Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Colorado lawmakers recently headed back to the state capitol for the annual legislative session. It’s the final session for term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper. Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland talked to Brian Eason of The Denver Post and Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal to get their outlook on the coming months.

Charles Ashby / Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Five women are accusing Rep. Steve Lebsock of Thornton of retaliating against them because they went public with allegations of sexual harassment or intimidating behavior by him. They take issue with a 28-page defense that Lebsock delivered to the mailboxes of his fellow House members just before the legislative session began.

The document has ignited anger among some and is the latest chapter in a series of counter-claims by the Democrat who in the  coming weeks faces the possibility of a vote to oust him from the legislature. 

Matt Bloom

The proposal to raise entrance fees at 17 national parks is “horrendous” and “hugely stupid.”

Those are just two of the tens of thousands of comments recorded by the National Park Service in response to its recent idea to hike one-time entrance fees from $20 or $30 to $70.

“This is NOT Disneyland,” one Grand Junction resident wrote. “I know many families who would not be able to afford taking their kids to more than one park at this increase.”

"The Post" is Steven Spielberg’s new film about a momentous decision to publish a secret government report and a necessary celebration of America’s free press.

Colorado General Assembly

As Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered his final State of the State address, he received a warm reception from members in both parties. He highlighted some of his successes over his past seven years in office and outlined a broad agenda of what he’d like to see lawmakers accomplish in his last year before he leaves office because of term limits.

Colorado PERA

The Colorado legislative session is underway and one of the biggest issues facing lawmakers is what to do about a shortfall in the retirement fund for teachers. The Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association is 58 percent funded.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Colorado lawmakers returned to the Capitol to begin work on a number of issues such as how to improve the state’s roadways. But amid the usual pomp and circumstance and speeches that usher in the four-month 2018 session, the cloud of sexual harassment allegations loomed large.

Leigh Paterson / KUNC

After a deadly home explosion in Firestone, Colo. last spring, the state is now updating its oil and gas regulations. At a public meeting on Jan. 8, several local officials and residents were focused on one item not on the table: mapping a type of small pipeline called a flowline.

Courtesy Foundatoin for Cultural Exchange, El Salvador

The Trump Administration has ended special protections for about 200,000 people from El Salvador living in the United States. They now have 18 months to figure out another way to remain in the country legally or face deportation.  

On Monday, Dec. 8, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it would end the Temporary Protected Status, known as TPS, for people fleeing the small Central American country of six million in September 2019. The U.S. originally granted protections to Salvadorans following two earthquakes that roiled the country in 2001.

Luke Runyon / KUNC

The first official forecast for the amount of water expected in the Colorado River and its Rocky Mountain tributaries this spring is in, and the outlook is grim.

“Well, it’s not looking really great at this point,” says Greg Smith, a senior hydrologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Layers of snow in the Colorado, Wyoming and Utah mountains feed the Colorado River basin. Some regions are reporting the driest start to a winter ever recorded. All of the river’s upper basin streams empty into Lake Powell, a reservoir on the Utah-Arizona border. The lake’s inflow -- all water entering the reservoir -- is anticipated to be 55 percent of average during spring runoff.