As the Republican Party licks its wounds after a tough election cycle, some Colorado lawmakers are hoping a bill to give illegal immigrants in-state college tuition will help bridge the gap with Latino voters. Just last year, Republicans defeated a similar measure when they controlled the statehouse. But as Bente Birkeland reports, a few [...]

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The spruce beetle is now outpacing the mountain pine beetle as the biggest insect threat to Colorado forests. The information was released to lawmakers in the annual Forest Health Report today. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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A bill to revamp sex education classes for Colorado students has initially passed the house after a rigorous debate. The measure aims to make instruction more culturally sensitive and add information on homosexuality. But opponents say it would take away the rights of parents. Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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A controversial package of Democratic gun control bills cleared the state house today, and now head to the state senate. As Bente Birkeland reports, the bills still face strong opposition from Republicans and some Democrats.

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Governor John Hickenlooper is getting pushback for recently telling members of Congress that he once drank frack fluid while touting Colorado as a national model for balanced energy rules. The state’s oil and gas commission has increased the statewide buffer zone between drilling sites and homes and buildings, but many Democratic state lawmakers say [...]

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State lawmakers are scheduled to debate four Democratic gun control bills this afternoon and expect to go late into the night. As Bente Birkeland reports, the measures are moving quickly through the statehouse but face strong Republican opposition.

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Democratic leaders at the statehouse hope to introduce bills dealing with the impacts of hydraulic fracturing by the end of the month. This comes as Governor John Hickenlooper is touting Colorado’s current regulations on fracking as a national model. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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Guns were once again the focus at the Colorado statehouse today. A Democratic proposal to ban concealed-carry weapons on college campuses got its first hearing in the house education committee. It highlights the longer battle that will take place this session on gun laws. Bente Birkeland reports from the capitol.

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A huge crowd turned out at the state capitol yesterday for hearings on two key Democratic gun proposals. One measure would require universal background checks for gun purchases; the other would ban high capacity magazines. Both bills passed their first test, the house judiciary committee. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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Colorado’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has voted in favor of increasing the drilling setback distance between oil and gas wells and homes statewide. But the move doesn’t go far enough for the environmental community and goes too far for industry. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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A bill to allow civil unions for same-sex couples in Colorado cleared the Democratic controlled senate today with little fanfare. Unlike last year, the measure’s passage is all but certain. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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State Democrats recently unveiled their much-anticipated package of bills aimed at curbing gun violence. As part of our capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland takes a look at the chances of the bills passing, and the internal debate among state Democrats.

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After an emotional debate, a bill to allow civil unions initially passed the state senate today. The vote was largely divided along party lines. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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The head of the National Rifle Association met with state leaders in Colorado yesterday. Democrats unveiled a package of proposed gun control legislation earlier this week. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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State senators will debate a bill to allow civil unions for gay and lesbian couples tomorrow. The measure is expected to easily pass the Democratic controlled legislature and be signed into law, but as Bente Birkeland reports, the main sponsor says he’s taking a different approach this year.

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The Governor and Democratic lawmakers announced plans to try and improve the state’s child welfare system today/Wednesday. The move comes after the deaths of dozens of children linked to human service departments over the last several years. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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Projections show Colorado still has a long way to go if the state hopes to avoid another dry summer. Water experts briefed state lawmakers on the latest drought conditions, saying it looks grim. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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State senators took the unusual move of voting to take away a portion of state money from the Colorado Energy office for the rest of the fiscal year. As Bente Birkeland reports, the move follows a scathing audit, which showed the energy office mismanaged millions of dollars.

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State senators took the unusual move of voting to take away a portion of state money from the Colorado Energy office for the rest of the fiscal year…Democratic Congressman Jared Polis has introduced a bill in the House to end prohibition of marijuana at the federal level…Pueblo’s City Council is considering a proposal that would allow Fort Carson’s HAMET program, or High Altitude Mountain Environment Training, to rent space at the Pueblo Memorial Airport.

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State Democrats unveiled a package of proposals today, aimed at cracking down on gun violence, among other things. Legislative leaders want to make gun manufacturers liable for crimes committed with assault weapons. As Bente Birkeland reports, it’s in response to the recent shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora.

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The gun debate will be one of the central issues during the state’s legislative session, and lawmakers have already heard the first Republican proposals. They both failed along party lines and highlight the wide difference between Democrats and the GOP when it comes to tackling gun violence. Bente Birkeland discusses the dynamic as part [...]

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One of the biggest topics right now across the state is oil and gas development, specifically, hydraulic fracturing. Communities, industry, and the state are all working to ensure their interests are protected. But it’s a complicated issue, and often contentious. This month for Western Skies, we’re holding a magnifying glass up to fracking, the rules, regulations, and community concerns. (This month’s image by artist and rig-worker, Streeter Wright.)

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Governor John Hickenlooper announced new initiatives yesterday to try and make Colorado better prepared for wildfires…Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall is urging the US Forest Service to accelerate their acquisition of eight new firefighting air tankers ahead of this year’s wildfire season…Three Chinook helicopters have been delivered to Fort Carson for a new combat aviation brigade.

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News

AP
April 21, 2014 | NPR · The deaths last week of at least 13 guides have led others to issue demands, including for more compensation for families of the dead. They’re considering a boycott if the requests aren’t granted.
 

AP
April 21, 2014 | NPR · The former newspaper editor, who co-founded the National League for Democracy with Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, spent 19 years in prison until his release in 2008. He died Monday of organ failure.
 

Getty Images
April 21, 2014 | NPR · The twin bombings of 2013 cast a long shadow on the event. Still, a field of 36,000 is hitting the streets of Boston to participate in the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the world.
 

Arts & Life

AMC
April 21, 2014 | NPR · Sunday night’s episode capitalized at last on the show’s notoriously ambivalent, slow-burning approach to paying any attention to race.
 

April 21, 2014 | NPR · Also: a poem by Michele Glazer; the best books coming out this week.
 

Getty Images
April 20, 2014 | NPR · It seems like a simple question: How many parts can you divide a line into? The troublesome answer was square at the root of two of Europe’s greatest social crises.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
April 21, 2014 | NPR · As assembled here, the songs on Indie Cindy form a worthwhile, frequently terrific document of a band forever in transition, even in middle age. It’s music born out of chaos, same as it ever was.
 

Courtesy of the artist
April 20, 2014 | NPR · One of the world’s best jazz drummers is also a singer-songwriter, session man for Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell and the son of a preacher man. It’s all potently distilled for his band of over 15 years.
 

Courtesy of the artist
April 20, 2014 | NPR · Sean Lennon has made one of the best recordings of his career, with help from bassist, singer and partner Charlotte Kemp Muhl. The two follow their acoustic debut with a fabulously fuzzy rock album.
 

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