Colorado Capitol Coverage

KSUT is a member of Capitol Coverage, a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. More than 15 public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.

Saying they are turning their outrage into action, Colorado lawmakers on Thursday revealed the three bills they want to pass this session in the wake of a mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers that killed 10 people.

Together, the measures would temporarily prevent people convicted of some violent misdemeanors from purchasing guns, create a new state office focused on preventing gun violence and allow cities to adopt stricter gun laws than the state.

Colorado's governor talks about the latest phase of the pandemic, as well as legislation in the wake of the March 22 mass shooting in Boulder.

A month after a gunman killed 10 people at a Boulder King Soopers, state lawmakers from the city say they could introduce bills in response to the tragedy as soon as next week.

Sen. Majority Leader Steve Fenberg previewed the legislation at a town hall Wednesday night. He says the Boulder delegation is focusing on three kinds of reform, including expanding background checks to ensure people with a violent past cannot buy guns.

Colorado Lawmakers Hope Threat Of Small Fine For Gun Owners Leads To Big Changes

Apr 7, 2021
Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage

Colorado lawmakers have passed a bill requiring gun owners to call police within five days of noticing a firearm has been lost or stolen. If they do not, they would face a $25 fine.

The 10-hour debates and lobbyist-filled hallways are signs things are returning to normal at the state Capitol. And that has some lawmakers reviving bills they shelved because of the pandemic.

One such bill aims to lower costs for those who buy insurance on the individual market because they cannot get it through an employer.

Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, is sponsoring the bill because he continues to shoulder an unflattering statistic at the state Capitol.

'This Cannot Be Our New Normal:' Colorado Officials React To Boulder Mass Shooting

Mar 23, 2021
Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage

Yesterday's mass shooting was personal for many of Colorado's elected officials, including Gov. Jared Polis, a longtime resident of the city. Polis said he has shopped at that King Soopers frequently.

Gov. Jared Polis says he expects all Coloradans ages 16 and up will be eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine starting in mid-April.

The timeline is more aggressive than the May 1 deadline President Joe Biden set for states to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults.

Polis says Colorado can beat the president’s deadline with the help of six new mass vaccination sites around the state that can distribute 6,000 doses a day.

Colorado is making it easier for residents to see what their government is spending their tax dollars on, down to every last paperclip and coffee order in the governor’s office.

Late last year, the state quietly turbocharged its clunky and neglected online checkbook by migrating millions of lines of financial data to a new software system.

A statue honoring victims of Colorado's Sand Creek Massacre is likely to soon replace a Civil War Monument on the west end of the state Capitol that was toppled during protests last summer.

Descendants of the massacre see the steps of the Capitol as an ideal spot for the Sand Creek memorial because historians say it was where soldiers displayed victims’ bodies during a victory parade through Denver in 1864.

Ryan Ortiz, of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, says putting a new memorial there will promote healing.

Colorado has shuffled its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan once again.

Starting March 5, the state will start offering doses to grocery store workers, Coloradans ages 60-64, agriculture workers and all residents over 16 who have two or more pre-existing conditions that put them at higher risk from the virus.

Gov. Jared Polis said the new phase will encompass almost 1 million people.

You have to go back more than a century to find another time Coloradans faced a statewide crisis as big and deadly as the current COVID-19 pandemic. But experts who studied the state’s response to the Spanish flu of 1918 say history is not repeating itself when it comes to how state lawmakers are responding to the latest outbreak.

Today, visitors to the Capitol building must wear masks and have their temperatures taken, and lawmakers sit between plexiglass dividers.

Updated at 3:45 p.m.

Gov. Jared Polis told lawmakers during his annual state of the state that Colorado has been “bruised, battered, and shaken to its core” over the last year.

But with vaccines being rolled out — and case numbers dropping — he sounded optimistic about what lies ahead.

“Coming out of this traumatic year, we can finally live up to our fullest potential to truly create a Colorado for all,” he said. “There’s a lot of work ahead. But we’re more than ready.”

As Colorado embarks on an effort to reintroduce gray wolves, two competing packs are starting to form.

One wants to run, and the other wants to walk.

Gov. Jared Polis is leading the pack wanting to speed up the process, saying wolves “take care of themselves” and will be easier to release into the landscape than other animals Colorado has already brought back, including the Canada lynx and the black-footed ferret.

Polis says he has already lined up the first batch.

Colorado plans to start offering the coronavirus vaccine to residents ages 65 to 69 and all pre-school and K-12 teachers on Feb. 8, Gov. Jared Polis announced Friday.

Polis said it will take about three weeks to administer the vaccine to all educators who want it.

It will also be offered to child-care workers, school bus drivers and other school staff who work directly with children.

Polis said the decision was made to prioritize teachers because they are “foundational to our society to function, for workplace equity, for the sanity of families with kids.”

Gov. Jared Polis needed a dry-erase board and some math skills on Friday as he attempted to clarify Colorado’s current vaccine distribution situation in front of a live TV audience.

Polis kicked off his latest COVID-19 update by blasting the Trump administration, saying it lied to Colorado and other states about speeding up distribution of millions of vaccine doses from a national reserve.

“I’m not going to cast dispersions; my guess is it’s gross incompetence,” he said.