NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 1ST

Senator Udall Says Civil Unions Is Only The First Step

As a new law allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions takes effect today, Mark Udall congratulated the thousands of Coloradans lining up around the state to publicly affirm their shared responsibilities to each other.  Udall pledged to keep fighting for full marriage equality to ensure that all Americans are treated equally under the law, regardless of whom they love.  “All couples should be able to make a long-term and public commitment to the person they love with the guarantee of equal rights to protect and care for their families — and starting today, thousands of Colorado couples will have the opportunity to move one step closer to that ideal.  Our communities are strengthened by allowing all gay and lesbian couples to proclaim their shared commitments and responsibilities to their loved ones under the law, just as I have with my own wife,” Udall said.  “Passing civil unions was a major step to immediately secure important protections for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered  families, but the conversation has only just started.  We need to keep the dialogue going forward toward the next step: marriage equality.”

FIREFIGHTERS RESPOND TO VEHICLE FIRE ON HIGHWAY 13

Emergency personnel responded to a vehicle fire on Highway 13 about a mile south of Craig early this morning.  Craig Fire Chief Bill Johnston says the brakes on the rear wheels of a crude oil tanker caught fire.  His crew was able to put the blaze out before it spread to the tank.  The fire left the vehicle immobilized, and a tow truck was called to haul it away.  Nobody was injured.

RENTERS WILL BE ALLOWED TO VOTE ON SHADOW MOUNTAIN ISSUE

Renters will get to vote on water and sewer line improvements in the Shadow Mountain Subdivision.  That’s according to Moffat County officials, who say the law allows renters to vote on issues affecting their living areas.  The preliminary stages of a project that would replace aging lines underground in the subdivision is a collaboration between the City of Craig and Moffat County.  The issue will go to a vote in November, and only those with interest in the subdivision will be allowed to vote on it.  That includes renters and owners, as long as they are registered to vote in Colorado.  Out of state residents who own property in the neighborhood will NOT be allowed to vote.

 

BENNET TO SEND STAFF TO HEAR VETERANS’ ISSUES

Senator Michael Bennet will send staff to Northwest Colorado next week for a veteran’s roundtable.  The idea is to give all veterans the ability to discuss veterans issues with the staff.  They will presumably take the information back to the Senator, who will decide what bills to craft based on the information.  Once again, Bennet himself will skip the trip.  A roundtable will be held at Kilowatt Corner in Meeker from 9:30 to noon.  Another will be held from 1 to 3:30 at the American Legion Post in Craig.

 

RENEWABLE ENERGY BILL ALTERED, UP FOR VOTE IN HOUSE

A controversial bill that could raise power bills in rural Colorado was expected to see a final vote yesterday in the state House.  The bill would require a higher renewable energy standard for Colorado’s rural cooperative electric associations.  The bill requires the electricity co-ops to get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, up from 10 percent, but down from the originally proposed 25%.  The measure limits consumer rate hikes to pay for the renewable energy upgrade to 2 percent. But the co-ops affected warn it would drive up prices for mostly rural customers.  Tri-State officials in Craig say the mandates are impossible, due to contract obligations.  They say it will also be too costly, considering they can only pass a portion of the upgrade costs on to consumers.  The bill also expands the definition of renewable energy to include coal-mine methane and gas produced from solid waste.  The bill has already passed the Senate in a stronger form.

 

STATE REPUBLICANS FIGHTING VOTER CHANGES BILL

Senate Republicans are fighting major changes to how elections are run in Colorado and expect to argue for hours against same-day registration and sending ballots by mail to all registered voters.  Republicans immediately set a partisan tone yesterday evening by blasting Democrats for considering such a massive proposal with a week left in the legislative session. A GOP lawmaker asked that the entire 128-page bill be read to make a point.  The bill has already cleared the House with unanimous opposition from Republicans.  The proposal also establishes voting centers. Voters can cast ballots at any location, as opposed to having to go to a designated precinct polling place. Precinct polling places would be eliminated.  The bill would also eliminate the category of “inactive” voters. That designation restricts their ability to get ballots by mail.

 

FEDERAL LAWMAKERS IN DENVER FOR CONGRESSIONAL WESTERN CONGRESS

The Congressional Western Caucus will be holding a field hearing tomorrow at the State Capitol. Representatives Scott Tipton, Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn will join Western Caucus co-chairs Representatives Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming to examine state-based solutions to forest health and wildfire prevention. Tipton is the sponsor of legislation to increase state and local involvement in proactive forest management on federal lands.  Members and witnesses will examine Colorado’s state-led forest management practices and how Colorado’s experience can inform other Western states and the federal government. Western Caucus members will hear from local and state officials on Colorado’s forest management tools, wildfire recovery efforts, and how the federal government can compliment western states to achieve our shared objectives of a healthy landscape.  The hearing will shed light on real world examples of the ripple effects of wildfire devastation, the extent of the challenges with the current forest management structure, and help facilitate a discussion on what needs to be done to keep our forests healthy for generations to come.

 

MAGPUL STARTS MANUFACTURING MAGAZINES OUT OF STATE

A Colorado gun accessories manufacturer that vowed to leave the state because of a new gun control law says it is now making some items out-of-state.  Erie-based Magpul revealed the move in a Facebook posting late Monday in response to a customer question. The posting said PMAG magazines, which can hold 10 to 30 rounds, are being made out of Colorado for the first time. Sights are also being made elsewhere.  The company plans to reveal more details about the move after the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston this weekend.  Officials and gun owners in various states, including Wyoming and Alaska, have tried to lure Magpul since Colorado passed a law banning magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

In high school sports:
Yesterday:

In girls lacrosse:
Steamboat beat Summit (15-9).

In girls soccer:
Steamboat fell to Palisade (3-1)

Today:
In girls soccer:
Moffat County heads to Fruita Monument at 4.

In girls tennis:
Steamboat goes to regionals in Grand Junction.

Tomorrow:
In boys lacrosse:
Steamboat hosts Summit at 4.

In girls tennis:
Steamboat continues at regionals in Grand Junction.

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