Bente Birkeland

State Capitol Reporter

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.




Sun March 6, 2011
Captiol Conversation

Capitol Conversation

Creative Commons

A bill to allow civil unions in Colorado gets its first hearing in the state Senate on Monday. The measure would give same sex couples the equivalent legal protections as heterosexual couples. It touches on issues such as division of assets, hospital visitation, and end of life decision making.

Read more


Fri March 4, 2011

Democrats Eye Back Taxes to Fill Budget Gap

Lawmakers want to entice people to pay their back taxes to help fill part of the state's budget shortfall. A Democrat-backed tax amnesty bill would waive penalties and fines if people come forward and pay up. But while that idea is popular on both sides of the aisle, another provision in the bill isn't.

Read more


Wed March 2, 2011

Lawmaker Scales Back Edible Cannabis Bill

creative commons Flickr

Medicinal pot brownies, candies, and other infused products are here to stay in Colorado. A Republican lawmaker introduced a bill to ban medical marijuana centers from selling infused products. But after facing opposition from the medical marijuana industry and lawmakers, including some members of her own party, she is significantly changing the measure.


Tue March 1, 2011

Concealed Weapon Bill on the Move in Colorado Legislature

State lawmakers have given initial approval to a bill that would allow Coloradoans to carry concealed handguns without a permit. The Republican-controlled state house gave the bill the nod Tuesday, despite loud opposition from state law enforcement officers and Democrats. 

In Colorado, a person who wants to carry a concealed handgun must go through two steps, including passing a criminal background check to buy one, followed by getting a permit from a county sheriff to carry one.

House bill 1205 would make this second step optional.

Read more


Sun February 27, 2011

Senate Democrats Grappling with New Budget Cuts

Creative Commons

Leaders in the Democratic controlled Senate say it’s proving difficult to find millions of dollars in savings to help backfill proposed cuts to K through 12 schools. Senate President Brandon Schaffer wants to restore about half of the education funding cuts and has asked committee chairs to find additional savings.

Read more