BLM REMINDS ANTLER COLLECTORS TO OBSERVE OFF-ROAD RULES
The Bureau of Land Management Little Snake Field Office in Craig is reminding people planning to collect shed antlers in northern Colorado this spring that it is illegal to travel off existing roads in a motor vehicle on BLM public lands. BLM Little Snake Field Manager Wendy Reynolds says while most people responsibly search for antlers on foot or horseback, the few people that illegally leave roads on ATVs or other motorized vehicles cause tremendous damage every spring. Off-road driving can cause significant damage anytime, but moist spring soils are especially susceptible. The resulting damage can cause erosion and serious impacts to important wildlife habitat. BLM rangers will be patrolling popular shed hunting areas this spring in northwest Colorado to ensure compliance. A citation for riding an ATV off existing roads or in a closed area can result in a fine of $250. Harassing wildlife can result in a $200 fine. Northern Colorado is well-known for its quality big game resources. Shed hunters come from throughout the region, including Utah and Wyoming, to look for shed antlers every spring.
SUSTAINABILITY COUNCIL TO HOLD ENERGY ROUNDTABLE TOMORROW
The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council will host the Northwest Colorado Regional Energy Roundtable tomorrow. The day will include presentations on the Alliance’s Statewide Energy Goal and how it ties into Routt COunty, updates on energy related legislation currently being debated, economic benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and how a plan for Routt County will enhance the local economy. There will be Roundtable conversations and brainstorming exercises. You must be registered to attend, and the Council suggests a $10 donation that will help pay for lunch. The event takes place from 8:30 to 1 tomorrow at Centennial Hall in Steamboat. If you’d like to register online, you can do so by clicking here.
GUN BILLS ADVANCE IN STATE LEGISLATURE
Colorado Democrats advanced restrictions on ammunition magazines and expanded background checks as hundreds of gun advocates filled the state Capitol during an intense day in the battle over new firearm laws. The husband of former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords testified yesterday in favor of expanding background checks to include private and online sales. A Senate committee passed the bill on a 3-2 party-line vote. Giffords, a former Democratic congresswoman from Tucson, Arizona, was wounded in a mass shooting in January 2011 while meeting with constituents. Car honks blared all day outside as lawmakers discussed seven gun bills. All of them passed by the time debate ended late last night. The bills still need votes by the full Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. You can get a summary of all 7 gun bills that were advanced yesterday below (thanks to 9 News).
- BACKGROUND CHECKS: House Bill 1229 would add a background-check requirement for many guns sold in private transactions. It passed a Senate committee in a 3-2 party-line vote. The Democratic-sponsored bill has already cleared the House.
- MAGAZINE LIMITS: House Bill 1224 limits gun ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. The Democratic-sponsored bill has cleared the House, and passed Senate Judiciary on a 3-2 party line vote.
- FIREARM BAN FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OFFENDERS: Senate Bill 197 would expand a ban on gun ownership for people convicted of certain domestic-violence offenses. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line 3-2 vote Monday. One more committee vote awaits before the full Senate considers it.
- GUN LIABILITY: Senate Bill 196 adds legal liability for gun sellers and owners. The bill faced its first test Monday.
- GUNS ON CAMPUS: House Bill 1226 would end Colorado’s unusual law barring public college campuses from banning concealed weapons. The Democratic-sponsored bill has already cleared the House.
- ONLINE GUN TRAINING: Senate Bill 195 would require people seeking concealed carry permits to take gun training courses in person. The bill faced its first legislative review Monday.
- BACKGROUND CHECK FEES: House Bill 1228 would revive fees for gun purchasers who need background checks. It passed a Senate committee in a 3-2 party-line vote. The Democratic-sponsored bill has already cleared the House.
WATERSHED PROTECTION FUNDS SECURED IN DISASTER RELIEF BILL
The House Appropriations Committee announced yesterday that it has included Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) funding in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act at the request of Congressman Cory Gardner who has been working closely with the Appropriations Committee after offering an amendment to obtain the funds. The Colorado congressional delegation also sent a letter of support to the Committee. The bill calls for over $48 million to be appropriated to the EWP program in 10 states to address watershed impairments that pose imminent threat to lives and property. In 2012, wildfires such as the High Park Fire and Waldo Canyon Fire wreaked havoc on homes, businesses, and ranches across Colorado. The fires also created lasting damage to the soil in these areas, increasing the likelihood of floods and mudslides. The EWP program provides funding to restore property and land damaged by federally-declared natural disasters, reducing the risk of catastrophic damage from future natural disasters.
COMMITTEE KILLS BILL TO CHANGE HOW UTILITIES ARE REGULATED
A state legislative committee has killed a bill that would have changed the way utilities are regulated. The bill would have transferred the Colorado Public Utilities Commission’s trial advocacy staff to the Office of Consumer Council. The Office of Consumer Council would have also been required to represent large industrial customers in rate cases. Opponents argued those customers are already well represented. They also said it would appear to be a conflict of interest if PUC trial staff were working in the same agency as the PUC Commissioners. The bill was killed on a 6-4 vote in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
AVALANCHE VICTIM IDENTIFIED
The Jackson County coroner has identified the victim of an avalanche over the weekend as 26-year-old Joseph Philpott of Fort Collins. Coroner George Crocket said yesterday that Philpott died of his injuries. He said 24-year-old Alex White survived after being buried for three hours and was taken to a Fort Collins-area hospital, where his condition was not available. The snowboarders were navigating backcountry terrain when they were caught in the slide in the Paradise Bowl on the west side of the Cameron Pass on Saturday. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said yesterday the danger of snow slides in Colorado is considerable in northern and central Colorado.
In Colorado 3-A District playoffs:
Both Moffat County teams now advance to the State Tournament round of 32/16, where a single loss eliminates a team from the tournament. As the district champion the Moffat County girls will host a round of 32 and 16 sub-regional tournament on March 8th and 9th. On Friday the Moffat County girls (19-3) will play Broomfield’s Jefferson Academy (10-12). With a win they will play the winner of the Kent Denver (18-4) Middle Park (14-7) game on Saturday.
The Moffat County boys (18-4) will travel to Brush to face Classical Academy (14-8) on Friday. With a win they will play the winner of the Brush (19-3) and Basalt (8-14) game on Saturday.
This weekend the Meeker girls (16-6) and the Hayden boys (20-2) will both play in the single elimination Regional tournament at Grand Junction High School. On Friday Meeker will take on Dolores (15-6) and Hayden will play Sangre De Cristo (15-7). With wins, Meeker will face the winner of the Simla (15-6) Sargent (13-9) game, and Hayden will play the winner of the Dolores (15-6) and Yuma (19-2) game.
This weekend the Rangely girls (12-10) and the Meeker boys (16-6) will both play in the single elimination Regional tournament at Mullen High School. On Friday Rangely will take on Wray (10-12) and Meeker will play Haxtun (16-5). With wins, Meeker will face the winner of the Denver Christian (16-6) Highland (7-15) game, and Rangely will play the winner of the Lutheran (21-0) and Heritage Christian (14-8) game.