John Hickenlooper

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered one of his last State of the State addresses to the Colorado legislature on Jan. 12. He didn’t delve into specifics, but instead talked broadly about policy, including infrastructure investment and potential health care reform.

Kirk Siegler / KUNC

In preparation for the 2017 legislative session, Capitol Coverage reporter Bente Birkeland spoke with this year's leadership. Senators and representatives, as well as Gov. John Hickenlooper, shared their thoughts and plans for the upcoming session.

Gov. John Hickenlooper is entering his second to last legislative session as governor. He said he’s very aware of his time in office being limited, and that colored his discussion of his goals for the upcoming legislative session.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Nationally, the election of Donald Trump as the nation’s 45th president has many wondering about what comes next. In Colorado, the balance of power remains the same. State lawmakers are moving forward with their November calendar - mapping out their priorities for the upcoming legislative session - while trying to figure out what the new congress and administration will mean for state policies.

Three Things To Know About The 2017 Legislative Session

Nov 14, 2016
Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Colorado’s lawmakers have selected their leaders for the 2017 legislative session, which begins in January. While the presidential race was marked by deep political divisions, Republicans and Democrats in Colorado are optimistic about working together.

Bente Birkeland sat down to talk shop with two other capitol reporters - Ed Sealover of the Denver Business Journal and Peter Marcus of The Durango Herald.

K. Ray-Riek / DNCC

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders handily won Colorado's caucuses. That fact was not forgotten after Hillary Clinton's speech Thursday night, accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. But four days of unity building in Philadelphia during the 2016 Democratic National Convention seemed to help.

State Rep. Jonathon Singer of Longmont, a Sanders delegate, said Clinton's biggest challenge is that many voters don't trust her. Think emails and the wounds of a long primary. Clinton will get his vote come November though, because he doesn't want Republican candidate Donald Trump to become president.

"It's not worth losing things like immigration reform and reproductive choices," Singer said.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado has a new head of the state's Department of Natural Resources. Appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, Bob Randall now gets the official nod as head of the organization that oversees everything from state parks and wildlife, to oil and gas drilling, mining and water conservation.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

There are a lot of ways to gauge momentum in politics. If you look at the money both sides of Colorado's hydraulic fracturing debate have raised so far, it seems to be a case of David versus Goliath.

The state's oil and gas industry is preparing for a potential battle at the ballot box against a much less well-funded foe. Supporters of four different ballot measures that seek to restrict drilling are gathering signatures and have raised just tens of thousands of dollars, compared to the more than $6 million that one opposition group has amassed for the fight.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

With a swipe of the governor's pen, it is now legal for Coloradans to collect the rain that falls from their roofs. The move makes Colorado the final state in the country to sanction rain barrels.

Ryan Moehring / USFWS

A greenway to connect Denver with Rocky Mountain National Park would provide greater access to wildlife refuges by foot and by bike, but some say the plan would put nature lovers at risk. That’s because part of the trail will snake through Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, the site of a former nuclear weapons manufacturing facility.

With the deadline for a funding grant looming, several cities have chosen sides -- will they contribute to the effort to secure the federal money or not -- and Arvada is the next in line.

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