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Capitol Conversation: Breaking Down Hickenlooper’s State of the State Address

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Nearly a third of this year’s state lawmakers are newly elected, and they’ll be expected to debate a host of complex issues from Medicaid to marijuana, gun laws to the death penalty.

KUNC’s statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland takes a look at the first week of the session, and gets reporter’s thoughts on the Governor Hickenlooper’s State of the State address.

Conversation Highlights:

Reaction From Ed Sealover, Denver Business Journal:

He essentially gave the legislature what he hopes is its agenda for the year, from setting up statewide rules for oil and gas drilling, to dealing with some sort of gun control measure, he was a bit less specific with that. To even asking them to take on the question that’s dogged this place for the past decade, how do you go about constitutional reform.

On Fracking:

Sealover notes that Democrats and the Governor may not agree on how strict new rules should be. Hickenlooper is a strong advocate of the oil and gas industry.

“That’s going to be the real sticking point there, is how far is the Democratic legislature going to go toward the side of public health and safety, versus the side of promoting the oil and gas drilling industry.”

Reaction From Tim Hoover, Denver Post:

“This speech was by far his most substantive and wide ranging. He’s been a spectator for essentially the last two years, sitting outside the boxing ring watching the guy in blue and the guy in red smack the hell out of each other. And now it’s two guys in blue, and Hickenlooper’s in there too.”

On Universal Background checks for all Gun Purchases:

“There were a lot of gun issues he didn’t talk about. Would he favor any sort of restrictions on high ammo clips? Would he favor some sort of ban on the sale of certain kinds of assault style weapons?”

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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