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Fresh Faces, First Day At The Colorado Legislature

Wednesday marked the beginning of the annual general legislative session with 100 state lawmakers convening at the capitol.

This year’s crop of new faces at the Colorado Legislature is more diverse than ever before. Those fresh faces and longtime lawmakers are expected to tackle a host of weighty issues.

Dominick Moreno of Commerce City is one of a dozen Latino lawmakers. “I think the more diversity you have in representative government, the more better decisions are going to be made for Colorado because Colorado is a diverse place so it only makes sense that the government also reflect that diversity,” said Moreno.

Credit Bente Birkeland
Mark Ferrnadino-D, Denver takes over the speakers chair from Frank McNulty-R, Highlands Ranch. Democrats now have a 9 seat majority in the house

Moreno is also one of eight openly gay lawmakers, the most the state’s ever had. In addition to that historical note, Colorado also made history by electing the first openly gay Speaker of the statehouse, Mark Ferrandino. He was unanimously selected after Democrats won back their majority in the November election. His opening day speech touched on his support for a host of hot button issues such as civil unions, stricter oil and gas regulations, and gun control.

“The Second Amendment is sacrosanct. But so is the First. It is our right – and the time is right – to speak openly and honestly about how we can curb the gun violence that costs our communities far too many sons and daughters,” said Ferrandino.

Lawmakers are also expected to hear bills on repealing the death penalty, immigration, and school reform. The session lasts 120 days.


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.
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