SENATE TO CONSIDER BILL TO REPEAL RURAL ELECTRIC MANDATE
The Colorado Senate is considering a bill that would repeal Senate Bill 252 from last year. The bill would effectively nullify the rural electric mandate set by last year’s session. The controversial SB-252 requires a certain amount of renewable energy to be purchased by rural electricity providers. Democrats argue the bill is an important environmental requirement, while Republicans point out that rural Coloradans are bearing the burden through higher electric costs. Senate Bill 35 is being heard this week. Democrats still hold a one vote majority in the Senate, so the fate of the bill is unclear.
TIPTON URGES FEDS TO PRIORITIZE P.I.L.T. FUNDING
Underscoring that many rural communities are already stretching their budgets thin, Representative Scott Tipton (R-CO), yesterday, joined a bipartisan coalition of his House colleagues in urging House and Senate Appropriators to maintain funding for the Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) program, which is critical for rural counties to provide essential services. PILT reimburses local governments for losses in tax revenues due to the presence of large expanses of un-taxable federal lands, ensuring vital funding for infrastructure, law enforcement, education and other essential operations. Colorado received nearly $32 million in PILT payments in 2013, with just over $21 million going to counties in the 3rd District. In November, Tipton led a bipartisan group of 46 of his House colleagues in urging Budget Conferees to provide certainty for counties and prioritize funding for the Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) program. Pictured: Scott Tipton
UNITED WAY OFFERS BRIDGES OUT OF POVERTY CLASS
The Moffat County United Way is accepting applications for a new class that is intended to help people transition out of poverty. The Bridges Out Of Poverty Getting Ahead classes will begin in late February, but applications are due by Friday. The Bridges Out Of Poverty program is a national one, that caught the attention of Moffat County officials after hearing some of the success stories. The program focuses on changing attitudes and strategies when it comes to finances. Upon graduation, class participants will have a plan they created themselves to build resources and transition out of poverty. The United Way will continue to provide support after the program, for those who continue to work their plan. If you’d like more information, call 826-2039.
GUN RIGHTS ADVOCATES PLAN NATIONWIDE RALLY SUNDAY
Gun rights advocates in Colorado will join others across the nation in a 50-state event Sunday called “Gun Rights Across America 2: Stand Your Ground”. The event takes place on the steps of every state capitol throughout the nation. The Keynote Speaker for the Colorado Rally will be Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Brophy. He’ll be joined by Tom Tancredo, Ken Buck, Liberterian Matt Hess and State Senator Owen Hill. The rallies will be corrdinated to run simultaneously, which will be from noon until 2 Sunday.
STATE TO GET GRANT TO PREVENT STONED DRIVING
Colorado is getting a federal grant to prevent stoned driving, along with new funds to train police officers to spot drivers impaired by marijuana. Colorado has received a $400,000 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some of the money will be spent on television advertising about the dangers of driving stoned. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, and stoned-driving arrests have gone up. State highway officials say marijuana use was a factor in more than 1,000 driving-under-the-influence cases filed in 2012. There were 24,742 total DUI and driving-while-ability-impaired cases filed in Colorado that year. The grant will also be used to train 35 more drug recognition experts among Colorado law enforcement agencies. Colorado currently has 185 such officers.
SKIER VISITS UP IN EARLY PART OF SEASON
Colorado ski resorts are reporting a surge in early-season skier visits thanks to good autumn snowfall. The trade group Colorado Ski Country USA said yesterday that skier visits at its 21 member resorts from October 13th through December 31st were up 22 percent from the same period a year earlier. They were 6.7 percent above the five-year average. Colorado Ski Country does not include the four ski areas run by Vail Resorts. Vail did not release numbers for its Colorado resorts but said those four plus Canyons in Utah had 7.4 percent more early-season skiers than last year. Vail also has three resorts in California. Overall, skier visits at its eight resorts were down 0.7 percent.
NUMBERS RELEASED ON COLORADO HEALTH EXCHANGE
Nearly a third of the Coloradans signing up for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law are 55 or older. Thirty-two percent of the 50,000 Coloradans who signed up between October 1st and December 28th were aged 55 to 64. That’s in line with other states. Yesterday the Obama administration released age and gender breakdowns for more than 2 million Americans who had enrolled for government-subsidized private insurance by the end of December. In Colorado, young adults from 18-34 made up 22 percent of the enrollees. Nationally, that age group was just 24 percent. Colorado’s gender breakdown also mirrors the nation. Women in Colorado were 53 percent of those signing up, compared to the national figure of 54 percent.
IN HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Meeker hosts Rangely. The girls play at 6 and the boys at 7:30.