BILLS WOULD DAMPEN EFFECTS OF SB-252
Two bills will be introduced this week, aimed at reducing the harmful effects of last years Senate Bill 252, the rural electric mandate. One bill, by Republican Kathleen Conti of Littleton, would move the implementation deadline to 2025, giving extra time for the measures to be implemented. The other, by Republican Ray Scott of Grand Junction, would reduce the standard from 20 percent to 15 percent. Power plants and rural electric cooperatives have said the measures will raise the cost of electricity for consumers, and will cost millions of dollars in renovations. Conti’s bill will be heard on Wednesday, and Scott’s on Thursday. Both will be heard in the House Transportation and Energy Committee. Neither are expected to get past the Democratic majority.
LEGISLATURE TO DISCUSS HEALTH, VOTING, DEATH PENALTY BILLS
The Colorado Legislature has a full week ahead of them. The Senate Judiciary Committee starts work Wednesday on a death-penalty bill that would require the state Supreme Court to rule on a death penalty appeal within three years of the filing of the notice of appeal. Lawmakers will get a presentation Thursday on the status of Colorado’s state-run health insurance exchange. The exchange is running behind its enrollment goals in the final weeks of open enrollment, so there’ll be plenty of questions about how the health overhaul is going in Colorado. Republican lawmakers have been very critical of last year’s election-law overhaul, passed by Democrats, which included the requirement that every registered voter get a ballot by mail. Today, two Republican senators take aim at that requirement with proposals that would allow people to opt out of getting a mail ballot, and facilitate challenges to votes cast by mail. The proposals, however, are unlikely to get out of the Democrat-controlled committee hearing the bills.
TIPTON NOMINATES NORTHWEST COLORADO STUDENTS TO SERVICE ACADEMIES
Friday, Representative Scott Tipton (CO-03) announced that 22 students from the 3rd Congressional District have earned his nomination to U.S. Service Academies, including two students from Steamboat, and three from Meeker. The students selected met and exceeded the stringent requirements of the respective Academy and of Tipton’s office. Students that applied were required to submit an essay, test scores, an application, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and complete an in person interview before a panel in order to be considered. Steamboat’s Aiden Gibbs and former Meeker student Kaitlyn Dinwiddie were nominated to the Air Force Academy. Steamboat’s Madison Ruppel and Meeker’s Torrie Gerloff were nominated to West Point. Ruppel was also nominated to Annapolis. Meeker’s John Henderson was nominated to the Merchant Marines. In a statement, Tipton said “these students have worked incredibly hard to earn a nomination, and it’s a true honor to be able to recommend them to our nation’s distinguished service academies.” Pictured: Scott Tipton
PARKS AND WILDLIFE REMIND PEOPLE NOT TO FEED WILDLIFE
Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants to remind people that the best way to help hungry animals is to let them find their next meal on their own. Kevin Madler, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer, says “People may mean well, but those who feed deer do more harm than good.” A law passed in 1992 makes it illegal to feed big game animals. This includes deer, elk, pronghorn, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mountain lions and bears. Feeding wildlife is bad for the animals and dangerous for people, for a number of different reasons. In the wild, deer and elk naturally spread out when grazing or browsing for food. Artificial feeding encourages them to crowd together making it easier to spread disease throughout a herd. Deer are the primary prey of mountain lions and a large gathering of them can attract lions into neighborhoods, putting people and pets at risk. The mountain lions are also then put in danger because it may become necessary to kill them if they become a threat to human health and safety. Wild animals have complex digestive systems and their natural diet is difficult to duplicate. Food from human sources can lead to malnutrition, a disruption in natural migration patterns and death. To report incidents of feeding or other illegal wildlife activity contact a local Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer.
PARKS AND WILDLIFE ACCEPTING GRANTS FOR FISHING AND SHOOTING RANGE PROJECTS
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is accepting applications from individuals, organizations and local governments to distribute up to $650,000 for outdoor recreation activities in Colorado. Matching grants are available in 2014 for projects in Colorado that benefit fishing and recreational shooting ranges. The Fishing Is Fun program is funded by federal excise taxes on the sale of fishing and boating equipment and come to Colorado through the federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. The Shooting Range Development Grant Program is funded by hunting license fee revenues paid for by Colorado hunters and by federal excise taxes on hunting equipment through the federal Wildlife Restoration Program. Projects to improve angler access, fish habitat and angling conditions can receive matching funding from the Fishing Is Fun grant program. The Shooting Range Development grant program started in 2009 and will provide up to $250,000 this grant cycle to aid in the development of new firearm or archery shooting ranges or to improve existing ranges. The application deadline for the 2014 Shooting Range Development program is February 5th. The deadline to apply for the 2014 Fishing Is Fun funding cycle is March 5th. Details on each program can be found by clicking one of the links below:
BENNET/UDALL THANKED FOR EFFORTS IN RESTORING PILT FUNDING
Friday, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall joined over 30 Colorado County Commissioners to discuss Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) during the Colorado Counties Inc. (CCI) Public Lands committee meeting. PILT is designed to offset losses by providing federal payments to local governments that have large tracts of federal land within their jurisdictions. But the budget bill that passed Congress did not provide funding for the program. Colorado receives $32 million in PILT funding, making it one of the highest funded states. Garfield County Commissioner and President of the National Association of Counties Western Interstate Region John Martin, presented letters to Senators Bennet & Udall indicating CCI’s support of PILT funding and thanked them for their continued effort to restore funding. Pictured: Michael Bennet
THIS IS SCHOOL CHOICE WEEK
This week is School Choice Week in Colorado and across the country. More than 165 events are planned across the Centennial State, in addition to 5,500 events nationwide. Lending support to the effort is Governor John Hickenlooper, who recently proclaimed January 26th through February 1st as “Colorado School Choice Week.” The week gives students, parents, and teachers in Colorado a chance to raise awareness of the different types of educational options available to families in advance of the 2014-2015 school year. Events across the state will include rallies, school fairs, roundtable discussions, open houses, and parent information sessions. National School Choice Week spotlights all types of education options for families – including traditional public schools, public magnet schools, charter schools, private schools, online learning and homeschooling.
IN HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Over the weekend
The Soroco boys and girls beat Belleview Christian (B=61-45; G=47-46).
Little Snake River Valley boys and girls beat Cokeville (B=62-52; G=41-33), and Farson (B=56-43; G=45-28).
The Moffat County boys and girls beat Coal Ridge (B=70-51; G=59-48). The boys also beat Grand Valley (77-69). The gils lost (58-40).
The Hayden girls beat Vail Christian (42-38). The boys lost (58-49).
The Meeker boys beat Debeque (65-34). The boys and girls both beat Plateau Valley (B=80-23; G=58-43).
Rangely’s boys beat Plateau Valley (58-38) and Debeque (67-34). The girls lost to Plateau Valley (47-24).
Hayden topped Soroco and Glenwood.
Steamboat beat Battle Mountain (3-1) and Mullen (6-0).
In girls swimming:
Moffat County took 3rd at their home meet.
In Nordic skiing:
Steamboat took 5th at their home meet.
In girls swimming:
Moffat County hosts a meet at 3 with Glenwood, Summit, and Aspen attending.
Moffat County heads to Roaring Fork. You can hear all the action live on KRAI with the pre-game at 4:15. The girls play at 4:30 and the boys at 6. You can also listen online.
Moffat County hosts a dual with Meeker at 6.
The Denver Broncos will play the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII February 2nd at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Due to NFL restrictions, 55 Country will not be allowed to carry the game.