufacturing starts next month.  The move means a loss of hundreds of jobs in Colorado.  The company has been in Colorado since 1999.

 

DEATH PENALTY REPEAL ON HOLD

Colorado’s debate over repealing the death penalty will stay on hold, for now. A second legislative committee in as many days delayed consideration on proposals to do away with the death penalty.  Tuesday’s delay came on a bill to ask voters whether the death penalty should be repealed. The bill is a rival to a separate measure to repeal the punishment outright.  The sponsor of the ballot measure is a death penalty supporter whose son was killed in 2005. Two men await execution in Colorado for his death.  Representative Rhonda Fields says she put her ballot proposal on hold because she wants to see whether fellow Democrats move forward with the direct repeal. She says voters would keep the death penalty if given the choice.

 

WILDFIRE AND FLOOD AWARENESS WEEK

This week is national Wildfire and Flood Awareness Week.  The proclamation was made by the Governor Hickenlooper.  The idea is to make residents aware of the dangers of wildfires and floods in the spring and summer months.  Last year’s wildfire season was devastating, particularly on the Front Range.  The rainy season can also cause burned areas to be prone to flooding.  Local officials remind residents to be vigilant this year when it comes to protection from wildfires.  The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service have had to scale back their firefighting budgets this year, due to the federal sequester.

 

IRS HOLDING MILLIONS IN UNCLAIMED REFUNDS DUE TO COLORADANS

More than 17,000 residents statewide are owed tax refunds from the 2009 tax year.  The IRS estimates that half of these unclaimed refunds in Colorado are more than $550 each, amounting to nearly $17 million total throughout the state. The deadline to collect tax refunds from 2009 is April 15th.  Individuals looking to claim their 2009 refund must have filed returns for 2010 and 2011 to be eligible. Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of the IRS website or by calling their toll free number 800-829-3676. Taxpayers who are missing forms should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer.

In high school sports:
Today:

In girls soccer:
Steamboat host Eagle Valley at 6.

In girls lacrosse:
Steamboat goes to Eagle Valley at 5:30.

Tomorrow:
In track:
Little Snake River Valley runs at the Natrona Invite in Casper at 9.

In boys lacrosse:
Steamboat goes to Grand Junction to play Durango at 3.