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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Governor John Hickenlooper announced new initiatives today to try and make Colorado better prepared for wildfires. State officials say they’re also planning for a drought this summer and a potentially bad fire season. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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Governor John Hickenlooper says a lack of water in Colorado poses a series challenge for the state’s tourism industry. The Governor answered questions from industry representatives as part of the annual tourism day at the state capitol. Bente Birkeland has more.

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The gun control debate sounded off both inside and outside the state capitol yesterday. Gun control advocates rallied at the capitol, and Democratic state senators struck down the first gun bill of the legislative session. The measure would’ve allowed school employees to carry concealed handguns. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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News

NPR
April 17, 2015 | NPR · Golf is a sport that’s been enjoyed by both Democrats and Republicans through the decades, but bipartisan golf outings may be disappearing like a shanked tee shot into a water hazard.
 

April 17, 2015 | NPR · A New Orleans federal appeals court case may determine whether the President can implement his immigration plan before his term is up.
 

April 17, 2015 | NPR · Critics of the system that ushers food products to market say it is rife with conflicts of interest. When scientists depend on food companies for work, they may be less likely to contest food safety.
 

Arts & Life

Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films
April 17, 2015 | NPR · NPR’s Bob Mondello reviews Tangerines, an unconventional war drama that was this year’s Estonian nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.
 

Clear Skies Nevada LLC/IFC Films
April 17, 2015 | NPR · The new film Good Kill is a little too blunt in its treatment of drone warfare, but strong work from Ethan Hawke as a troubled pilot helps it along.
 

April 17, 2015 | NPR · In 2001, Michael Finkel was fired for making up a story. Then he learns that a suspected murderer is posing as him, so he gets to know him. The best word for the drama is “dumb,” says David Edelstein.
 

Music

Courtesy of Decibel
April 18, 2015 | NPR · In the ’60s, the cheap music format was stocked in vending machines and embossed on cereal boxes. Now, magazines like Decibel and bands like Deerhoof are reviving the once-dead flexi disc.
 

Courtesy of the artist
April 18, 2015 | NPR · Stevens says it was hard to let go of her quest for perfection. But after a long creative process, Perfect Animal ended up “exactly how it was meant to be.”
 

Courtesy of Acoustic Sounds
April 17, 2015 | NPR · What’s getting in the way of the much touted resurgence of vinyl albums? There are very few functioning record presses, and nobody’s making new ones.
 

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