REPUBLICANS TO ATTEMPT GUN LAW REPEALS
Democrats so far this session have methodically rejected every Republican attempt to expand gun rights or chip away at the gun-control measures passed last year. Republicans get another attempt today, when a House committee reviews a bill to repeal the 15-round ammunition magazine limit. A similar GOP magazine bill is heard in the Senate. There’s little reason to think the measures stand a chance in Democrat-controlled committees. Background checks are also up for debate this week. Colorado’s new law requiring background checks on private gun transfers exempts immediate relatives – but not step-relations. A Republican attempt to give step-relations the same exemption is up for its first review Friday. Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper, who insists the new gun laws won’t be repealed, said last week that he had no problem with changing the transfer statute to exempt step-relations.
BILL WOULD REIMBURSE FINES FOR LACK OF HEALTH COVERAGE
Republicans are taking aim at the new federal health care law. A bill facing its first hearing today would direct the state to reimburse people fined for failing to get health insurance, a certain non-starter in the Democratic Legislature. Another GOP bill getting a hearing Thursday in the House Health, Insurance & Environment Committee would order a performance audit of Colorado’s state-run insurance exchange. The exchange and the law creating it have come under fire from Republicans since the law’s inception.
SENATE TO TAKE UP ELECTION PROPOSALS
The Senate is scheduled to vote today on an elections bill to make eligibility requirements uniform across the state. The bill has sharp opposition from Republicans, who don’t like same-day registration and the requirement that all voters get mailed ballots. But the measure has already cleared the House and is on track to be one of the first bills to the governor’s desk this year. Similar measures were opposed by Republicans last year, but were also passed along democratic party lines.
GESSLER TO BE QUESTIONED ABOUT OFFICE’S BUDGET
State lawmakers who oversee the budget think Secretary of State Scott Gessler will have to cut spending by $2.5 million and eliminate one or two positions to balance his office’s budget. Gessler blames the budget problems on a Democratic bill which changed election rules. However, it was reported last month that Gessler’s decision to cut fees reduced what had been the office’s $7 million surplus. Members of the Joint Budget Committee are concerned and have asked Gessler for details about his plans to balance the budget. Gessler spokesman Rich Coolidge says much of what the committee members said was “blatantly wrong” and that the secretary would be more than happy to talk to them. Pictured: Scott Gessler
GRANTS MADE AVAILABLE FOR CONSERVATION EFFORTS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for competitive grants to develop and accelerate conservation approaches and technologies on private agricultural and forest lands. About $15 million will be made available nationwide by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Priority will be given to applications that relate to nutrient management, energy conservation, soil health, air quality, climate change, wildlife, economics, sociology, environmental markets, food safety, historically underserved groups, or assessments of past CIG projects. In the 10 years that NRCS has administered the program, grants have helped develop water quality trading markets, demonstrated ways to increase fertilizer water and energy efficiencies, as well as address other resource concerns. The grant program enables NRCS to work with public and private partners to accelerate technology development and adopt promising approaches to address natural resource concerns. For more about the program, or to apply online, visit the appropriate link below.
GARDNER WANTS ANSWERS REGARDING HIGH PROPANE PRICES
Representative Cory Gardner (CO-04) sent a letter to President Obama Friday regarding the ongoing propane crisis currently taking place across the country, and specifically in Colorado. Gardner has heard from numerous constituents complaining of significantly higher propane prices, and has asked the Obama Administration for answers as costs for consumers continue to rise. In the letter, Gardner asks the president whether any relief to the crisis is in the immediate future, whether any regulatory limitations are getting in the way of a solution, and whether there are any other relief actions being considered. It’s been reported that propane prices have tripled in some areas during stretches of below freezing weather. Pictured: Cory Gardner
BROPHY LOOKING FORWARD TO DEBATES
State Senator Greg Brophy is reiterating his commitment to debating fellow Republicans running for Governor. Brophy says that through debates, voters get the opportunity to hear distinctions between candidates that are nearly impossible to discover through websites and campaign flyers. He says debates also help candidates strengthen and clarify their campaigns as they go into the general election. State Senator Greg Brophy questions those that aren’t committed to the debate process. He says not participating in debates among fellow republicans will leave a candidate wanting when facing the incumbant in a later debate. Senator Brophy has agreed to participate in an upcoming debate and is open to other debate opportunities leading up to the State Assembly on April 12th. Pictured: Greg Brophy
IN HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Over the weekend:
Moffat County beat Battle Mountain 64-14
Moffat County defeated Coal Ridge 60-18
The Hayden girls lost to West Grand (58-53).
The Meeker boys beat Vail Christian (62-51).
The SoRoCo girls beat North Park (77-49) and West Grand (64-47). The boys lost to West Grand (55-48).
Steamboat’s boys beat Palisade (61-54) and Delta (66-54). The girls lost to both (39-34/ 42-36).
The Moffat County boys and girls beat Basalt (B=83-62; G=95-15)
Meeker’s boys and girls lost to Little Snake River Valley (B=53-52; G=44-43)
The Rangely boys and girls beat Vail Christian (B=54-41; G=33-25)
Moffat County hosts Aspen. The girls play at 6 pm and the boys at 7:30 pm. Both games will be broadcast live on 93.7 102.3 KRAI and online at KRAI.COM, beginning with the pregame at 5:45 pm.
The Hayden girls play at Little Snake River Valley at 6:30 pm.
Steamboat hosts Summit. The girls tip off at 6 pm and the boys at 7:30 pm.