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

NPR
April 23, 2014 | NPR · One Tulsa, Okla., nonprofit believes that improving poor kids’ prospects also requires preparing their parents for well-paying jobs. The program’s director says managing both is a tough nut to crack.
 

AP
April 23, 2014 | NPR · As Western leaders craft another round of sanctions to counter the Russian president’s moves in Crimea, they might do well to consult a grandmaster at chess — Russia’s national pastime.
 

AP
April 23, 2014 | NPR · Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others are competing to be the main landlords of the cloud. Their terms and prices could control who gets to build what on the Internet, and for how much.
 

Arts & Life

AP
April 23, 2014 | NPR · Shakespeare’s Globe Theater aims to take the Bard’s iconic play to every country in the world. They’ll perform everywhere from prestigious theaters to Pacific island beaches.
 

April 22, 2014 | NPR · Alan Cheuse reviews the novel In Praise of Hatred, by Khaled Khalifa. The book, which was recently translated to English, features a young Muslim girl in 1980s Syria.
 

Comedy Central
April 22, 2014 | NPR · NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says Amy Schumer stands out by using her own sex appeal to challenge double standards about women — and, of course, she’s funny.
 

Music

Mountain Stage
April 22, 2014 | NPR · The decorated Americana musician returns to Mountain Stage to play songs from his upcoming album, Single Mothers.
 

April 22, 2014 | NPR · Caetano Veloso has been making music for over 40 years, and he’s among the best known singers in his native Brazil. Veloso’s new album, Abracaco, is one of the most engaging in his epic career.
 

Courtesy of the artist
April 22, 2014 | NPR · In “Anonymous Club,” Courtney Barnett sings of a sweetly perfect, carefree and tech-free party. But in her new video for the song, animated by Celeste Potter, cartoon monsters are consumed by sadness.
 

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