John Hickenlooper

Jim Hill / KUNC

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Wednesday that the state will prioritize connecting and building 16 hiking and biking trails in all parts of Colorado. The goal is to connect and build missing trail segments to make it easier for people to access open space and parks.

It's part of the governor's Colorado the Beautiful initiative, unveiled in 2015.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered his sixth State of the State address to the state Legislature Thursday. In his speech he highlighted the need for people from all political stripes to work together to fix the state's big budget problems and discussed Colorado's economic gains and challenges.

"We're one of the top states for economic growth," Hickenlooper said. "One of the best places for business and careers, for quality of life, for health and tourism."

Colorado Channel 165

Text of Gov. John Hickenlooper's 2016 State of the State address, as prepared and delivered, Jan. 14, 2016.

State of Colorado

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Monday that Colorado would accept Syrian refugees. President Barack Obama said the U.S. would receive at least 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year, but a growing list of Republican governors pledged to block refugees from relocating to their states.

"We can protect our security and provide a place where the world's most vulnerable can rebuild their lives," said Hickenlooper in a statement.

Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

The goal of Gov. John Hickenlooper's Oil and Gas Task Force was to address the duel concerns that drilling operations are too close to homes and that local governments don't have enough say in the process. The state's regulatory body, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, is now considering new rules, which were born from the task force's work, looking at giving local governments more input when it comes to energy development.

As the COGCC settles in for two November public hearings on the draft proposals, critics charge that the original task force failed in their mission.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

After five years on the job, Colorado's Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia announced that he is stepping down from the position and as head of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Garcia will leave his dual-role to helm a higher education policy group for the western U.S., the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

courtesy state of Colorado/Office of the Attorney General

More than two dozen states, including Wyoming and North Dakota have sued to stop the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. Eighteen states, the District of Columbia and six communities have jumped into the case on the opposite side, in defense of the plan.

Right in the middle, you have Colorado, where this regulatory tug-of-war over the Clean Power Plan is pulling on two of the state's top elected officials, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Local tax and spending issues, as well as city council and mayoral races largely dominate Colorado's 2015 election. There is only one statewide question, which asks voters whether the state can keep marijuana tax money it's already collected to pay for school construction, law enforcement and other programs.

If that's a question that sounds familiar – that's because it is. Proposition BB will actually be the third time Colorado voters have weighed in on taxing marijuana.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado is well-known for its outdoor recreation, but Gov. John Hickenlooper wants to take it to the next level - by making it even easier for people to access open space and parks. In addition to a previously unveiled Colorado the Beautiful Initiative, the governor has also pledged $100 million to create and connect bike trails.

"The ultimate goal is connecting everyone from Denver to the foothills and mountains to the west," said Tom Hoby, Jefferson County's director of open space and parks.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

The U.S. Department of Interior decided Tuesday that the greater sage grouse does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The bird spans 11 western states including Colorado, where it lives in pockets along the western slope, but is mostly concentrated in the northwest part of the state.

Gov. John Hickenlooper was one of the many people working to avoid a federal listing for the bird. While the sage grouse decision is a win for the governor, a few other initiatives – and longtime battles in Colorado – still need his attention.

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